Apache is one of the most used webservers worldwide, and if you’re hosting a website somewhere the odds are you are using it. Those of us which use a VPS or a Dedicated server to host their project might notice that as the traffic to their site rises their server slowly starts to eat up the RAM and respectively starts getting downtimes at peak traffic. At thas point people start optimizing mysql, installing php-apc, enabling mod_expires, but sometimes the outages just persist.
Apache2 however comes with two MPMs: Prefork and Worker.
Prefork MPM which is the default MPM, and probably the one you`re using is considered to be thread safe. It uses multiple child processes with one thread each handling one connection at a time.
Worker MPM the one we`re interested in, uses many child processes with many threads each, handling one connection at a time.
The big deal about Worker MPM is that it uses significantly less memory which is great for high traffic websites, so if all apache libraries you’re using are thread safe(for example mod_php is not) it is probably a good idea to switch from Prefork to Worker.
If you`re not sure which MPM your server uses you can check by typing the following command in the command line
root@somehost# apache2 -l
And the output you’re looking for is:
Compiled in modules:
If you’re using prefork you should see prefork.c in the output of the command, however if you see worker.c this article isn’t for you 🙂
Now the actual how-to switch from Prefork to Worker with mod-fcgid tutorial:
*Note that these steps are for Debian and Probably Ubuntu the syntax of these commands will probably be different in CentOS or the other popular OSes
Step1: Stop the apache process
root@somehost# service apache2 stop
Step2: Install Apache2-MPM-Worker
root@somehost# apt-get install apache2-mpm-worker
Step3: Install mod_fcgid and PHP5
root@somehost# apt-get install libapache2-mod-fcgid php5-cgi
Optional: If Apache2 was installed with PHP5 as module disable it(thread safety..remember)
root@somehost# a2dismod php5
Step4: Enable the following modules if they’re not already enabled
root@somehost# a2enmod rewrite
root@somehost# a2enmod include
root@somehost# a2enmod fcgid
Step5: Open php.ini and add “cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1” at the end of the file
root@somehost# vi /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini
Step6: Create a file called “php-fcgi-starter” one level above the www folder of your site.
In our example our site’s files will be located at “/home/oursite/www” and we’ll create the file at “/home/oursite/”
root@somehost# vi /home/oursite/php-fcgi-starter
And insert the following contents:
#!/bin/sh PHPRC=/etc/php5/cgi/ export PHPRC export PHP_FCGI_MAX_REQUESTS=5000 export PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN=8 exec /usr/lib/cgi-bin/php
Save the file by pressing “:w” and “Enter” and quit(“:quit” and Enter)
Step7: Fix the permissions of the php-fcgi-starter file.
*Note that this step is very important. If you don`t do this properly you’ll probably get
“(104)Connection reset by peer: mod_fcgid: error reading data from FastCGI server Premature end of script headers”
The first thing you need to do is find your apache2 user by typing:
root@somehost# ps aux | grep apache2
The output will be something similar to:
www-data 19335 0.0 0.1 7084 2160 ? S 07:24 0:00 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start www-data 19336 0.0 0.2 231960 5276 ? Sl 07:24 0:01 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start www-data 19338 0.0 0.2 230976 5240 ? Sl 07:24 0:01 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
The apache2 user is in the first column, in this case “www-data”
Now once you know this enter
root@somehost# chown www-data /home/oursite/php-fcgi-starter root@somehost# chmod 775 /home/oursite/php-fcgi-starter
Step8: Edit your apache2 vhost
<VirtualHost *:80> ServerName somesite.com ServerAlias www.somesite.com ServerAdmin firstname.lastname@example.org DocumentRoot /home/oursite/www/ <Directory /home/oursite/www> Options +ExecCGI AllowOverride All AddHandler fcgid-script .php FCGIWrapper /home/oursite/php-fcgi-starter .php Order allow,deny Allow from all </Directory> </VirtualHost>
Step9: Restart Apache2
root@somehost# service apache2 restart
And that is it you now have a working Apache2-MPM-Worker with mod_fcgid