optimize server performance

How to Optimize Server Performance

Evangeline Reece Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources

Optimizing server performance is important in supporting end-user requirements.  Using server optimization, actively monitor: 

  • Availability
  • Server operations
  • Performance
  • Security
  • And other procedures

Web server monitoring and optimization helps you to troubleshoot bottlenecks as they emerge and optimize server performance. 

In this post, we will discuss how to optimize performance and why it is important.


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What is server optimization?

Web server optimization is a specific technical process used to improve data processing efficiency and application configuration alongside overall performance. 

Best practices of server optimization include physical hardware stabilization inside a data centre with the method of server virtualization.

Windows server optimization is necessary as a company depends on the availability and functionality of its interface for business growth. 

Why is optimization necessary?

Web server optimization allows for improved performance and speed required for end-user satisfaction.  When a web server is not optimized:

  • Your website will get 11% fewer page views compared to your competitors
    And a 16% reduction in customer satisfaction
  • Your website conversions will decrease by 7%

These facts show how a few extra seconds have an impact on your business’s bottom line. 

So, in order to  increase your business’s ROI, it is necessary to optimize web servers.  

By implementing a server stabilisation solution, companies can take advantage of under-utilized servers by consolidating the company’s processing workload with separate servers. 

Companies are able to preserve operational resources by using a combination of various servers’ procedures into an efficiently running server. There is another way to accomplish server optimization — virtualization. 

Virtualization builds layers within a single server, which helps it to serve as several servers. This technique can support multiple applications and operating systems with a single server for several users. 

Let’s learn how to optimize server performance with these essential 5 tips. 

Top 5 Points to Optimize the Server Performance

By optimizing your server performance, understand whether your server’s resources and settings are optimal for your business’s needs.  Our 5 essential tips can help you tune your server to fix or avoid common problems, like bottlenecks and overutilization, that cause disruptive downtime.

1) Select the Right Application for Server Optimization

Sometimes “by default” applications are not the best choice for the efficient server performance.  Instead, you need  a different application to increase efficiency of your web server. 

For instance,

CentOS servers work with PHP 5.4 instead of the latest PHP 7.4, including FastCGI Process Manager (FPM) that gives gigantic agility advantages.

The main reason why VPS, Cloud or Dedicated server purchasers’ optimization methods are failing is that they are unaware of  the differences between their default applications and other apps.  Instead, they continue to optimize their code with the same apps without employing other techniques to fix issues.

Merely altering the application server, modifying the settings to fit the site load, and enabling cache, you can improve performance.  

If you’re still stuck to default application settings, then it’s time to try using other options.. 

2) Setup a Quick Reverse Proxy

What happens if other visitors ask for the same HTML files that your server sends to a visitor’s browser?   How will your server send the similar one again? 

Usually, your server retrieves the scripts from the disk, performs the scripts, and then loads the data and assembles the HTML file.  This is a tremendous amount of work, so it is easier for the server to send those files directly from the memory instead of repeating the whole process again. hat could be done by HTTP reverse proxy.HTTP reverse proxy serves as a link  between server and visitors.  When the second customers request the same file, the server will fetch the file from the memory without any delay. 

For optimization, most of the web servers are configured as a reverse proxy. These are the top 3 reverse proxies:

  • Varnish – Varnish is a bit more complex compared to other reverse proxies.  However, it perfectly aligns with heavy traffic and high-quality and quantity content to significant improve server speed.
  • Nginx – Nginx is one of the most popular proxies for high traffic websites, according to a Netcraft survey. Use Nginx for small to large content-heavy sites. It is the most reliable  against traffic spikes due to stability and customizability.
  • Lighttpd – Lighttpd is best for large sites as it offers support for usage spikes.  It’s lightweight and doesn’t drag down the server.

Apart from these,  other proxies that you could use include  Tinyproxy, Squid, Apache, Freeproxy, Wingate, IIS, etc. 

In order todecide which reverse proxy  is best for your server optimization, evaluate the  complexity of your application, its site load, and web configuration.

3) Enable Caching

Caching is one of the best ways to improve server speed when optimizing  server performance optimizatio. With caching, you can cut site load time by more than 50%.

Caching helps  servers save time  fetching the files from disks, retrieving the database, executing application codes, and assembling results into the HTML page whenever a new userrefreshes pages. 

Instead, the server will take already processed results, and forward them to the new visitor. 

Here are the locations to enable cache for web server optimization:

  • OpCode cache – This one is composed of results from previous page requests. It saves time for applications like  Magento or Drupal.
  • Memory cache – Memory cache stores parts of data created by applications in system memory.  When visitors request those parts, the server can provide the data  without any processing. This one is faster than OpCode cache and is best for large load-balanced websites.
  • HTTP cache – This one doesn’t go with parts of data.  Instead, HTTP cache stores the whole HTML page.  When the page is requested once again, it is easy and fast to serve. This is  ideal for high traffic web applications.
  • Application cache – When applications, like Magento or Drupal, storee prepared template files in the form of pages, it can significantly reduce process time.  With this,you can use application cache in conjunction with any of the earlier mentioned caches.

These caches improve your server speed and optimize the whole performance. 

4) Defragment Database Tables & Optimize Server Settings

Defragmentation in Database Tables

Websites commonly use databases to store product data and content, such as texts, images and media files.

However, developers have to modify or remove pages, change listed products, and add new pages from time to time.  These activities leave “holes” in the database tables. 

These little gaps are in the place of the deleted data, but it never gets loaded again.  This is commonly known as “fragmentation” and causes the application to fetch data  for a longer time and decrease server performance. 

To optimize server performance, you need to fix the fragmentation every month in Database tables if more than 5% of its size. 

To defragment, check your database tables for fragmentation regularly and operate an optimization query. This way you can keep your site from performing slowly.

Optimize Your Database Settings

When  updating your web application or adding the latest plugin or module, it is important to optimize your database settings. 

This means the traffic to your site increases alongside the number of queries executed on the database, resulting in the database load becoming older and more complicated. 

To optimize the application you need to adjust your database settings to optimize server memory and CPU. Also, monitoring server performance is one way to optimize the display.

Monitor Server Performance

Utilizing an Application Performance Management tool, such as Stackify Retrace, can help developers find potential server bottlenecks.  Retrace supports monitoring physical, virtual, and cloud Linux and Windows servers as well as serverless applications. Track changes by configuring server monitoring templates including server uptime, CPU, memory, network utilization, disk space and utilization, and more.  Try your free, 14 day Retrace trial today! 

5) Fix DNS Query Response Time

DNS query response time is a major factor in loading speed.  

The ideal number for a site’s DNS response should be 30 ms or less.  However, many sites go beyond the 200 ms mark for DNS resolution. This happens because of traffic from outside their hosted country.

The main problem here is the distance. The greater distance between a browser and DNS server increases, the more time it will take to execute.

The only way to fix this issue is to use a distributed DNS cluster. cquire 3 low-cost VPS servers from the different regions of the world, and  configure master-slave DNS servers in those 3 VPS servers.

Final Thoughts

Speeding up your page load times has a significant impact on your web server performance.

First, go through your site’s speed test results and analyze the issues that leave a negative impact on your website. Once you figure out the problem then focus on high-impact factors and take the essential steps to optimize server performance.