Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cherokee web server - the next generation?

Today I was surfing on the net while I was running some loong SELECT statemens on MySQL server. On the linuxquestions forum I found a thread about new web server called Cherokee. People said Cherokee's supposed to be quite fast (double as fast as Apache!) so I had to try it out myself!

I compiled Cherokee with basic settings and used default configuration files to run the tests - all I wanted to do was to test how fast Cherokee really is.

On the first test I used Cherokees default index page (sized 1700 ~bytes). I used Apache Benchmark to test the capacity of the web servers: 20 concurrent connections and 100k requests.

Here's the results:

Server Software: Apache/2.2.6
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /index.html
Document Length: 1795 bytes

Concurrency Level: 20
Time taken for tests: 43.383405 seconds
Complete requests: 100000
Failed requests: 0
Write errors: 0
Total transferred: 206406192 bytes
HTML transferred: 179505385 bytes
Requests per second: 2305.03 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 8.677 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 0.434 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 4646.20 [Kbytes/sec] received

Server Software: Cherokee/0.9.3
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /index.html
Document Length: 1795 bytes

Concurrency Level: 20
Time taken for tests: 24.177908 seconds
Complete requests: 100000
Failed requests: 0
Write errors: 0
Total transferred: 199401994 bytes
HTML transferred: 179501795 bytes
Requests per second: 4136.01 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 4.836 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 0.242 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 8053.96 [Kbytes/sec] received

As you can see, Cherokee is almost double as fast serving single small file. The developers at http://www.cherokee-project.com say that they have developed some über-cool I/O gadget that makes this possible.

I also wanted to test the results with a little bigger file: This time we're using 1.7 megabytes jpg image:

Server Software: Apache/2.2.6
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /playboy/1.jpg
Document Length: 1791791 bytes

Concurrency Level: 20
Time taken for tests: 52.58448 seconds
Complete requests: 10000
Failed requests: 0
Write errors: 0
Total transferred: 740870816 bytes
HTML transferred: 738040816 bytes
Requests per second: 192.09 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 104.117 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 5.206 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 13897.96 [Kbytes/sec] received

And Cherokee:

Server Software: Cherokee/0.9.3
Server Hostname: localhost
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /playboy/1.jpg
Document Length: 1791791 bytes

Concurrency Level: 20
Time taken for tests: 47.941745 seconds
Complete requests: 10000
Failed requests: 0
Write errors: 0
Total transferred: 740070816 bytes
HTML transferred: 738040816 bytes
Requests per second: 208.59 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 95.883 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 4.794 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 15075.07 [Kbytes/sec] received

As you can see, this time the difference is allmost next to nothing.

So, which of the web servers is really faster? Can't say. The Apache was default installation that comes with Fedora Core. Cherokee was compiled. We were testing only one static file. In few days I'm going to make a test including Apache, Lighty, Nginx and Cherokee, testing static files (multifiles!), php scripts and all other kewl stuff. Then we'll see which of 'em is really faster!

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to compile Lighttpd on CentOS

It's very easy and very fast to compile Lighty to your Linux box on default settings. Here's and example how to compile Lighttpd 1.4.20 on CentOS 5.1.

1) Download latest version of lighty from http://www.lighttpd.net/download.

2) Extract the contents to your template directory.

3) Run .configure. I want to install application to place other than default, therefore I use --prefix -option:

[root@cluster1 lighttpd-1.4.20]# ./configure --prefix=/opt/lighttpd-1.4.20

4) After configuring you receive list of which modules and features are enabled:




5) Run mtake and after that run make install

6) If you use another prefix instead of default, you have to copy lighttpd.conf manually. After that you have to make default directories (htdocs & log directory) manually.

7) Start lighty with option -f to define configuration directory:

[root@cluster1 man1]# ./lighttpd -f /etc/lighhtpd/lighttpd.conf

8) Connect localhost:80 with our web browser!

Argument list too long

Have you ever seen this very annoying error message? I bet you have!

I had to move little over 36k files in one directory to another box. Scp and both let me know there's too many files for them to handle. So what to do?

Each shell session has a pre-configured amount of storage with a hard limit. To check it you can type getconf ARG_MAX which will type whatever the max arg is in your box.

You can work around this easily wit tar. Just pre-build list of filenames and then pass the list to tar:

find . -iname '*.gif' > list.txt
tar czvf files.tar.gz --files-from list.txt

Sit back and enjoy the ride while box archives your files!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to install NGINX

Nginx (pronounced Engine-X) is a russian open source httpd server originally written by Igor Sysoev back in 2005. Nginx is a very light weight httpd server and reverse proxy. It is estimated that approx. 3 per cent of all web servers run nginx. In Russia the number is as high as 20 percent, including some of their biggest web sites. Nginx is also used by Wordpress.com and 4chan.

Why use Nginx instead of Apache or Lighty? Nginx should be fast. I mean FAST. Fast in a way of over 10000 concurrent requests / sec per server. Now that's fast!

I have wanted to screw 'round with Nginx for a while, so here goes nothing!

How to install Nginx on your Linux box

Nginx can be downloaded from www.nginx.net. Simple web page displays the latest distribution packages and small introduction. Further instructions can be found from Nginx Wiki.

I installed Nginx on my CentOs 5.1 running on VMWare & Macbook. Nginx's version was 0.6.32. The default installation is very straightforward - configure, make & make install. I had to install pcre packages to my box before installing httpd server in order to enable rewrite module. I also used --prefix module to install application where i wanted:

[root@cluster1 nginx-0.6.32]# ./configure --prefix=/opt/nginx-0.6.32
[root@cluster1 nginx-0.6.32]# make
[root@cluster1 nginx-0.6.32]# make install

After this Nginx is ready to serve static files!

How to configure Nginx

When you move to your Nginx installation directory, here's what you see:

drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 sbin
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 html
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 conf

Sbin directory has only nginx executable file which starts up httpd. Html directory is same as htdocs directory in Apache - copy your files here in order to serve 'em to the world! Conf-file has all configuration files.

When you start up your nginx (just go to sbin and type ./nginx in order to start your web server!) you get few more directories:

drwx------ 2 nobody root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 proxy_temp
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 logs
drwx------ 2 nobody root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 fastcgi_temp
drwx------ 2 nobody root 4096 Oct 5 23:52 client_body_temp

In the conf-directory you can see the following files:

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3610 Oct 5 23:52 win-utf
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2726 Oct 5 23:52 nginx.conf.default
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2726 Oct 5 23:52 nginx.conf
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2991 Oct 5 23:52 mime.types.default
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2991 Oct 5 23:52 mime.types
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2223 Oct 5 23:52 koi-win
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2837 Oct 5 23:52 koi-utf
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 909 Oct 5 23:52 fastcgi_params.default
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 909 Oct 5 23:52 fastcgi_params

The most important file of them all is of course nginx.conf. The default configuration looks like this after installation:

#user nobody;
worker_processes 1;

#error_log logs/error.log;
#error_log logs/error.log notice;
#error_log logs/error.log info;

#pid logs/nginx.pid;

events {
worker_connections 1024;

These are default configuration parameters to set user and logging preferences. If you are your box to run many different applications it is a good idea to change default user to something else, like "nginx" or "www_user".

Worker_connections parameter sets the maximum number of connections each worker can handle. This is quite good default value.

The following part defines base settings for the http access:

http {
include mime.types;
default_type application/octet-stream;

You should not tamper round with mime types because you will likely end up with screwed up web server!

If you want to, you can also change default log format in the following part.

#log_format main '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] $request '
# '"$status" $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" '
# '"$http_user_agent" "$http_x_forwarded_for"';

#access_log logs/access.log main;

TCP nopush setting means that HTTP response hearders are all sent in one packet. Sendfile setting means that Nginx ignores the details of the file it is sending and uses kernel sendfile support instead. Keepalive setting defines how long server waits for users packets. This should be changed only to few seconds on busy sites. Gzip compression saves bandwith on site, depending what kind of packets server is sending.

sendfile on;
#tcp_nopush on;

#keepalive_timeout 0;
keepalive_timeout 65;

#gzip on;

The following server part is just like server settings on Apache HTTPD and if you have tampered 'round with Apache before this is quite straightforward to you.

server {
listen 80;
server_name localhost;

#charset koi8-r;

#access_log logs/host.access.log main;

location / {
root html;
index index.html index.htm;

#error_page 404 /404.html;

# redirect server error pages to the static page /50x.html
error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
location = /50x.html {
root html;

Example how to configure virtual host on Nginx:

# another virtual host using mix of IP-, name-, and port-based configuration
#server {
# listen 8000;
# listen somename:8080;
# server_name somename alias another.alias;

# location / {
# root html;
# index index.html index.htm;
# }

These were basic examples of Nginx and what one can do with it. I stripped some configuration examples but here you can see the basics. Later we're going to configure Nginx to use PHP and we're going thru how to use mod_rewrite with Nginx.

Benchmarking Apache 2 vs. Lighttpd

Have you ever wondered which is faster, Apache 2 or Lighttpd? Everyone says that Lighttpd (or lighty) is a much faster, but is it really so?

I found this curious article I'd like to share with you. It can be originally be found here but I'm also going to write a short version about the article below:

The benchmark shows how Apache 2.2.3 compares to Lighttpd 1.4.13 when delivering static HTML file approx 50 kilobytes. Test was made with Apache benchmark.

The test was made on a Debian Etch running inside VMware. The box was quite old but it shouldn't affect on the tendency.

Versions were:

*Apache 2.2.3 mpm-prefork with default Debian configuration.
*Lighttpd 1.4.13 with default Debian configuration.

The HTML file was approx 50 kilobytes in size and it was saved as test.html.

I've run the following commands ten times each and calculated the average requests per second that the web server could handle:

*ab -n 100 -c 5 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 1000 -c 5 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 10000 -c 5 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 100 -c 50 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 1000 -c 50 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 10000 -c 50 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 100 -c 100 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 1000 -c 100 http://localhost/test.html
*ab -n 10000 -c 100 http://localhost/test.html

-n is the number of requests to perform for the benchmarking session; -c is the number of multiple requests to perform at a time.

Here's result of the test:

As you can see, lighty is almost one third faster on static pages! Knowin this one has to consider if it is worth using lighty instead of Apache. Personally I choose Apache? Why? More modules and knowledge. Maybe some day I'll start using Lighty. Or Nginx. Woudln't that be kewl?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Basic Commands in UNIX

Here's a short list of basic commands in UNIX. I have copied the list originally from another page which I cannot remember and I did some editing to it.


* ls --- lists your files
* ls -l --- lists your files in 'long format'
* ls -a --- lists all files
* more filename --- shows the first part of a file. Hit the space bar to see more or q to quit. You can use /pattern to search for a pattern.
* emacs filename --- is an editor that lets you create and edit a file.
* mv filename1 filename2 --- moves a file
* cp filename1 filename2 --- copies a file
* rm filename --- removes a file.
* diff filename1 filename2 --- compares files, and shows where they differ
* wc filename --- tells you how many lines, words, and characters there are in a file
* chmod options filename --- lets you change the read, write, and execute permissions on your files. For example, chmod 777 file

File Compression
* gzip filename --- compresses files, so that they take up much less space.
* gunzip filename --- uncompresses files compressed by gzip.


* mkdir dirname --- make a new directory
* cd dirname --- change directory.
* pwd --- tells you where you currently are.

Finding things

* grep string filename(s) --- looks for the string in the files. This can be useful a lot of purposes, e.g. finding the right file among many.

About your (electronic) self

* whoami --- returns your username.
* passwd --- lets you change your password.
* ps -u yourusername --- lists your processes.

How to restart linux

There are many ways to restart your linux computer.

If you are using GUI interface, shutting down or rebooting the computer depends of the GUI you are using. Usually shutdown, reboot etc. commands are located thru the GUI's main menu or bar located at the bottom of the screen.

If you are using shell window, the easiest way to restart linux is to use "reboot" command:

*Change to root user
*simpy type reboot and hit enter, and the computer restarts.

Hope this helps you linux newbies to restart linux :)