Sensible Performance/Growth Strategies?

Raina Gustafson raina at
Thu Aug 5 21:41:08 MSD 2010

Thanks everyone for the replies.

A few notes to address the comments:
1. I'm using Magento. I am willing to use plugins/extensions, and will
apply local overrides/customizations, but don't want to alter the code
base to the point of having difficulties with upgrading, etc.
2. I tried using Amazon S3 as a cheap CDN, but Varnish was WAY faster.
3. I was using Varnish with Apache, and noticed an impressive
performance boost. It wasn't compatible with SSL, so I abandoned it in
favor of Nginx.
4. Another Magento community member had provided instructions on
configuring Varnish for use with the combination of static and dynamic
content that Magento relies on. I'm guessing that this will be a
consideration with Nginx FastCgi Cache as well. So, I'll have to sort
that out.
5. I just launched the site on Nginx on July 12 with the minimum
configuration for the site to work with the extended SSL cert that I'd
6. I'm on CentOS.

I really need to gain a better understanding of the basics of how
everything works. My background is in fine art–not tech. I've used and Sitepoint to learn about front-end development. Beyond
this mailing list, blogs and general googling, I'm not sure what the
best resources are for me to become self-taught and establish a true
understanding of server management. If anyone can make suggestions
about what I should read or watch, I'm all ears.

Thanks again for joining the conversation.

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Igor Sysoev <igor at> wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 05, 2010 at 06:49:21PM +0200, rainer at wrote:
>> > On Thu, Aug 05, 2010 at 12:24:23PM -0400, Alex Sergeyev wrote:
>> > varnish relies on OS internals too: it mmap()s a huge file that
>> > may be larger tens times physical memory and perfomance relies on
>> > how OS flushes modified pages to a disk and how then OS reads them
>> > back to memory.
>> >
>> >> I'm not sure about internals of each project and how they work under
>> >> Linux vs FreeBSD servers. This could be a decision reason too.
>> >
>> > Both Varnish and nginx are developed on FreeBSD.
>> Recently, we did a test with serving just static files (from a FreeBSD8.1
>> VM), a very small data-set.
>> nginx0.7 was 1.8 times faster than varnish (both mostly untuned).
>> So, I'd say that OOTB, just serving static files, nginx wins.
>> Though, I still think that varnish has a place and there are probably
>> certain situations where it can beat and will nginx.
> What have you set behind Varnish ?
> --
> Igor Sysoev
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> nginx at

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