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Optimisation Help

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I'm in the process of moving over from wBB to IPB. Although I am using a VPS to host the existing board, I have purchased another one which is slightly better. What I planned on doing was installing CentOS 6.0 minimal then installing Webmin / Usermin.

The new IPB will have 1600 forums (yes, I do mean forums). The number of active users is likely to be lower than 100 at any one time. The number of posts is currently 6500 but increased quickly on a daily basis.

What optimisation steps would you recommend I take?

Is it even worth considering memcache yet?

I figure it would help using mod_expires?

ExpiresActive on

ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 day"

ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/ico "access plus 1 month"

ExpiresByType image/icon "access plus 1 month"

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Optimization with ALWAYS worth it in my opinion. No matter how small your website is (though, with note that some optimizations targeting high visitors may be actually slower with few visitors).

It sounds like you're going to have lot of images by what you're implying with the mod_expires.

I would suggest having something like nginx serve the images instead which will pass on everything else to apache. I recommend this because it's quite easy to setup. Look up a tutorial on "nginx reverse proxy". Nginx actually even has such a setup as an example from the default installation. The benefit will be quite great in efficiency to serve images. I usually set caches to ~24hrs. Having a very long time may get in the way of any updates you make and it's meaningless when you have high bounce rates and the browsers cache may get full and clear it early anyway. But you definitely should set some type of expiration date.

If you are running on a single server, I could recommend you to try other options like xcache, apc or eaccelerator. If you believe that you'll need a distributed system or if you need memcache for other purposes, you should go ahead and install memcached. A sysadmin wouldn't really take anymore than 10~30min to set it up and test it. After it's installed, the site will be faster which will make your users lot happier and it even makes google happier. :P

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Honestly, until you have some kind of benchmark for performance, you won't have a way to know whether your changes make things better or worse. Start with ab.

What I did when I had the opportunity to shift onto a new VPS was start with CentOS, then nginx, php5.3 with php-fpm, and apc for opcode caching. I installed mysqltuner.pl and took its advice. That right there is making me very happy with the small forum on board. I'm prepping to move my big forum (500k posts) and will see how it behaves before considering a) memcache b) varnish c) percona d) a dedicated DB host e) a bigger VPS f) selling off the boards (just kidding..)

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