Getting the Most Out of Your Web Server

We live in a fast-paced economy. Everyone wants stuff done
now. This includes our website visitors who will not become website customers if they feel our website load too slowly. Fortunately, you can do something about it. It all comes down to implementing a three-fold strategy of code optimization, cache control, and compression. With a few tweaks you can get the most of your web server.

Understand Your Web Server

Your first step is to understand your web server software.
While there are a few things that will apply to all servers, each web server has its own quirks and requirements. Now that you know your server, we can begin to improve its performance. These optimization tips work with any web server provided you use tools designed for your server.

Optimize Your Source Code

Most web server bottlenecks have nothing to do with your
server software, but with your web application itself. You will need an
awareness of web standards and best practices, but optimizing your application will take care of most of your problems. If you need help, you can seek the aid of a source code optimizer.

Implement Cache Control

Cache control policies inform client browsers how they
should cache and download your pages. With a proper cache policy in place, your visitors will only have to download common pieces of your website when necessary.

Pay Attention to Your Web Applications

Something to keep in mind with regard to web servers is that if you’re running a number of web applications and not monitoring them for performance, they could be substantially slowing down your website. In this situation, it would be wise to employ a web application monitoring solution that can help you ensure that your apps are performing properly. There are a number of companies like Pingdom, Site24x7, and Nagios that offer these types of solutions.

Implement HTTP Compression

Most webmasters overlook HTTP compression. Compression reduces the effective sizes of your files giving you faster download speeds. Every web server comes with a compression tool built in though you can always use a third-party solution if you want better control of it.

Optimize Your Development Process

You must optimize your entire development and deployment chain
as a single entity. Performance pitfalls can appear anywhere along the chain from source code development, server side processes, the connection between your server and visitors, and your visitors’ web browsers. You need to examine each link in the chain for improvement opportunities. For the most part, you will
just need to follow the tips I presented here modified for your own particular web server. Optimizing your source code, cache controls, and compression all reduces how much data you need to transmit ensuring that you get the most out of your web server. These strategies, along with leveraging your existing web infrastructure resources, will give you a more efficient web server, lower your bandwidth expense, and provide your users a much faster experience.