Saturday, January 16

Tag: php

PHP

How to Install PHP on Windows

We've previously shown you how to get a working local installation of Apache on your Windows PC. In this article, we'll show how to install PHP 5 as an Apache 2.2 module. Why PHP? PHP remains the most widespread and popular server-side programming language on the web. It is installed by most web hosts, has a simple learning curve, close ties with the MySQL database, and an excellent collection of libraries to cut your development time. PHP may not be perfect, but it should certainly be considered for your next web application. Both Yahoo and Facebook use it with great success. Why Install PHP Locally? Installing PHP on your development PC allows you to safely create and test a web application without affecting the data or systems on your live website. This article describes PHP install...
Improving Performance Perception: On-demand Image Resizing
PHP

Improving Performance Perception: On-demand Image Resizing

Over a series of articles, we've been building a sample application --- a multi-image gallery blog --- for performance benchmarking and optimizations. At this point, our application serves the same image regardless of the resolution and screen size it's being served in. In this tutorial, we'll modify it to serve a resized version depending on display size. Objective There are two stages to this improvement. We need to make all images responsive wherever this might be useful. One place is the thumbnails on the home page and in the gallery pages, and another is the full-size image when an individual image is clicked in the gallery. We need to add resizing-logic to our app. The point is to generate a resized image on the fly as it's demanded. This will keep non-popular images from polluting o...
How to Boost Your Server Performance with Varnish
PHP

How to Boost Your Server Performance with Varnish

Varnish Cache is an HTTP accelerator and reverse proxy developed by Danish consultant and FreeBSD core developer Poul-Henning Kamp, along with other developers at Norwegian Linpro AS. It was released in 2006. According to Pingdom.com, a company focused on web performance, in 2012 Varnish was already famous among the world's top websites for its capacity to speed up web delivery, and it was being used by sites such as Wired, SlideShare, Zappos, SoundCloud, Weather.com, Business Insider, Answers.com, Urban Dictionary, MacRumors, DynDNS, OpenDNS, Lonely Planet, Technorati, ThinkGeek and Economist.com. It is licensed under a two-clause BSD license. Varnish has a premium tier, Varnish Plus, focused on enterprise customers, which offers some extra features, modules, and support. Although there a...
Optimization Auditing: A Deep Dive into Chrome’s Dev Console
PHP

Optimization Auditing: A Deep Dive into Chrome’s Dev Console

Chrome DevTools incorporates many sub-tools for debugging web applications on the client side --- like recording performance profiles and inspecting animations --- most of which you've likely been using since your early days of learning web development, mostly through the DevTools console. Let's look at some of those tools, focusing particularly on the console and the performance metrics. To access Chrome's DevTools: right click anywhere on a page, click Inspect from the context menu use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Shift + I on Windows and Linux systems or Alt + Command + I on macOS use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Shift + J on Windows and Linux systems or Alt + Command + J on macOS. The Snippets Tool If you're frequently writing JavaScript code right in the console, make sure to use th...
PHP

Improving Page Load Performance: Pingdom, YSlow and GTmetrix

Optimizing websites for speed is a craft, and each craft requires tools. The most-used website optimization tools are GTmetrix, YSlow and Pingdom Tools. GTmetrix is a rather advanced tool that offers a lot on its free tier, but it also offers premium tiers. If you sign up, you can compare multiple websites, multiple versions of the same website, tested under different conditions, and save tests for later viewing. YSlow is still relevant, although its best days were those when Firebug ruled supreme among the browser inspectors. It offers a Chrome app and other implementations --- such as add-ons for Safari and Opera, a bookmarklet, an extension for PhantomJS, and so on. For advanced users, PhantomJS integration means that one could, for example, automate the testing of many websites --- hun...
How to Use Varnish and Cloudflare for Maximum Caching
PHP

How to Use Varnish and Cloudflare for Maximum Caching

This article is part of a series on building a sample application --- a multi-image gallery blog --- for performance benchmarking and optimizations. (View the repo here.) As we can see in this report, our site's landing page loads very quickly and generally scores well, but it could use another layer of caching and even a CDN to really do well. To learn more about GTMetrix and other tools you can use to measure and debug performance, see Improving Page Load Performance: Pingdom, YSlow and GTmetrix Let's use what we've learned in our previous Varnish post, along with the knowledge gained in the Intro to CDN and Cloudflare posts to really tune up our server's content delivery now. Varnish Varnish was created solely for the purpose of being a type of super-cache in front of a regular server. ...
Server-side Optimization with Nginx and pm-static
PHP

Server-side Optimization with Nginx and pm-static

This article is part of a series on building a sample application --- a multi-image gallery blog --- for performance benchmarking and optimizations. (View the repo here.) Let's continue optimizing our app. We're starting with on-the-fly thumbnail generation that takes 28 seconds per request, depending on the platform running your demo app (in my case it was a slow filesystem integration between host OS and Vagrant), and bring it down to a pretty acceptable 0.7 seconds.Admittedly, this 28 seconds should only happen on initial load. After the tuning, we were able to achieve production-ready times:Troubleshooting It is assumed that you've gone through the bootstrapping process and have the app running on your machine --- either virtual or real. Note: if you're hosting the Homestead Improv...
Using Background Processing to Speed Up Page Load Times
PHP

Using Background Processing to Speed Up Page Load Times

This article is part of a series on building a sample application --- a multi-image gallery blog --- for performance benchmarking and optimizations. (View the repo here.) In a previous article, we've added on-demand image resizing. Images are resized on the first request and cached for later use. By doing this, we've added some overhead to the first load; the system has to render thumbnails on the fly and is "blocking" the first user's page render until image rendering is done. The optimized approach would be to render thumbnails after a gallery is created. You may be thinking, "Okay, but we'll then block the user who is creating the gallery?" Not only would it be a bad user experience, but it also isn't a scalable solution. The user would get confused about long loading times or, even wor...
Improving Performance Perception with Pingdom and GTmetrix
PHP

Improving Performance Perception with Pingdom and GTmetrix

This article is part of a series on building a sample application --- a multi-image gallery blog --- for performance benchmarking and optimizations. (View the repo here.) In this article, we'll analyze our gallery application using the tools we explained in the previous guide, and we'll look at possible ways to further improve its performance. As per the previous post, please set up Ngrok and pipe to the locally hosted app through it, or host the app on a demo server of your own. This static URL will enable us to test our app with external tools like GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools.We went and scanned our website with GTmetrix to see how we can improve it. We see that results, albeit not catastrophically bad, still have room for improvement. The first tab --- PageSpeed --- contains a list of ...
PHP

MySQL Performance Boosting with Indexes and Explain

Techniques to improve application performance can come from a lot of different places, but normally the first thing we look at --- the most common bottleneck --- is the database. Can it be improved? How can we measure and understand what needs and can be improved? One very simple yet very useful tool is query profiling. Enabling profiling is a simple way to get a more accurate time estimate of running a query. This is a two-step process. First, we have to enable profiling. Then, we call show profiles to actually get the query running time. Let's imagine we have the following insert in our database (and let's assume User 1 and Gallery 1 are already created): INSERT INTO `homestead`.`images` (`id`, `gallery_id`, `original_filename`, `filename`, `description`) VALUES (1, 1, 'me.jpg', 'm...
PHP-level Performance Optimization with Blackfire
PHP

PHP-level Performance Optimization with Blackfire

Throughout the past few months, we've introduced Blackfire and ways in which it can be used to detect application performance bottlenecks. In this post, we'll apply it to our freshly started project to try and find the low-points and low-hanging fruit which we can pick to improve our app's performance. If you're using Homestead Improved (and you should be), Blackfire is already installed. Blackfire should only ever be installed in development, not in production, so it's fine to only have it there. Note: Blackfire can be installed in production, as it doesn't really trigger for users unless they manually initiate it with the installed Blackfire extension. However, it's worth noting that defining profile triggers on certain actions or users that don't need the extension will incur a performa...
PHP

Building an Image Gallery Blog with Symfony Flex: Data Testing

In the previous article, we demonstrated how to set up a Symfony project from scratch with Flex, and how to create a simple set of fixtures and get the project up and running. The next step on our journey is to populate the database with a somewhat realistic amount of data to test application performance. Note: if you did the “Getting started with the app” step in the previous post, you've already followed the steps outlined in this post. If that's the case, use this post as an explainer on how it was done. As a bonus, we'll demonstrate how to set up a simple PHPUnit test suite with basic smoke tests. More Fake Data Once your entities are polished, and you've had your "That's it! I'm done!" moment, it's a perfect time to create a more significant dataset that can be used for further testin...
Building an Image Gallery Blog with Symfony Flex: the Setup
PHP

Building an Image Gallery Blog with Symfony Flex: the Setup

This post begins our journey into Performance Month's zero-to-hero project. In this part, we'll set our project up so we can fine tune it throughout the next few posts, and bring it to a speedy perfection. Now and then you have to create a new project repository, run that git init command locally and kick off a new awesome project. I have to admit I like the feeling of starting something new; it's like going on an adventure! Lao Tzu said:The journey of a thousand miles begins with one stepWe can think about the project setup as the very first step of our thousand miles (users!) journey. We aren't sure where exactly we are going to end up, but it will be fun! We also should keep in mind the advice from prof. Donald Knuth:Premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most...
Apache vs Nginx Performance: Optimization Techniques
PHP

Apache vs Nginx Performance: Optimization Techniques

Some years ago, the Apache Foundation's web server, known simply as "Apache", was so ubiquitous that it became synonymous with the term "web server". Its daemon process on Linux systems has the name httpd (meaning simply http process) --- and comes preinstalled in major Linux distributions. It was initially released in 1995, and, to quote Wikipedia, "it played a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web". It is still the most-used web server software according to W3techs. However, according to those reports which show some trends of the last decade and comparisons to other solutions, its market share is decreasing. The reports given by Netcraft and Builtwith differ a bit, but all agree on a trending decline of Apache's market share and the growth of Nginx. Nginx --- pronounced e...
Making Your Website Faster and Safer with Cloudflare
PHP

Making Your Website Faster and Safer with Cloudflare

Cloudflare is an industry leader in the content-delivery space, reducing load and speeding up millions of websites.What is peculiar about this provider is that it didn't start as speed-up/performance tool, but was instead born from Project Honeypot, which was conceived as a spam and hacking protection service. To this day, this is one of Cloudflare's major selling points: DDoS detection and protection. Their algorithms take note of visitors' IP addresses, payloads, resources requested, and request frequency to detect malicious visitors. Because it sits as a proxy between websites and all incoming traffic, Cloudflare is able to reduce strain on servers significantly, so much so that DDoS attacks won't even reach the origin websites, as explained in this introduction. Cloudflare also provi...