How Many Blogs Per Server

Hi,

For paid blogs where hosting performance is a selling point, what would be the ideal maximum blogs per server (based on multisite performance, etc.) to maintain optimal performance for all customers without compromise? Any advice would be appreciated.

Typical blog allotment would be up to 3 GB.

Server would be a current dual quad-core Xeon model with 16-32 GB RAM.

Thanks,

Mark

  • drmike

    Typical blog allotment would be up to 3 GB.

    Is that a max? I know in the hosting world, the average I;m familiar with is 30% of the max on average gets used. Be that hard drive space or bandwidth.

    Kind of hard to tell with blogs like these. A know a lot of installs, 90% are just empty blogs or splogs that never get used. Then you have other installs where 95% of the blogs get used. Say on a pay to blog type or niche install.

    Really depends on a lot of things. Webserver seems to be the big issue. Apache runs heavy while something like Nginx runs a lot lighter. Tuning your MySQL and install a cache plugin gives you a lot of breathing room as well.

    edit: a working install of memcache helps too. :slight_smile:

    Server would be a current dual quad-core Xeon model with 16-32 GB RAM.

    Again it depends. We have a 65k blog install (I believe 25% active use. I;d have to check) running on a pair of dual Intel 3.2s with HT and 12 gigs of memory in each. That's our standard server. It's running Nginx, a lot of extra garbage scripts removed from the OS, wp-super-cache and memcache installed, the server hard drives with the built in cache, etc and it runs fine.

    Making sure you get the chip with the higher speed bus speed helps too. Where folks run into issues is with processor. Being able to transfer data as quickly as possible helps. Offloading from the processor helps too.

    Hope this helps,
    -drmike

  • wpcdn

    Thanks Mike.

    Yes, 3 GB would be the max (what's allowed for each blog). We'll probably see a fairly high percentage of usage since it will be a paid service.

    Interesting...65k blogs. If you don't mind my asking, what kind of storage do you have in those servers to accommodate that many blogs? We've looked at Multi-DB and other scalability strategies, but storage always seems to be the sticking point. For example, we can create multiple DBs on multiple servers, but the users' uploaded files are still stored on the "mothership." So it's necessary to figure out a way to distribute that as well.

    So now we're leaning toward a strategy of multiple multisite installs, each with a reasonable number of blogs. Not putting all the eggs in one basket, so to speak.

    We'll definitely use caching and other optimizations. Possibly nginx although we haven't tried it yet. Also memcache and/or APC, although we are still working out issues using those with suPHP.

    In summary, our goal is to live up to our promise of not overselling...putting only a realistic number of blogs on a server

    Thanks!

    Mark

  • drmike

    I can never remember if it's lightspeed or lhttp or whatever it;s called but one of them, the uploader doesn;t work right with wordpress. Not having the uploader is a showstopper for us and we never looked at it again.

    It's kind of the "Anything but apache" response in this case. You can strip out of lot of the extra stuff Apache runs but you would have to know a lot about it to figure out what can go and what can stay. (I have enough on my plate knowing about all these packages and softwares.)

    If you don't mind my asking, what kind of storage do you have in those servers to accommodate that many blogs?

    The main box (install and memcache) has a pair of 250gigs. The second box (db and uploads) has 4 250gigs in there. We just used NFS to do the uploads. For the db, it's using multidb but just accessing a different server normally.

  • wpcdn

    I can never remember if it's lightspeed or lhttp or whatever it;s called but one of them, the uploader doesn;t work right with wordpress. Not having the uploader is a showstopper for us and we never looked at it again.

    Hmm, we use LiteSpeed on our accelerated WP hosting and the uploader is working for us. Don't know if that was something they eventually worked out. However, we are re-evaluating LiteSpeed for other reasons.

    So NFS would make it possible to extend our network substantially just by adding volumes, right?

    So we could use Multi-DB to distribute the databases/WP content, etc., and NFS to create a scalable storage array for user uploads...thus allowing us to keep everything in one very scalable multisite setup?

    If I'm reading your answers right, that sounds like the way to go.

    Thanks so much for sharing those details.

    Mark

  • drmike

    Litespeed: I can;t find it with a google but there's code in the wordpress core with the uploader saying not to use the flash uploader, you have to use the regular one. It's for the 1.4 version of the webserver which is what comes down as the rpm or install package. 1.5 and above, which has been in beta for eons, it works fine.

    So NFS would make it possible to extend our network substantially just by adding volumes, right?

    That's what we do. I seem to recall an issue with load if you had many servers but we're only doing it for a single server and it seems to work fine.

    edublogs has the same sort of setup and I only have one of these. Let's see if we can get someone to weigh in on this.

  • wpcdn

    Thanks again!

    One other question:

    We will probably take a moderate amount of time to reach the number of sites where Multi-DB is needed (though I'm not sure what that point is...I've seen various opinions on that). Would we be better off starting with Multi-DB or migrating to it later? I don't see much benefit in starting now, as the point of Multi-DB would be to expand to other servers. But if there's a reason to do it at the start, we're willing.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  • wpcdn

    Thanks. Still trying to get my head around nginx, and I've heard a lot good about it but it looks complex. We run cPanel for most everything, and we understand it's a bit of a challenge to get those two working together...but probably worth it.

    How is it security-wise, for example I understand that it doesn't support mod_security but there are other .htaccess-style security directives that can have similar results.

  • drmike

    My understanding is that CPanel and Nginx don;t work well together but I've never tried it. (Forgive me for not giving links. Bad wireless today.) I know with Direct Admin, it;s not recommended for a production server that's used to resell hosting although use for a dedicated productions site (ie the root also controls the sites on it) is fine.

    I could have sworn that mod_security was created to cover Apache security issues but that is something I would have to research as well.

  • wpcdn

    We've since found a couple of cPanel/WHM plugins that apparently work fairly well. The best (by some accounts) appears to be:

    http://nginxcp.com/about/

    We're very interested in using nginx as a front-end to Apache, however again we're worried about security without mod_security being there at the front end. However, many people are using nginx as a front-end to Apache, so I'm wondering how they're securing it?

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