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PHP handlers (and opcode caches) for Xenforo on Apache

#1
What sort of PHP handlers people recommend for Apache running on a server with multiple independent sites?

I'm upgrading from a 1 gig to a 2 gig VPS. I'm putting APC and DSO/mod_php behind me and starting anew. The only limit is that I need to use PHP 5.5 rather than anything newer.

Right now I'm leaning toward PHP-FPM as the PHP handler. The following graphic, from an excellent slideshow about PHP handlers, explains several of the benefits:

upload_2015-1-1_21-17-40.png

The core features I need are running as file owner and PHP accelerators (opcode caching).

I'd like PHP to run as the file owner because I provide hosting services and cPanel logins to 4-5 independent websites and plan to provide more in the future. I don't want people to be able to reach into other people's files. (explanation).

Regarind opcode caching, I'm leaning toward Zend OpCache because it is built into PHP 5.5, the version I'll be using. I plan to supplement it with Memcached. Everything on our site is PHP and much of it is complex, so PHP acceleration seems like a priority. Alternatively, I could go with xcache since it handles both opcode caching and user caches.

Any suggestions? Will PHP-fpm, Zend OpCache and Memcached all play well together with PHP5.5? Does this seem like a good stack to go with?

I'm also considering mod_ruid2. Does anyone have experience with both?

Many thanks in advance.
 
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#2
I should mention that I'm not a pro with all of this and also have a million other responsibilities, so I'll be relying on the tech support from my hosting company (LiquidWeb) to install things. I called them and they said that PHP-fpm shouldn't be a problem to compile, but I don't think it would be wise to try anything much more advanced than that.
 

Mike Edge

Well-known member
#3
All our servers use LiteSpeed, not Apache.. But I use FastCGI with Memcache. This is with PHP 5.5 and Percona MySQL5.6 drop-in. We host client communities from just a few posts to 5+ million using this config.
 
#4
Thanks, Mike. It sounds like that works very well. 5+ million is pretty huge.

If I were using php-fpm, I think I would probably use FastCGI to interface with php-fpm. I have a basic idea of how I would configure my httpd.conf for this combination. It would look something like the following code. How would the httpd.conf look different if I were using FastCGI without php-fpm?
Code:
LoadModule fastcgi_module modules/mod_fastcgi.so

  <IfModule mod_fastcgi.c>
    FastCGIExternalServer /usr/sbin/php-fpm -host 127.0.0.1:9000
    AddHandler php-fastcgi .php

    Action php-fastcgi /usr/sbin/php-fpm.fcgi
    ScriptAlias /usr/sbin/php-fpm.fcgi /usr/sbin/php-fpm

    <Directory /usr/sbin>
      Options ExecCGI FollowSymLinks
      SetHandler fastcgi-script
      Order allow,deny
      Allow from all
    </Directory>
  </IfModule>
Is there a reference you can point me to or (please!) some code you could paste in?
 
#5
For anyone following along, I really appreciated that Mike responded and did some additional research. If you want to get the most you can out of an Apache server (opcode caching, for example) but still have multiple users and care about security, php-fpm should probably be on your radar. (mod_ruid2 also looks good but no one is speaking up for that at the moment and this guy doesn't seem to like it). Also, if you ever want to switch to nginx, for example using centminmod, switching to php-fpm and memcached now may make that easier.

The following is a great reference on using FastCGI with Apache:
http://www.fastcgi.com/mod_fastcgi/docs/mod_fastcgi.html

The following helped me see concretely how php-fpm could be used with Apache:
https://blogs.oracle.com/opal/entry/php_fpm_fastcgi_process_manager

The following is a comprehensive overview of FastCGI and Apache. I didn't personally find it as helpful, but it's still one of the better sources and it covers as many options as possible:
http://foaa.de/old-blog/2010/11/php-apache-and-fastcgi-a-comprehensive-overview/trackback/index.html
 
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Mike Edge

Well-known member
#6
Thanks, Mike. It sounds like that works very well. 5+ million is pretty huge.



Is there a reference you can point me to or (please!) some code you could paste in?
Sorry, not sure as I don't use php-fpm. cPanel has it's own FastCGI handler in WHM, recompiling with it using Easy Apache.
 

Sheratan

Well-known member
#7
Correct me, but you want to use Apache cPanel with php-fpm? or Apache (non-cpanel) with php-fpm?

I never successfully setup Apache only with php-fpm, if you want to go beyond that (Apache cPanel with php-fpm) I will gladly to hear how to do it.
 
#8
Is there a reference you can point me to or (please!) some code you could paste in?
Sorry, not sure as I don't use php-fpm.
Oops, sorry, I meant a reference or some code that would be equivalent to the code I pasted in but would be for FastCGI alone (without php-fpm). Basically, I was hoping you'd paste in some example code from one of your httpd.conf files, suitably anonymized. I didn't know if that was proprietary, though, or if it could be made nonproprietary. I'm happy to take no as an answer. :)
Correct me, but you want to use Apache cPanel with php-fpm? or Apache (non-cpanel) with php-fpm?
Our server is a 2 gig WHM/cPanel server, so it would, in that sense, be a cPanel thing. However, as you may know, EasyApache, the cPanel script for updating Apache, doesn't support php-fpm yet. In that sense, it wouldn't be Apache cPanel. Luckily, the awesome tech support at LiquidWeb has said that they expect they could get php-fpm up and running without EasyApache. I'll also learn a lot and do a lot of tweaking of it afterward.
 
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#9
By the way, as I've been researching PHP handlers and opcode caches, I periodically find threads from this forum, even when I'm not looking for XenForo specific content. For example, we're the fifth result for the following query:
https://www.google.com/webhp#q=xcache+php+opcache
Apparently Google things this group is a pretty good place to go for high quality info. Represent XF!
 

Mike Edge

Well-known member
#10
Our server is a 2 gig WHM/cPanel server, so it would, in that sense, be a cPanel thing. However, as you may know, EasyApache, the cPanel script for updating Apache, doesn't support php-fpm yet. In that sense, it wouldn't be Apache cPanel. Luckily, the awesome tech support at LiquidWeb has said that they expect they could get php-fpm up and running without EasyApache. I don't trust them to do a job that is up to my standards, so I'll, I'm sure have to learn a lot and do a lot of tweaking of it afterward.
I'd strongly suggest not going that route. It can 1) break other cPanel functions. 2) have to be redone everytime cPanel updates a new build. I simply use the FastCGI in Easy Apache with some custom handler tweaks to LiteSpeed config.