If ever your website gets features on the front page of a popular social networking site, are you ready to receive thousands of visits within a span of a few hours? If you’re just a small site, then this may seem like a far-fetched dream.
However, such a thing is possible. You probably have already tweaked performance settings, enabled page compression, aggregated CSS files, and activated caches. While these things can make a difference, you’d definitely have to do more in case of extreme events.
Traffic coming from social media networking sites is largely anonymous. In other words, majority of users will request identical pages. By storing rendered pages as HTML files and not serving them up from scratch every time they’re requested, you can tremendously cut down RAM consumption and latency. A useful module that you can try is the Boost module.
This nifty tool dramatically decreases the generation time of webpages. Every time PHP reads a file, that file is compiled (checked for errors and optimized). APC will do this checking once and then cache the results. Hence, a page can be served faster and the result is that the server can respond to another request faster without having to summon additional resources to handle the load.
Domain sharding involves splitting web resources among separate domains so that pages would load faster. You may use the Parallel CSS plugin so that your website can pull images from multiple domains at the same time, allowing your site to serve images at a faster rate.
When your server bogs down, it’s unlikely that you’ll be performing administrative duties. So that you can run server processes faster, it is better if you disable modules that you won’t be needing soon.