Over the last few months I've been pretty dissatisfied with the performance of this blog. Not only were page load times sometimes upwards of 10 seconds, but occasionally my swap usage would max out and crash the server, requiring a hard reboot. And it's a blog, for crying out loud—nothing this simple should ever flat-out crash a server, even if it's only got 256MB of RAM.

Well, this past weekend my employer closed down for a couple of days due to our own little Dallas Snowpocalypse, and I had the chance to implement a single, simple fix I'd been planning for some time. Here are the results in terms of home page ping time:

Graph showing significant decrease in ping time around February 11

So what did I do? Simple: I switched my web server software from Apache to Nginx. The hardest part was setting up the PHP FastCGI process; although there are lots of instructions online as to how to do this, most of them seem a bit outdated. I ended up using an init script from the Nginx wiki; once that was taken care of, it was a simple matter of converting my Apache confs to Nginx's syntax, switching the ports over, and watching my site's performance improve fantastically.

So there you have it—my blog is now practically readable again, and it turns out the performance problems had nothing to do with my programming! Good news on all fronts today.

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