How to Set Up a Whip Snapping Fast WordPress blog with HHVM and NGINX – Part 1

Allow me to whip your performance into shape.
Allow me to whip your performance into shape.

You want your blog to be reliable and fast.  And you want to make sure it can handle all of those millions of visitors you’re going to get from being on the first page of Reddit every day.  Shared hosting (while it is getting better) isn’t going to cut it for you.  You need your blog to have Ludicrous Speed™.

The biggest bottleneck to a fast WordPress blog is going to be the code.  Static pages and reasonable sized files your web server can toss around as fast as you can want them on any modern server.  But in our case, executing the PHP code and making database calls are going to slow it down.  Therefore, our target is going to be:

  1. Keep the system from calling the database as much as possible.
  2. Try and serve as much static content as possible, keeping it from having to execute the code when we can.
  3. Speed up the code execution as much as possible.

The first two things we will talk about in later posts.  The third we are going to talk about today.

This series is going to make a few assumptions.

  • I’m going to assume that you’ve got your server and have done basic setup and have your firewall in place.
  • I’m going to assume you’re comfortable enough running basic terminal commands to follow the bouncing ball the rest of the way down this page.
  • I’m not going to be talking about setting up multiple load-balanced servers or database replication or running in a cloud setup — though those things can give your sites a boost.  This post is about how to get the most out of a single box.
  • Finally, this post assumes you’re using Ubuntu Linux 13.10, as that was the flavor that the HHVM developed and tested on.

OK, let’s get started. Click the first link for the first article and then follow the bouncing ball all the way down (links will become active as articles write themselves).

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