Below, you will find a chronological order of events which brought the 10milliondollarpage.wbca.ca to become what it has become today.
Almost into the Xmas season. A lot has happened on the back end of the server(s) in preparation for a ton of hits.
Firstly, we split our server, one dedicated to serving webpages, and other to handle emails. We also split based on expansion. We are currently running our webpage on an entry class server. Once the website server start receiving plenty of visits, we now have a clean and quick upgrade path through our service provider to an Enterprise class server.
We also changed out our webserver software. For years, we have been running Apache as the webserver. Why not? It was initially installed on our server instances by default, so it was just a matter of changing some configs, and poof, you were up and running. It integrated smoothly with PHP, our development standard. However, in preparation for the webserver to become extremely busy, we started to look at what was necessary to optimize for high volume traffic. The more we read, the more we realized we were running the wrong webserver.
So, in November, we switched over exclusively to NGINX as our webserver. We have read articles about using NGINX as a load balancer in front of an Apache instance, but doing additional research and experimentation, we figured NGINX would be the best alternative using it solo. Our website, although PHP generated, offers almost all it content statically. The only page which changes is our main page, which changes every hour, and this blog. Once our page is ready to go again, it is again static for the entire hour. NGINX is suited for static delivery and we fit that category.
Converting all our configurations from Apache to NGINX didn't take too long. In fact, it was kind of fun. Tweaking it took a bit of doing, with me setting up caching to make it a true speed demon, or should we say daemon.
We are ready for our site to become busy.