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SitePoint PHP Blog:
How Can the ELK Stack Be Used to Monitor PHP Apps?
May 12, 2016 @ 10:42:36

The SitePoint blog has posted a new tutorial from author Daniel Berman about using the ELK stack to monitor PHP applications. The ELK stack is made up of Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana to make for effective log storage and searching.

A modern web application environment consists of multiple log sources, which collectively output thousands of log lines written in unintelligible machine language. If you, for example, have a LAMP stack set up, then you have PHP, Apache, and MySQL logs to go through. Add system and environment logs into the fray — together with framework-specific logs such as Laravel logs — and you end up with an endless pile of machine data.

Talk about a needle in a haystack. [...] The ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) is quickly becoming the most popular way to handle this challenge. Already the most popular open-source log analysis platform — with 500,000 downloads a month, according to Elastic — ELK is a great way to centralize logs from multiple sources, identify correlations, and perform deep-data analysis.

They walk you through the full installation of all three tools starting with Java (they all require it) followed by instructions for each piece. Once they're all up and running (and playing nice together) they help you configure it to pull in Apache access logs and search on the results. They then populate it with quite a bit more sample data and share some basic tips on searching using the custom searching "language". Finally they talk about the visualizations Kibana offers complete with an example showing browser percentages from users of the site.

tagged: elk stack tutorial monitor elasticsearch logstash kibana setup configure apache log

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/how-can-the-elk-stack-be-used-to-monitor-php-apps/

Jeff Geerling:
Streaming PHP - disabling output buffering in PHP, Apache, Nginx, and Varnish
Apr 06, 2016 @ 13:45:27

In a recent post to his site Jeff Geerling shows you how to disable the output buffering that PHP includes and create "streaming PHP" code similar to Drupal's recently introduced BigPipe handling.

For the past few days, I've been diving deep into testing Drupal 8's experimental new BigPipe feature, which allows Drupal page requests for authenticated users to be streamed and loaded in stages—cached elements (usually the majority of a page) are loaded almost immediately, meaning the end user can interact with the main elements on the page very quickly, then other uncacheable elements are loaded in as Drupal is able to render them.

[...] BigPipe takes advantage of streaming PHP responses (using flush() to flush the output buffer at various times during a page load), but to ensure the stream is delivered all the way from PHP through to the client, you need to make sure your entire webserver and proxying stack streams the request directly, with no buffering.

He decided to try out different configurations to see if he could reproduce the same thing outside of Drupal and - good news, everyone - he found a reliable way. He starts with a basic procedural script that emulates BigPipe and calls a flush inside a loop to push the latest output to the waiting client. While this cooperates on the command line the browser doesn't cooperate the same way. A small tweak helps it work, so he shows how to reproduce this reliably across the full stack - Nginx, Apache and Varnish.

He ends with a quick warning for those using VMWare/VirtualBox about some oddness he experienced in buffering the responses and includes a way to test if it's your script or the VM causing the trouble.

tagged: stream output disable buffering apache nginx varnish tutorial

Link: http://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2016/streaming-php-disabling-output-buffering-php-apache-nginx-and-varnish

eZ Blog:
How to optimize performance of the LAMP stack with eZ (Part 1)
Mar 03, 2016 @ 11:43:51

On the eZ blog there's a new post, the first part of a series, showing how to optimize the performance of your LAMP stack with the help of some tuning on the server and software levels.

Nowadays, a website is not only a simple HTML page. Your visitors expect dynamic, personalized information fast and you need a scalable way to deliver content as quickly as possible. This, of course, puts significant pressure on page loads and response time. In this series of posts, we’ll explore eZ’s system architecture and provide recommendations on how you can optimize caching and decrease response time with eZ software.

They then talk about the various pieces of software that make up a typical environment and some tips on optimizing them:

  • Varnish
  • Apache
  • MySQL and MariaDB

Each includes the configuration changes and setup that's helped eZ get the most out of their stack and links to other tools to help you evaluate the performance differences.

tagged: optimize performance lamp stack series part1 varnish apache mysql mariadb

Link: http://ez.no/Blog/How-to-optimize-performance-of-the-LAMP-stack-with-eZ-Part-1

Nginx.com:
Maximizing PHP 7 Performance with NGINX, Part I: Web Serving and Caching
Feb 29, 2016 @ 13:55:10

On the Nginx.com site they've posted the first part of a series showing you how to maximize your performance with PHP 7 and this already speedy web server.

PHP is the most popular way to create a server-side Web application, with roughly 80% market share. (ASP.net is a distant second, and Java an even more distant third.) [...] Now the PHP team is releasing a new version, PHP 7 – more than a decade after the introduction of PHP 5. During this time, usage of the web and the demands on websites have both increased exponentially.

[...] This blog post is the first in a two-part series about maximizing the performance of your websites that use PHP 7. Here we focus on upgrading to PHP 7, implementing open source NGINX or NGINX Plus as your web server software, rewriting URLs (necessary for requests to be handled properly), caching static files, and caching dynamic files (also called application caching or microcaching).

They start by looking at why "PHP hits a wall" in its execution in high load situations, stepping through the process it follows to handle each request. They also share some of the common ways PHP developers have combatted these issues including more hardware, better server software and multi-server setups. They then get into the actual tips themselves:

  • Tip 1. Upgrade to PHP 7
  • Tip 2. Choose Open Source NGINX or NGINX Plus
  • Tip 3. Convert Apache Configuration to NGINX Syntax
  • Tip 4. Implement Static File Caching
  • Tip 5. Implement Microcaching

For each tip there's a summary with more information on why they make the suggestion and, for some, how to make the transition happen. In the next part of the series they'll get into reverse proxy servers and a multi-server Nginx implementation to boost performance even more.

tagged: performance php7 nginx series part1 maximize tutorial static cache apache conversion

Link: https://www.nginx.com/blog/maximizing-php-7-performance-with-nginx-part-i-web-serving-and-caching/

ProDevTips.com:
Proxying with PHP in Ubuntu 14.04 (Apache 2.4, PHP 5.4+)
Jan 21, 2016 @ 10:46:38

The ProDevTips.com site has a tutorial posted showing you how to proxy requests with PHP on Ubuntu using Apache 2.4 and PHP version 5.4 or later.

I’ve just had to evade a Russian block of one of my employer’s sites, let’s call it CasinoX. Presumably they had blocked both www.casinox.com and www.casinox.com’s IP address (which is a Cloud Flare IP btw).

Simply pointing ru.casinox.com to the real IP address of www.casinox.com’s server was a not a viable solution though as that would expose the real IP publicly which is a no-go in the online casino business as it is basically an invitation to be DDoS’ed.

The solution they came up with was to set up a server that operates as a proxy and sends all traffic to the actual web server, save the assets (images, Javascript files, etc). They include the changes you'll need to the .htaccess configuration on the proxy server to forward the requests. Then they show the updated version of your virtual hosts configuration to match these changes. From there the rest of the handling lives in PHP. They include the code for the index.php proxy handling, a Proxy class that makes curl requests to the actual web server and an ip_in_range function to get the actual IP of the user/client making the request.

tagged: proxy server apache webserver tutorial htaccess virtualhost

Link: http://www.prodevtips.com/2016/01/16/proxying-with-php-in-ubuntu-1404-apache-24-php-54/

Loïc Chardonne:
Symfony Differently - part 2: Bootstrap
Jun 16, 2015 @ 10:46:03

Loïc Chardonne has posted the latest part in his "Symfony Differently" series (part one is here) with a focus on bootstrapping the application and configuring the environment that it will live in.

Our goal in this post is to bootstrap an application to then create a search endpoint for items. We've decided to use Symfony for a single reason: our company Acme used it since the beginning and the API developers team has Symfony and PHP skills.

He walks through the steps you'll need to get the application up and running:

  • Creating a new Symfony Standard Edition project
  • Configuring Apache
  • Moving the tests to a different directory, including Composer updates
  • Creating scripts for builds, testing and deployment

With all this structure in place, the next part of the series will start in on the functionality of the search endpoint and returning the results.

tagged: symfony bootstrap differently tutorial series part2 project apache scripts tests

Link: http://gnugat.github.io/2015/06/10/sf-differently-part-2-bootstrap.html

Three Devs & A Maybe Podcast:
Three Devs and a Aimee
Jan 19, 2015 @ 09:17:21

The Three Devs and a Maybe podcast has released their latest episode of their show - episode #54, Three Devs and a Amiee with hosts Michael Budd, Fraser Hart, Lews Cains and Edd Mann.

It is the first show of the new year! In this weeks episode we first reflect on how our holiday breaks went, and what happened to Edd's face?! Fraser's move up to Greenwich is next discussed, including how useful the taxi app 'Uber' is. We then move on to talk about Mick's experiences compiling Apache and PHP from source, along with CodeIgniter's decision to maintain 5.2 support. This leads on to conversation about the upcoming PHP UK Conference, along with tuning queries for the database query planner. Finally, we highlight the differences between Apache and nginx, along with their use of PHP-FPM.

Other topics mentioned include:

You can listen to this latest show either through the in-page audio player or by downloading the mp3 to listen whenever. If you enjoy the show, be sure to subscribe to their feed too.

tagged: threedevsandamaybe podcast ep54 holiday apache codeigniter phpuk nginx phpfpm

Link: http://threedevsandamaybe.com/three-devs-and-a-aimee/

Mattias Geniar:
The PHP circle: from Apache to Nginx and back
Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:26:28

In this new post to his site Mattias Geniar goes in circles...from Apache to Nginx and back in terms of how it relates to PHP.

As with many technologies, the PHP community too evolves. And over the last 6 or 7 years, a rather remarkable circle has been made by a lot of systems administrators and PHP developers in that regard.

He talks about the "early days" and the rise of Apache as the "A" in the LAMP stack. Then Nginx was created/released and PHP developers saw it as a viable option. He talks about how PHP worked with this server and the solutions that were found to "hack" them together. There were issues around the relationship, though, and - in the author's perspective - the circle has come back around to Apache, just with a bit more smarts about how it's configured.

tagged: circle apache webserver nginx opinion configuration phpfpm

Link: http://ma.ttias.be/php-circle-apache-nginx-back/

Rob Allen:
Setting up PHP & MySQL on OS X Yosemite
Oct 20, 2014 @ 09:43:36

Rob Allen has posted a quick guide to help you get PHP and MySQL set up on Yosemite, the latest version of Apple's OSX operating system (just released last week).

t's that time again; Apple has shipped a new version of OS X, 10.10 Yosemite. Apple ships PHP 5.5.14 with Yosemite and this is how to set it up from a clean install. However, if you don't want to use the built-in PHP or want to use version 5.6, then these are some alternatives [including the Liip binary package, Homebrew or Zend Server 7.x).

He opts for the Homebrew method, installing it first then getting into the PHP and MySQL packages. This is all done from the command-line, so you'll need to be comfortable there. He includes the commands needed to install PHP, MySQL and Apache along with all configuration changes to make them work together. He also shows how to install Xdebug, PEAR, Composer and the Mcrypt & Intl extensions if needed.

tagged: setup osx yosemite mysql homebrew package install apache intl mcrypt

Link: http://akrabat.com/php/setting-up-php-mysql-on-os-x-yosemite/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Stress-test your PHP App with ApacheBench
Jun 27, 2014 @ 12:55:58

In this recent post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc looks at using a popular tool from the Apache project, Apache Bench (or just "ab") to stress-test your application.

There’s no telling when your app might attract a throng of visitors at once. [...] Regardless of the reason, massive influxes of visitors are a double-edged sword: they get you what you always wanted – a chance to prove your worth to a large chunk of the internet’s population – but also often bring with them what you always feared: absolute downtime. [Some] platforms usually offer plugins that can optimize your application while it’s up, so you can fine tune it as you go along, but why not try and predict issues while still developing locally and save yourself time, money and effort in the long run?

He bases the testing off of a Laravel Homestead virtual machine instance and tests a simple "hello world" PHP page to minimize any overhead from other processing. He includes the commands to make a simple ab request and mentions the kinds of request it provides on completion. He moves on from there to something a bit more complex - an actual Laravel-based application using the default "HomeController" and "showWelcome" action/view combination.

tagged: apache bench ab tutorial laravel homestead stress test

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/stress-test-php-app-apachebench/