500%+ Speed Improvement of Dolphin!

Andrew Boon posted 31st of August 2010 in . 46 comments.

In some cases up to 25x speed increase is possible. Without upgrading, without modifications of Dolphin code, only by tuning your hosting server properly. Read on...


Wondering why 7.0.3 is taking so long? It's because we're taking the speed issue a lot more seriously now and over the last 2 weeks we have been researching and testing as crazy. We tried different setups, compared servers of our partner hosting providers and tracked performance of some clients' sites. As a (interim) result we have two major groups of "answers":


1. Hosting server setup


Our tests showed dramatic contrast in performance of Dolphin on different server configurations. In some cases we are talking about up to "25 times" variation! Moreover, some of the popular Dolphin hosting providers have made the poorest possible choices for their servers. We already had a bold guess about this after we worked on BoonEx.com server optimisation and only confirmed it during our latest testing. In short, the first thing you need to do to speed up Dolphin is to properly configure your hosting server.

Now, it would be irresponsible to give advice like that without any specific recommendations, so we have started a new document with our tips and comparisons. We will be updating this document regularly, as soon as we find even better options. So, right now you can speed up your Dolphin-based site dramatically and reduce yoru hosting account load by following instructions given in:

Dolphin Hosting Server Setup Recommendations

Please, read it carefully and use the tips as long as you understand them and feel confident about what you are doing. If in doubt, try to force your hosting provider to do it. Some files benefit more than others, some less, but overall you may expect up to twice better files execution times across entire Dolphin package. This is A LOT and will translate into better search engine rankings, more pleasant browsing experience and happier clients.

To hosting providers: please, read our recommendations and move Dolphin-based sites to optimised machines. You may contact us for any help with tuning your servers. In short order we plan to start measuring and comparing hosting providers performance and feature those that do the best job for our clients. It is in your best interest to optimise for Dolphin.


2. Dolphin


On the Dolphin side we pinpointed some of the major bottlenecks and work on them right now. Our goal is to introduce most obvious and quick "cures" into 7.0.3 (eAccelerator, MemCached, gZip CSS, JS cache, some code optimisation) and then produce Dolphin 7.1 with more significant improvements. The catch with Dolphin is that "perceived speed" can be vastly enhanced with reworked layout/design, navigation menu, default arrangement of blocks, streamlining of options, optimising AJAX, etc. You could see what we achieved with latest Forums update, and that's what we're doing for 7.1 too.



This is an important topic on its own and I will sure bring it up again later, but now I need to say that we decided to take SPEED as the single most important focus in our further development. Latest changes in BoonEx.com, experience with other sites and clients requests show that speed is only getting more important despite improving internet connections and beefier servers. People just expect the web to be faster. More importantly, when/if we focus on speed, we make better choices in every other aspect - design, layout, usability, coding, security, etc. So, from now and on I pronounce SPEED as the mantra and the arch-challenge for BoonEx development and once we get "up to the speed" it will become Dolphin's main advantage.

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This is really, really, really awesome news. (Am I really the first to comment?)

Can wait to see the proof

Good You Boonex

Andrew Boon
Need more time to compare and test. For now, both LightSpeed and Nginx show clear advantage over Apache, but we need more data. There're some other options too, like lighthttpd and new ones, so it would take some time to have a clear answer.

This document covers MySQL and PHP optimization, web-server's optimization tips will be added right after 7.0.3 release.
Take your times guys

We don't wat people talking craps about boonex


Fantastic! this is by far the Greatest Version Ever Since Version 5 and also it means dolphinbugfixing.com is out of work by the time this version will came out LOL.

so far here at dolphinbugfixing.com we managed to optimized dolphin sites from version 6.x.x to 7.0.2, so in addition with eAccelerator and MemCached this will significantly improved performance.

@AlexT and @Andrew -- I think there was no mention about database query optimization because I think this is the area where resource see more hug is huge, like for example avoiding LEFT JOIN statement in the database queries.

It will be some optimization in MySQL queries too. I think most critical slow queries will be fixed, along with pruning for some tables.
This I assume, is going to make all the other sites on my server speed demons as well. I'll bet I even rocket along at 26 mph (fast for me) on my forty mile bike ride in the morning. Speed is good! I'll keep you posted at my dolphin site: http://celebratecycling.com in my blog tomorrow. I'm starting out with new specialized shoes that are too narrow for my wide feet. It could be painful. The salesman said the wider variety won't be available until October. And I could bring them back if they see more didn't fit after a few rides. I'm getting carried away, but if any of you enjoy cycling or would like to meet good looking people who do, feel free to come on over to http://celebratecycling.com and join as a free charter member. You can also suggest what I might do to make the site better. It sounds like I am going be buried in the server for a few day trying too get it straightened out. Pretty soon we will have our sites tuned up an spinning like tops.

Keep up the great work guys and gals, we appreciate it.
Nathan Paton
You guys need to update your recommended hosting list. According to AlexT, some of your providers (Arvixe) don't actually meet the proper server requirements.
It feeeeeeeeeeeels so gooooooood!

Currently I do not gave any complain from my members why the site is so fast :-)

I forwarded the recommandations to Gigapros (in case they haven't received it yet). I hope they will make adjustments asap so I can enjoy the speed of my site :-)
Magnussoft can you expand on Arvixe's deficiencies? My site, Historyofhomes.net is hosted with them and I have concerns. What server would you recommend?

Hmm... trident update dropped [ maybe ]
This seems very encouraging.. I was going to change hosts this weekend but I would like to know more about which set up is fastest...Any idea when you will have the necessary data to make a conclusive assessment?
I'm with Arvixe and my site is pretty fast now :-)
one more suggestion for future updates!

Categories in Avatar cos if I will upload more Avatars than I have now it gets to painful to look for the desired Avatar :-)
You were able to make the changes in your Arvixe dedicated server? I can't even find the sections referenced from the article in my WHM...
Well I see I was right about NO release in August. And I see no mention of it now, so assume we will get this much needed upgrade in Sept or Nov?
Also to let you know your edit button wont allow me to edit my post, it gives me a error.
In fairness to hosting providers they are not the reason why your site is slow. These are the questions you need to consider.

1) What is the maximum online users on your site? -- increase the number of mysql connection allowed and RAM maybe too.
2) Do you have several modules from different developers? -- chances are one of them is slowing your site.
3) How many members you have? -- consider adding additional hard drive, maybe a SAS drive then put the dolphin scripts in there.
4) Homepage see more very slow? -- reduced the number of blocks, add .htacesss gzip to compress output, or users not logged in used splash page.

I have more I'll try to add them soon hopefully this would help for the meantime.
This is recommendations list contains most of the things that we have discovered in our servers.
We have found a part in dolphin which makes dolphin slow. We are working on it to bring some change.
Thank you, good news.
I think you should try not to load the all site ? for example the header, footer and member menu must not be loaded every time the user navigate to another page, you must think about ajax solutions.

With all my respect, thank you boonex.

In fairness to hosting providers they are not the reason why your site is slow. These are the questions you need to consider.

1) What is the maximum online users on your site? -- increase the number of mysql connection allowed and RAM maybe too.
2) Do you have several modules from different developers? -- chances are one of them is slowing your site.
3) How many members you have? -- consider adding additional hard drive, maybe a SAS drive then put the dolphin scripts in there.
4) see more Homepage very slow? -- reduced the number of blocks, add .htacesss gzip to compress output, or users not logged in used splash page.

5) Running on Plesk Control Panel? -- try using Cpanel/WHM Instead.
6) Running on dedicated server / VPS just for Dolphin Script or just for your site? -- Try using PHP handler DSO its faster than PHPSuEXEC.
7) Running on 32Bit OS? -- Consider upgrading to 64bit it's much quicker but there are negligible draw back running 64bit not all scripts support it.

I have more I'll try to add them soon hopefully this would help for the meantime.
Only now everyone is an expert on it...
@cbassthefish...... kinda nauseating, isn't it.
I don't care whatever these "B..." says lol, fart if you want!
Nathan Paton
I actually discovered the cure for the common cold five years ago, but I'm going to wait to tell you all until Andrew makes a blog post about it.
This is a BIGGY, speed of the web site has so many catergories as for everyone is different, there hosting, the visitor to your sites internet connection and how much you have loading from your site or from others like ads aswell.

I am a old dolphin come back for a second time to see if i can get to grips with it all and dolphin has evolved from when i was here last some many years ago now and the speed testing is gonna be a Big Job with a ton of tweaking.

Great Stuff
I wonder if boonex will move to zend framework and smarty template engine.
Andrew Boon
not for D7. IN Trident we use our own full-blown framework and XSLT for templates. We tested smarty extensively and decided that XSLT is superior.
wow! i would truely love this... i have a kinda slow internet connection, this would surely be one of the best improvements..... SPEED! xD
Wow! Thanks so much for posting this info! I couldn't figure out how to do it on my own, so I asked Arvixe if they could do it for me, and within a few hours it was done and my site's speed increased! The server's load is down over 75% and my site's members have noticed! :) Hopefully with the new patch you'll be releasing soon, my members will start using the site more. Thank you so very much!

FYI: I have a dedicated server with Arvixe, one of the low end, servers. I'm thinking of upgrades, and see more if my site starts generating revenue, I'll definitely be upgrading soon..
Does the new eAccelerator cache option use the user cache that was recently removed? http://eaccelerator.net/wiki/Release-0.9.6 And is eA used in addition to memcache (if you use it) or is it one or the other?
I questioned Arvixe about implementing these recommendations... the answer I received was "Arvixe have no intention of implementing this at this time, and some of the recommendations can only be done on the VPS/Dedicated severs." I was given the advise to email support and ask if they would do it for me or not.
It all really depends on who you talk to at Arvixe. Try to get them to do it one stage at a time. That's what I did, Though I did do some of it myself too. Saying that, I can no longer access the Host Tools page in the admin panel. It throws up the "Profile not available for view" message.

tried it, done it all. Had dolphinbugfixing support and our Agent AntonLV too, improved a lot, site stopped crashing and no need to reboot server every day(!!!). We have a dedicated server, now with 4GB RAM, 1 drive with 250GB + 2 additional with 120 GB... only around 800 visitors day (no biggy), but still a mistery, when more than 40 users are online plus some guests (and these can not see photos, which is the more used feature, along with IM), the site stops...it does not crash but it stops see more for 10 minutes and then comes back to life (people disconnect and try again, we believe that is what gets it back to work)...and this with decreased wait_timeout parameter in MySql configuration to 3600...and SPY removed

Up til now the only reason we found for this and because we implemented in firewall a block to more than 400 concurrent IP connections, is that each user has such a huge amount of connections (we keep unblocking them during the day) that causes the site to gag...

Have posted this in foruns, but no help there...Any idea? Helppppp?

I think some of the cPanel processing are running for example Log Rotation and Backup this is normal, solution set this processing on off-peak time of your site.
>>>the site stops...it does not crash but it stops for 10 minutes and then comes back to life

@dolphingbugfixing - done it, thanks for the advice.

Went further and now have 8 GB RAM, guess what? Yes, it stalled again, and even after we removed IM, it stalled once again....so...


Hosting company keeps seing to many concurrent IP connections and believe they are DDoS'd and wnat to block them, but it is not, it's the IP of our approved users, which for some reason keep creating up to 1.000 connections!

Someone has some ideia where this can come from? We did not have this see more in D6, just in D7..
Hi @francisca_carv,

Finally your site is perfectly working now, wow it was a challenge I have to tweak several database queries to achieved performance.
hi, my sites were uploading so slow it was pathetic, so i took your advice, and found the in the perl modules, i did a search for MemCached. and on the list was catalyst. i installed it. and WOW, the sites are Fast. So, if you are an average person like me, and don't know much about the backend, like these pro's do, try catalyst, keep the window open for it to run while its installing. and it will install everything you need to get the site running fast. Takes a while to install, and you can watch see more it install all the other modules and files it needs. can scroll down, and watch it as its running. it will finally stop, after everything you need to make it faster. i love it. Thank you Andrew
I also want to mention as it installs catalyst, it might say looks good, it is still running. don't close till you see, install complete, and it stops.important i was using internet explorer, and can see at the top of the browser, that the little wheel spinning, shows its still installing, so when it stops, can check if it says complete.
Sounds awasome reads great. However im new to linux and the eaccelerator installation states easy to install? sounds like japaneze to me, il sort it though over time with some help but general good read.
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