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Linode's guide to hosting a website suggests these Apache settings:

<IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
StartServers 1
MinSpareServers 3
MaxSpareServers 6
MaxClients 24
MaxRequestsPerChild 3000

The explanation given is:

You've successfully optimized Apache for your Linode, increasing performance and implementing safeguards to prevent excessive resource consumption. You're almost ready to host websites with Apache.

My question is: do these settings really increase performance -- and if so, how -- or just limit resource consumption -- or both?

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Well, running out of RAM because the default MaxClients is something insane certainly doesn't help performance. – ceejayoz Sep 14 '12 at 2:04
@ceejayoz -- thanks. The default MaxClients in my install is 150. Is that way too high? – Ghopper21 Sep 14 '12 at 3:24
Depends how much RAM you have, and how much RAM your average Apache process uses. If you have 512 MB of RAM and the average Apache worker takes up 10 MB of RAM, ~50 is going to be your realistic limit (assuming, of course, that other processes aren't also using RAM up). – ceejayoz Sep 14 '12 at 13:40
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No performance increase just simply limiting resource consumption.

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Please consider expanding your answer (What do the directives do? Why would you use them? Why wouldn't you use them?) - While this technically answers the question it doesn't do too much for a user whose experience level leads them to ask this sort of question. – voretaq7 Sep 14 '12 at 13:15

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