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For my work, I need to set up an event website. The site will be up to 2 or 3 months during the campaign.

The site needs to be stable and have high availability, especially during the rush hours.

The site will probably not make use of server side scripts or databases, but it will contain animated flash content.

The visitors will come on the website directly by typing the url (from printed ads) and from web ads on high traffic websites (journals).

  • How do you handle this kind of set up?
  • How do you estimate the traffic?
  • How do you use this estimation to set up apache and which options will vary?
  • Is there something else I need to think about?

Thank you.

I've some basic skills with apache confs, but I never had to set up such website. Btw, I am a programmer not a sysadmin.

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  • outsourcing it


  • do it in-house, but do it well. ensure you have redundant internet connection, redundant hardware. instead of apache use one of agile webservers: lighthttpd or mathopd - they will handle high traffic much better.

i assume you'll be facing tens of requests per second or more. if you expect to have few views per minute - apache will be fine.

ps. as bgy suggests nginx can be also good alternative for apache.

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Thanks for pointing me lightttpd and mathopd (which i don't know) what about nginx ? i read somewhere that it was pretty fast at serving static files. Concerning the requests, it was part of my question. I just know that the web ads will be printed between 500,000 and 1,000,000 per days, which i know will don't send me so much visitors. but how I can estimate the requests per second ? – Boris Guéry Sep 22 '09 at 11:38
+1 for outsourcing it. The pitfalls are many, and the upsides to doing it yourself are few. Finding a reliable provider is hard, but doing this yourself successfully is even harder. – womble Sep 22 '09 at 12:29
@bgy - right, i forgot about nginx.. mathopd is my favorite one.. small, flexible. servs terabytes of static content per month for me without problem for last 3 years. – pQd Sep 22 '09 at 13:31
If you're doing it yourself, use whatever webserver you know. Yes, nginx/litgtttpd are pretty cool, but you're better off with something you know, if you do need to scale it. – Cian Sep 22 '09 at 22:01

How many visitors do you expect? 10, 10.000 or 10 milion! This makes a huge difference in whatever options you may have. For anything below 1000 at the same time. One server will do. But showing Flash will make it heavy on bandwith.

Ask your internet/hosting provider about options. Usually they have setups for these kinds of questions.

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It's a part of my question, how can I estimate this known there will be between 500,000 and 1,000,000 views per days for the ads (web), and maybe a ratio of 5/10%. So there will be something like from 25,000 to 100,000 visitors each days, is it right ? – Boris Guéry Sep 22 '09 at 15:04
That still is an assumption! ;) Are those all from the same timezone? Meaning they will log in at the same hours? My ISP offers emmediate scaling on some websites when demand rises. Your website will be run behind a load balancer who just adds Virtual machines with the same website on a different server balancing hard loads... – Sniek NL Sep 23 '09 at 10:12

Just a few thoughts about it - ignoring the outsourcing thingy :)

  • Use a loadbalancer (like pen or something) rather than DNS-RR. If you need to add more servers, it can be done in no time. No need for a lot of IPs and low DNS-TTLs.
  • Use a shared storage like iSCSI or NFS (look at FreeNAS). Same contents on all servers.
  • Enable compression for text files
  • Force static contents to be served via HTTP 1.0 rather than 1.1
  • Pull images and other static stuff from a separate server (-farm)
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As a load balancer, I'd advise pound. – Cian Sep 22 '09 at 22:02

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