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We have several sites running on one server. (CentOS, Hostgator "Elite") A few of the sites are fairly large and our main site is large enough that Google has indexed > 1,000,000 pages.

I complained to HG (I have a managed dedicated server) about some images not loading, even though they are present on the server. Refreshing the page will generally allow those images to load. It's not always the same images that fail, it's somewhat random. I've seen this happen on at least 3 of our sites on this server.

They suggested that I change my MPM Module to prefork because it handles memory a little differently

I found advice online to help me determine that my server is currently running worker.c.

Some of the images are being served through a php script that sends a jpg header and then does readfile($filename); to serve the images, but it's not just images from that script that I've seen the problem with.

Is the advice to switch to prefork a good idea? Is it likely to help with the issue I'm having?

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The Worker MPM is generally going to be much more efficient than Prefork (this is the "safest" and most widely support MPM, but also generally the slowest and least complex).

First question you need to ask is if resources are consumed or available. If the server is under minimal load (CPU, RAM, and IO in particular) then the problem is likely elsewhere. Randomly changing MPMs without significant justification is going to waste a lot of time.

I would not suggest changing software until you confirm there's a problem with your current setup. Nginx is very efficient, but also quite different from Apache httpd. You'll be investing a lot of time in setting that up, and it might not solve the problem (if the problem is outside your sever).

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You can't use php (at least as apache module) with worker anyway, only as cgi version. I will suggest to serve all static content with nginx, if it possible

  • -1 I wouldn't blindly suggest making such drastic changes without understanding more of the setup and problems he's actually facing. – Chris S Jul 23 '13 at 15:29

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