There is a new version of this tutorial available for Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa).

How to speed up apache with mod_pagespeed and Memcached on Ubuntu 16.04

This tutorial will show you how to improve the page load times of your website by using the Google mod_pagespeed module for Apache in conjunction with the fast in-memory cache Memcached on Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus). The page load time is an important factor to get good rankings in search engines, you can test the current load time e.g. with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool or with the developer tools in the Firefox web browser. Pagespeed is an Apache 2 module that optimizes and caches the content of a website before it gets delivered to the browser, the result is that the page loads, the system load on your server decreases and the server will be able to deliver more pages per second. Mod_pagespeed uses a filesystem cache by default, in this tutorial, we will replace the filesystem cache with Memcached, a fast in-memory caching daemon which will further improve the load time. This tutorial is compatible with all kind of apache setups, I will use a Ubuntu LAMP server as basis but you may also use on of the ISPConfig 3 Perfect Server tutorials.


Installation of mod_pagespeed

Google provides mod_pagespeed .deb packages for 32 and 64-bit Ubuntu installations.

How to find out if you need the 32bit or 64Bit package? Run the command:

uname -a

The result of the command should be similar to the screenshot below.

Output of the uname command on Ubuntu 16.04.

When the command contains the string "x86_64" then your system runs a 64Bit Linux kernel. In this case, use the commands provided below for 64Bit Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 64 bit (Default for most current servers)

cd /tmp
dpkg -i mod-pagespeed-stable_current_amd64.deb

Ubuntu 32 bit

cd /tmp
dpkg -i mod-pagespeed-stable_current_i386.deb

Then restart Apache 2 to load the mod_pagespeed configuration.

service apache2 restart


Installation of Memcached

The Memcached daemon is available in the Ubuntu repositories as .deb package and can be installed with apt:

apt-get -y install memcached

Run the command "netstat -tap | grep memcached" to see if Memcached is started:

netstat -tap | grep memcached

The result of the netstat command shall look like this:

Memcachd is active and running.

The Port is shown right after the word localhost. In this case, the port is 11211 which is the default port of Memcachedd. We need to know that port number for the mod_pagespeed configuration.

If you like to use Memcache from your PHP based applications and not just for mod_pagespeed, then install the PHP Memcached extension:

apt-get -y install php-memcached

Configure mod_pagespeed to use Memcached

Open the pagespeed.conf file in an editor, I will use the nano editor here:

nano /etc/apache2/mods-available/pagespeed.conf

and search for the line "ModPagespeedMemcachedServers":

# ModPagespeedMemcachedServers localhost:11211

Remove the # in front of the line so that the resulting line looks like the one below:

ModPagespeedMemcachedServers localhost:11211

If you have plenty of memory in your server, then you can get a further speedup by removing the # in front of this line:

ModPagespeedCreateSharedMemoryMetadataCache "/var/cache/mod_pagespeed/" 51200

Then restart the Apache 2 server to activate the new configuration.

service apache2 restart

Now mod_pagespeed will use Memcached as storage backend. You can get usage statistics from Memcached with the nc command:

echo stats | nc 11211
root@server1:/tmp# echo stats | nc 11211
STAT pid 2043
STAT uptime 177
STAT time 1461673050
STAT version 1.4.25 Ubuntu
STAT libevent 2.0.21-stable
STAT pointer_size 64
STAT rusage_user 0.008000
STAT rusage_system 0.036000
STAT curr_connections 11
STAT total_connections 12
STAT connection_structures 12
STAT reserved_fds 20
STAT cmd_get 224
STAT cmd_set 148
STAT cmd_flush 0
STAT cmd_touch 0
STAT get_hits 40
STAT get_misses 184
STAT delete_misses 0
STAT delete_hits 0
STAT incr_misses 0
STAT incr_hits 0
STAT decr_misses 0
STAT decr_hits 0
STAT cas_misses 0
STAT cas_hits 0
STAT cas_badval 0
STAT touch_hits 0
STAT touch_misses 0
STAT auth_cmds 0
STAT auth_errors 0
STAT bytes_read 357876
STAT bytes_written 180755
STAT limit_maxbytes 67108864
STAT accepting_conns 1
STAT listen_disabled_num 0
STAT time_in_listen_disabled_us 0
STAT threads 4
STAT conn_yields 0
STAT hash_power_level 16
STAT hash_bytes 524288
STAT hash_is_expanding 0
STAT malloc_fails 0
STAT bytes 327546
STAT curr_items 127
STAT total_items 148
STAT expired_unfetched 0
STAT evicted_unfetched 0
STAT evictions 0
STAT reclaimed 0
STAT crawler_reclaimed 0
STAT crawler_items_checked 0
STAT lrutail_reflocked 0

Now test the speed of your website again, e.g. with PageSpeed Insights. When your website has not much traffic yet then it might be that you have to reload the web page a few times to fill the caches before you get proper results.

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