PHP is the most popular scripting language used for general purposes. It is an open-source language that is widely employed for web development and it can be easily embedded into HTML. PHP supports almost all major OS (operating systems) that include Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, RISC OS and a few others. Majority of the web servers are also supported by PHP, including Apache, IIS and others. PHP works as either a CHI processor or a module.
Users and developers usually face the issue of poor speed of their PHP applications. Numerous factors are associated with this problem but you got a simple way out within your reach. You can simply install a PHP accelerator to boost up the speed of your PHP application. Now the question arises: What actually is a PHP accelerator? Let’s find out.
What is a PHP Accelerator?
The term “PHP accelerator” refers to a PHP extension that improves the performance and speed of your PHP applications with the help of caching process. It caches the PHP scripts present in the accumulated form in order to forgo the overhead of compiling and parsing the PHP code that takes place every moment when a page loads.
In simpler terms, we can say that every time you visit a page, PHP compiles the bytecode of PHP scripts code in a Machine Readable language before it is executed. This increases the page load time on each visit. Having an Opcode cache eliminates the repetitive compiling process by caching the code. This cached code is then directly executed from the shared memory on each visit from where it is stored, saving the time and computing power together.
Why Is It Needed?
- Boosts the Speed of PHP Application
A PHP accelerator usually diminishes the server load that leads to an increased PHP code’s speed up to 10 times. These accelerators are available in the form of PHP extensions that are simple to install.
- Perfect for Sites Hosted on Cloud
A PHP accelerator manages the caching system of the PHP sites hosted on cloud servers very efficiently.
- Saves Money on Disk I/O
Another great benefit that a PHP accelerator offers is associated with the economic factor. It saves a reasonable amount of money on Disk I/O that’s usually being billed in the name of “compute cycle”.
The Most Popular PHP Accelerator
However, in this post we are going to highlight the features and offerings of APC (Alternative PHP Cache) and will tell our readers why it is the most recommended PHP accelerator extension.
APC (Alternative PHP Cache)
APC is an acronym for ‘Alternative PHP Cache’ that is a PHP extension or plug-in. It is an open-source caching plug-in that accelerates the speed of PHP applications. Once you install APC on your server, it will optimize your PHP script executions making it run more efficiently by killing down repetitive dynamic PHP executions.
What Makes It Worth An Installation?
There are multiple reasons that make the installation of APC an essential one for the PHP developers and users. The foremost reason is the time it takes for parsing and compiling of PHP code during PHP scripts execution. This is due to the fact that PHP is a dynamic scripting language that must be parsed and compiled by the server for every time when a page is loaded.
PHP is perfect for the web pages carrying the content that is updated on a continuous basis as every visitor gets to view a fresh page. This will increase the server load time due to repetitive PHP execution processes. APC cuts down the parsing and compiling steps by caching the PHP scripts, thus reducing the server load and boosting the PHP site performance.
How to install and Configure APC
APC is the most popular and free opcode cache plugin that is available on myriad locations over the internet. You can get the full source by following this link: http://pecl.php.net/package/APC. The next phase is the configuration of APC that often turns out to be a tricky one as the process is not similar for different operating systems and servers.
Since majority of the people in this world use Windows Operating System on their computers; therefore, we will present a step-to-step guide for the configuration of APC on Windows.
Once you install the full source from the above given link, you just need to follow the below mentioned configuration steps:
- Initially, you are required to setup WAMPServer on a specific location.
- In the next step, you need to copy php_apc.dll to the ext directory.
- Now, launch the initialization (php.ini) file from the pre-defined location. Alternately, you may take the following path as well.
- Now, add the below mentioned lines at the end of the file that you just launched. (apc.enabled = 1) (apc.stat = 1)
- Click ‘Save’ and close the initialization file.
- Now go back to the location and relaunch the WAMP web server.
- The next step is to copy the file apc.php from the archive APC-3.1.14.tgz, once you have successfully extracted the files. Then paste the file in the folder that you can access from the web server.
- Launch the web browser that you use and type: http://localhost/apc.php. This finishes the configuration process and now you can experience the boost in the performance of your PHP applications.
PHP accelerator plug-ins have emerged as the must have tool for PHP developers and users. With this post, we have tried to make our readers aware of the amazing benefits they can have with a PHP accelerator. There are numerous plugins available in the market but APC is the most popular tool among all. For this reason, we have explained the installation and configuration process of this particular extension (APC).
In near future, we aim to come up with a detailed comparison between three of the most popular PHP accelerator extensions, namely APC, eaccelerator and xcache that will surely benefit our readers greatly. So stay tuned to get your hands on some more knowledge-gaining stuff with Cloudreviews.