Everyone needs faster websites that load in split seconds.

At times, when website traffic goes high, PHP handlers like mod_PHP may not be able to handle the request efficiently.

There comes the role of PHP-FastCGI Process Manager (PHP-FPM), an advanced & highly efficient processor. PHP FPM works with a modern process-oriented approach and works 350 times better than other PHP handlers.

At Bobcares, we often get requests from our customers to increase the website speed by using PHP FPM as part of our Server Management Services.

Today, we’ll see how our Support Engineers discuss the benefits of PHP FPM & how they boost up website performance.

Understanding PHP FPM

Firstly, let’s have a quick look at the features of PHP FPM.

PHP FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative for conventional PHP implementation.

Basically, PHP-FPM relies on the concept of pool management. Each pool of PHP-FPM works as a full instance of PHP, having a configuration, limit, and restrictions of its own.

The pool of PHP processes also called workers receive and serve requests to execute PHP files from the web directory. Again, FPM can run multiple separate pools each with its own identity too.

By default, mod_PHP locks out processes and disrupts the performance of a website. This becomes a major drawback for conventional PHP websites. And, PHP FPM easily overcomes this demerit.

Benefits of PHP FPM

Let’s see the benefits of PHP FPM & how it helps to improve website performance.

Some of the benefits that our Support Engineers see in PHP FPM are listed below.

1. A new way of process handling

Fortunately, PHP-FPM provides a new method of handling requests.  PHP-FPM maintains pools, workers that can respond to PHP requests. When the webserver has a request, FastCGI connection forwards the request to the PHP-FPM service.

PHP-FPM then compiles and executes the PHP script, sending the output back to the webserver and waits for new requests.

Processing PHP scripts in this way allows for much higher processing performance. In effect, it makes the website loading faster.

2. Opcode caching

Another advantage of using PHP FPM is the ability to use opcode caching for PHP scripts.

PHP-FPM can serve more traffic by enabling opcode caching. When a request comes for the PHP script, PHP-FPM quickly checks for cached copies & process the request.

This method saves time & improves resource efficiency.

3. Do not overload

PHP-FPM is faster than traditional CGI-based methods, such as SUPHP, for multi-user PHP environments. It does not overload a system’s memory with PHP from Apache processes as ruid2+php-dso does.

This method is useful when a user receives extra traffic that requires resources to process it.

For example, this feature becomes a boon when your website receives a traffic spike after a marketing campaign. Again, popular websites make use of this feature during any special event.

4. Additional security

Similarly, PHP-FPM provides additional security. To accomplish this, the server’s main PHP configuration file should have the following values set to true:

opcache.validate_root = true
opcache.validate_permission = true

These settings provide an additional layer of restriction that can prevent users from obtaining access to other users’ opcode caches.

These concerns apply primarily to multi-tenant hosting environments configured to provide a secure platform with PHP-FPM.

5. Highly configurable

Furthermore, PHP-FPM provides more configuration options than other PHP handlers. These configuration options can be set for each website on the server.

Proper configuration of PHP-FPM provides the best performance for website visitors also ensures a safe and secure environment.

For example, we can tune PHP-FPM settings in WHM’s MultiPHP Manager interface by navigating to WHM > Home > Software > MultiPHP Manager.

This is how it looks.

Here’s an example of PHP FPM status on one of the servers that we manage:

[root@xx ~]# service ea-php70-php-fpm.service status
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl status ea-php70-php-fpm.service
● ea-php70-php-fpm.service - The PHP FastCGI Process Manager
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/ea-php70-php-fpm.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2019-01-09 13:59:50 xxx; 2h 40min ago
 Main PID: 203156 (php-fpm)
   Status: "Processes active: 0, idle: 0, Requests: 16, slow: 0, Traffic: 0req/sec"
   CGroup: /system.slice/ea-php70-php-fpm.service
           └─203156 php-fpm: master process (/opt/cpanel/ea-php70/root/etc/php-fpm.conf)

[Having trouble with PHP-FPM settings? We’ll fix it for you.]

Conclusion

To be more precise, PHP-FPM is an alternative efficient method for websites with heavy traffic. Today, we saw the top PHP FPM advantages and how our Support Engineers tweak PHP FPM settings to increase website speed.

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