Do you support FastCGI and eAccelerator?

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Our servers support the FastCGI protocol to speed up scripts for busy sites. FastCGI provides a way to keep frequently-run script files loaded in memory so that the script is already preloaded and initialized the next time it's used.

This can make some scripts (particularly PHP scripts) run much more quickly. For example, a simple "Hello World" PHP script can run more than 1000 times a second using FastCGI (compared to 20 times per second without). In most cases, using FastCGI for PHP scripts is as fast as using mod_php, without the security drawbacks.

For new accounts, we use FastCGI by default for PHP scripts. You can use our “My Account” control panel to enable or disable FastCGI:

The rest of this page has more information about FastCGI and eAccelerator:

Disabling FastCGI for certain directories

We recommend FastCGI for all PHP scripts. However, a very small handful of very old PHP scripts don't work properly with FastCGI.

If you want to use FastCGI for most of your PHP scripts, but you also have one or more individual directories containing scripts that need to be run without FastCGI, you can disable FastCGI for an entire directory. To do that, add this line to a .htaccess file in the directory:

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .php

This tells Apache to run PHP scripts in that directory without FastCGI.

Using custom FastCGI programs

To use a custom FastCGI program (i.e., not a PHP script), install it like any other compiled script, but make sure that the name ends with ".fcgi" instead of the normal ".cgi".

For example, you might install a FastCGI program named "program.fcgi" in your cgi-bin folder, and it would then be accessible as:

http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/program.fcgi

Alternately, you can force a ".cgi" file to be run under FastCGI with this .htaccess file line:

AddHandler fastcgi-script .cgi

(This only works if the CGI script has been coded to support FastCGI, of course.)

Which FastCGI module is installed?

We use mod_fcgid with some custom modifications. We've found mod_fcgid to be superior to the alternative mod_fastcgi — in particular, mod_fcgid works properly with dynamically launched PHP scripts, but mod_fastcgi does not. Also, mod_fcgid is the module recommended in the Ruby on Rails documentation.

In practice, users should notice no difference between the two modules. Properly written FastCGI applications will work with either mod_fastcgi or mod_fcgid.

eAccelerator

For versions of PHP before 5.5, you can use the eAccelerator PHP “opcode cache” to further speed up PHP scripts. (PHP 5.5 and later has a built-in opcode cache.)

Using eAccelerator can improve the speed of a complicated script like WordPress for busy sites (although it makes your scripts use a little more memory and disk space, too). You may want to experiment to see whether enabling it helps your site.

As with FastCGI, you can enable or disable eAccelerator using our “My Account” control panel: