Sites that show up quickly on a user's screen tend to keep the user's attention for longer and also rank better in Google. So when listening to the excellent Lullabot Podcast 80: Top 40 Drupal Modules Revisited
I was caught by Drupal experts stating that Memcache would even speed up your site if it's not a high traffic site. It could off-load the database. I decided to give it a try on a relatively low traffic site of one of my clients
. The site is already being served by nginx so the load times are already pretty good.
When setting up the experimentation I was a bit confused by the thorough but chaotic instruction
to set up memcache. I ran into a problem setting up PECL memcache:
$ sudo pecl install memcache
downloading memcache-2.2.5.tgz ...
Starting to download memcache-2.2.5.tgz (35,981 bytes)
..........done: 35,981 bytes
11 source files, building
PHP Api Version: 20041225
Zend Module Api No: 20060613
Zend Extension Api No: 220060519
shtool at '/tmp/pear/temp/memcache/build/shtool' does not exist or is not executable.
Make sure that the file exists and is executable and then rerun this script.
ERROR: `phpize' failed
Since I run Debian I solved this by running
apt-get install php5-memcache
I restarted php-fastcgi (needed for nginx) and added
Then I ran some tests in Hammerhead
. Not on the front page since there is an embedded Youtube video. I chose a page without any external elements. I was a bit confused at first, and ran several short tests. I forgot to log out and the memcache module was adding a lot of extra information in the bottom. I thought that was the reason that my site was a lot slower with memcache than without it. So I logged out and tried again:
|empty cache with memcache
|primed cache with memcache
|empty cache without memcache
|primed cache without memcache
It could be that I'd have to tweak some memcache settings, or run longer tests, but I think these numbers are clear enough: memcache made my site slower instead of faster!