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From Graham Leggett <>
Subject Re: Fast by default
Date Tue, 01 Jun 2010 09:38:48 GMT
On 01 Jun 2010, at 2:30 AM, Bryan McQuade wrote:

> I had a conversation with a well known hosting provider recently and
> they told me they use the default Apache configuration for their
> shared hosting service. When I asked if they provide gzip as an option
> for their users, they said no, since it was not enabled by default.
> When I explained to them that enabling gzip has significant benefits
> for end users they were very interested in turning on gzip. This
> company just used the default Apache config, assuming that it was
> reasonably well tuned by default. You can claim that they're making
> bad, uninformed decisions, or whatever you want to, but the fact
> remains: some Apache users assume that the default config is a
> reasonably good config, and use it as-is.

The very definition of "tuned" means "tailored for your local setup".

The default httpd configuration works reasonably well out the box. It  
is only when your site has special needs that it should start changing  
the setup, and the site should understand what their needs are and  
whether it is appropriate to turn it on.

Zooming into mod_deflate, mod_deflate only makes sense if you have the  
CPU to support it. If you don't have enough CPU support (think  
virtualised hosts), mod_deflate will be a performance drag, not a  
boost. Typically, you would want to front a mod_deflate with an HTTP  
cache, such as mod_cache (or equivalent). Here mod_cache only makes  
sense if you have the disk space to support it, and there is no real  
one-size-fits-all cache setup.

The next problem is that you only want to enable mod_deflate on  
compressible content - that means "not images" for most people, but  
might not be. Again, not every site has the same content, and  
therefore not every site has the same setup for mod_delate.

This said, our default config is 15 years old, and attempts to disable  
deflate for browsers that don't support it, like "Netscape 4". Unless  
there are modern browsers that have broken protocol support for  
transfer encoding, these obsolete examples need to be removed.


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