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From Jerome Renard <jerome.ren...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Fast by default
Date Tue, 01 Jun 2010 05:19:09 GMT
Hi Bryan,

On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 2:30 AM, Bryan McQuade <bmcquade@google.com> 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.

I already got that kind of discussion with either hosting providers or people
in the hosting team of some big websites. The answer is the same as
you described.
They just install the Apache package for their distribution and that's
it, they do not
even think about tuning httpd.conf a bit because they think "it just
works fine" by default.

>
> There are two classes of users out there: power users that want to
> tune every knob manually, and typical users that just want Apache to
> work out of the box. Apache developers on this list are part of the
> former group, which I assume is why the default Apache config is very
> simple. It's designed by power users, for power users.
>
> But there are non-power users out there. It would be nice if the
> Apache community provided configuration hints for these users.
>
> In 2010, IMO there is no good reason to have gzip disabled by default.
> Almost all websites enable it. There are a handful of prominent
> websites that do not. I've had conversations with a few of these
> sites. Most of them have not turned it on because they don't
> understand what it does, not because they don't have enough CPU. gzip
> has been used on the web now for well over 10 years. Only *very* old
> browsers, proxies, etc don't have perfect support for gzip.

I remember having a lot of troubles with some combinations of Squid +
IE (6 or so) where the compressed
content was just never gunziped. Was I the only one to get such problems ?

>
> I can respect that the default httpd.conf is designed to be simple and
> minimalist. But it would be helpful to have an additional example
> configuration in svn trunk and as part of Apache releases, that enable
> things like mod_deflate. The current comments in httpd.conf explain
> that there are additional directives and "you have been warned" but
> IMO this is not very helpful or specific. We can do better.
>
> I propose providing an additional httpd.conf in the svn trunk and as
> part of future Apache releases that enables modules and directives
> that are commonly recommended on Apache performance tuning websites.
> This includes mod_deflate, mod_expires, etc. This will allow power
> users to continue to start with the current httpd.conf while typical
> users can just use the well optimized configuration.

I love the idea. A httpd.conf-RECOMMENDED file would be really helpful to a lot
of users. Another idea would be to provide a script that analyzes the current
httpd.conf and could propose suggestions on how to improve it like "The value
for directive XXX is too high/low you should consider doing bla bla bla bla".
Since providing auto generated solutions can be bad sometimes such a script
should be link to a documentation page explaining advantages and drawbacks
of each advice so people can make decision that is best for them. What
do you think ?

Best Regards

--
Jérôme

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