Recently I signed up for a VPS plan hoping to try out my hands at managing my own server. Plus I wanted to use a PHP opcode cache like XCache or eAccelerator.
PHP being an interpreted language, is compiled into bytecode each time it runs. This repeated compilation wastes a lot of resources especially if the scripts don’t change very often. Opcode caches or PHP accelerators, store these compiled bytecodes into memory or on files. That is, they cache the bytecodes. Next time the script runs, it does not have to go though compilation step and the cached bytecodes are used instead. This offers tremendous performance improvements. Native PHP is no laggard, but with an opcode cache, its blazingly fast.
But VPS market appears to be more hype than substance. You will need at least 256MB RAM to get Apache and MySQL run comfortably. And if you plan to run a FTP, mail and DNS servers also, another 128MB RAM will be needed.
At these specs, VPS rates come very close entry level dedicated servers. Of course, VPS hosting has some benefits over a low level dedicated servers. VPS is more likely to be running on a better hardware than a entry level dedicated server. Additionally, in most cases, the VPS provider will provide a security hardened operating system and will also reinstall the OS if needed.
PHP opcode caching on shared hosting
After giving up on VPS, I set out to search for a shared hosting provider which offered accelerated PHP hosting. Surprisingly, I found only three hosts which offered PHP accelerators. And only one of these three came up in Google.
So in case someone wants to host their PHP website on accelerated PHP server, try out one the following hosts:
Please note, I have not yet personally used their services so can’t comment on the quality of their services. All three use eAccelerator.