LayerOnline: Need For Speed – Google loves it fast

Professional bloggers and webmasters know that nowadays having good content on a website is not good enough to rank high in Google and other search engines. The ranking is also determined by the loading speed of your website. The faster the better. The loading speed also directly determines the cost of CPC for your AdWords campaigns. No matter how good your content is, if your landing page loads slowly, it would directly be taxed on your CPC. Therefore, SEO experts, bloggers and webmasters are constantly looking for faster web hostings. Unfortunately, many hosting companies are unable to meet the need for their users. Their web services are often overloaded or down, left alone fast web hosting. That’s where LayerOnline comes in. Now, bloggers and webmasters are able to gain an unfair advantage in website speed with LayerOnline.

LayerOnline web hosting was designed from the ground up to be digg, slashdot and stumbleupon effect ready. We understand the needs for speed and uptime of website users. Our web hosting is able to outperform our competitors by 60 times or more, and able to maintain 100% uptime even under digg effect. How do we do it? In this article we will explain some of the technologies we use.

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Web Hosting

Under the Hood

LayerOnline uses many optimization technologies, the most noticeable ones are FastCGI, PHP Opcode Cache, and HTTP Compression. We also offer many features such as free DDOS-Protection, unlimited inodes and we are one of the greenest hosting companies.

FastCGI

There are three ways of serving PHP webpages under Apache Web Server:

  • CGI/suPHP
  • Apache PHP Module
  • FastCGI

With CGI/suPHP method, a PHP process is called each time a php page is hit, and quit after the page is served. This means for each php page hit, it requires one PHP process. Each PHP process takes quite a bit of memory and is slow to initialize. The constant running and quitting of PHP processes also stress the server, making it slower. The CGI method doesn’t scale well since if there are 100 page requests at the same time, there would be 100 PHP processes running, and 1000 PHP processes if there are 1000 page requests, which will soon cause memory errors and eventually bring down the server. With PHP running as an Apache module, there is only one PHP engine per Apache process, so no need to run another PHP process, hence saving some memory. However, there are also issues with this approach. Some PHP extensions are not made to be thread-safe and can cause problem in this setup, also if the PHP engine crashes, it would bring down the entire Apache web server because it is part of the Apache process. Running PHP as a module also means that if Apache is serving a long PHP request, it cannot serve other HTTP requests. Also if you don’t have any PHP-based websites, you still need to load the PHP module in each Apache process, wasting memory.

FastCGI solves both problems of CGI/suPHP and Apache PHP module. FastCGI serves PHP pages from a PHP application server seperated from Apache. Apache serves all regular HTTP requests and passes all PHP requests to the application server. This setup is the most efficient since FastCGI process is always alive and ready to serve, offload the heavylifting work from Apache. Therefore in this setup, Apache server is more stable, uses less memory and can serve more HTTP requests faster. This is the method which LayerOnline uses.

Unfortunately, most hosting companies are still in the CGI/suPHP era, because FastCGI is expensive and complicate to setup. Since the CGI/suPHP solution doesn’t scale well, to prevent the servers from overloading and crashing, these hosting companies need to quickly suspend users with the most PHP processes during peak load, cause loss of money and troubles for the website users.

If you like to see some benchmark numbers for FastCGI, you can check out Brandon’s blog.

PHP Opcode Cache

Each PHP page must be compiled into machine code before it can be executed. This compiled binary is also known as the opcode. Without a PHP opcode cache, the compiled binary is simply discarded after execution, and must be recompiled for each page hit, resulting in wasted CPU cycles. There are three main opcode caches in PHP world: Eaccelerator, APC and XCache. LayerOnline supports all three. In LayerOnline’s setup, Eaccelerator is loaded by default, APC and XCache are loaded on-demand by the applications. These opcode caches are compatible and can accelerate all PHP applications. For popular PHP applications such as WordPress and Drupal, they go even further by detecting and integrating opcode cache’s APIs to accelerate many of their internal functions.

HTTP Compression

All major web browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Opera support HTTP compression which can download web pages at up to 90% faster. However, the web server must support this technology. There are two types of HTTP compression methods: gzip and deflate. LayerOnline support both of them. Many popular PHP applications are able to make use of this technology and therefore able to send the web pages at a much faster rate. LayerOnline servers also cache all the cacheable compressed pages in memory so no CPU cycles are wasted.

The Result

So, do all these speed optimizations really improve ranking? Do they really pay off? If they are as good as LayerOnline claims to be, how well do they do for LayerOnline’s own search engine rankings? Does LayerOnline really offer the fastest blog hosting? Well, check out our ranking with the following keywords in Google, Bing and Yahoo:

fastest blog hosting

fastest forum hosting

fastest php hosting

fastest web hosting

fastest wordpress hosting

fastest joomla hosting

fastest drupal hosting

fastest phpbb hosting

fastest vbulletin hosting

fastest ffmpeg hosting

fastest green hosting

fastest <keyword> hosting…

Try your favorite search keywords relate to hosting above, chances are LayerOnline is either 1st position or within the first page. Wait, there is more, try some search phrases related to hosting speed, reliability and features, such as:

highest performance <keyword> hosting

fastest <keyword> webhost

100% uptime <keyword> hosting

green hosting <keyword>

reliable <keyword> hosting 100% uptime

ffmpeg hosting <keyword>

free ddos protection <keyword> hosting

You can probably come up with hundreds of them, too many to list here. That’s one page against millions of keyword optimized homepages and subpages, and those hosting companies with higher page rankings. Not bad is it? So what Google has to say about LayerOnline? Try these searches:

fastest reliable <keyword> hosting

cheapest fastest <keyword> hosting

cheapest fastest reliable <keyword> hosting

world’s cheapest fastest reliable <keyword> hosting

So there you go, according to Google, LayerOnline is world’s cheapest, fastest and most reliable blog/web hosting. Well, with less than $2/month and $6.99 domain names, FastCGI, 100% uptime guarantee and all the fantastic features, you be the judge.