in Crash Course, Performance, Security

Stable FastCGI configuration on a cPanel Apache shared or dedicated server

A default installation of FastCGI on cPanel server is dangerously simple. It’s dangerous because one cPanel account (or one vhost) is capable of crashing down a whole server if, say, traffic were to spike up. It’s also simple because it won’t allow complex scripts to run cleanly. In brief, it’s absolutely not ready for production as-is. In this post, I’ll go over what it takes to configure FastCGI on a cPanel node properly.


Did you know?

UNIXy is a fully managed server and cluster provider. What this means is we don’t expect you to know anything about servers or server management. The good news is it doesn’t cost you extra to have us manage your UNIXy server! Get in touch with us here to get the ball rolling!

Before you continue reading, be sure to have FastCGI up and running as the PHP handler on your cPanel server. The installation of FastCGI is covered in the online cPanel documentation. From here on now, I’ll assume you’re ready to add the settings for FastCGI.

The following is a list of settings that you need to add to /etc/httpd/conf/php.conf upon switching to FastCGI:

MaxRequestsPerProcess 1000
FcgidMaxProcesses 200
FcgidProcessLifeTime 7200
MaxProcessCount 500
FcgidIOTimeout 400
FcgidIdleTimeout 600
FcgidIdleScanInterval 90
FcgidBusyTimeout 300
FcgidBusyScanInterval 80
ErrorScanInterval 3
ZombieScanInterval 3
DefaultMinClassProcessCount 0
DefaultMaxClassProcessCount 3
MaxRequestLen 20468982

You’re more likely to adjust the settings in bold above. DefaultMinClassProcessCount 0 instructs FastCGI to keep zero PHP processes running for user when traffic is idle (cPanel account user) . On the other hand, DefaultMaxClassProcessCount 3 tells FastCGI to never allow more than 3 PHP processes running at a time. This settings prevents one users from crashing the server were they to receive a lot of traffic.

So go ahead and copy/paste the above into your httpd.conf and restart Apache (service httpd restart). You’re good to go now! For greater performance, be sure to check out our Varnish plugin. Whether you’re running suPHP, FastCGI, or even DSO (mod_php), Varnish will make your website load much faster.

That’s all folks!