Image Blog Ten Ways Zend Server Boosts Performance
April 9, 2019

10 Ways to Boost Performance With Zend Server

Zend Server

Want to improve user experience? This blog provides 10 steps you can take to increase PHP performance via ongoing PHP tuning and other strategies. 

#1. Upgrading to PHP 7.x

If you’re still running applications on PHP 5.6, upgrading to PHP 7.3 or PHP 7.4 will significantly speed performance. For example, upgrading a PHP 5.6 application to PHP 7.3 typically doubles or triples application performance. Organizations are also reporting measurable performance gains by upgrading applications from PHP 7.3 to PHP 7.4.

For more information, you can read about the new features in PHP 7.4 and how to upgrade your PHP applications.

#2. Choosing the Right PHP Debugger

PHP tuning is easier when you have detailed insight into application code, including metrics about page load times, database queries, and other potential bottlenecks. Zend Server includes the industry-leading PHP debugger, Z-Ray. With it, you can left-shift PHP tuning, so you can identify and resolve issues before they can impact user experience. 

For example, with Z-Ray, you can: 

  • Drill down into metrics about PHP page requests and database queries. 
  • Tune PHP performance in real-time, without impacting user experience.
  • Define automated alerts so you are immediately notified of issues.
  • View and record live user sessions, so you can see exactly what your users see.
  • Analyze performance metrics for one or more pages.

# 3. Use Asynchronous PHP

PHP was originally developed to support synchronous code that completes one task at a time, in sequential steps. However, PHP — and other languages — have evolved to support asynchronous PHP code, which enables the completion of more than one task at a time. 

You can dramatically boost performance by using asynchronous PHP instead of synchronous PHP. In some benchmarks, PHP application throughput increases by 100 times, by enabling asynchronous PHP via Swoole, instead of using a process accelerator such as php-fpm with synchronous code. Learn more about asynchronous PHP.

#4. Take Advantage of Code Tracing

Uncovering bottlenecks is critical for increasing application speed. However, to resolve them, a developer needs to know which lines of code need to be rewritten. Zend Server provides a Code Tracing tool that is like an aircraft black box for PHP applications. It records and plays back the execution history of your PHP applications so you can:

  • See every step an application takes and its outcomes, including function calls, arguments, return values, memory usage, and execution times.
  • Analyze event workflows.
  • View the call tree for a specific event or trace file.
  • See how many times a specific type of event occurred, along with details that help with troubleshooting.

In addition, you can:

  • Manually initiate a code trace at any time.
  • Configure Code Tracing to trigger automatically when specific types of issues occur such as high-memory usage or response times that fall below a specific value.

#5. Use Automated Monitoring and Expert Services

You can increase application speed via ongoing PHP tuning. However, PHP tuning is easier when you pinpoint where improvements are needed. It's also helpful to be able to instantly measure the effect of code and configuration changes.

Get the real-time PHP application insights you need to simplify PHP tuning by using Zend Server’s URL Insights tool. It can continually monitor your PHP applications and websites, and provide real-time insights about traffic and performance, including:

  • Metrics for all URLs.
  • Application response times for all requests and database queries.
  • User response times for all requests and database queries.
  • Summaries such as most popular URLs, and requests with the longest response times.
  • Insights and metrics specific to the IBM i platform.

In addition, you can take advantage of the Performance Audit Service from Zend to get expert analysis and recommendations for improving your PHP:

  • Architecture
  • Code
  • Application stability
  • Automation

#6. Use Caching 

You can increase application speed by caching specific pages and data types. Caching pages eliminates unnecessary page loading — such as when the same file is used to redirect to several pages. When it is impractical or impossible to cache the entire page output, you can use data caching. 

Using tools in Zend Server, you can easily cache:

  • PHP scripts and script elements including sections where script is fully dynamic.
  • Strings, arrays, objects, and other data types including form-field data such as credit card numbers and addresses.
  • Bytecode using the OPcache PHP extension.

You can also specify where you want data cached, such as in shared memory, on disk, or in namespaces — when you use Zend Server. 

#7. Monitor and Schedule Jobs

Being able to control when certain types of application jobs run can be extremely useful for maintaining real-time performance during peak usage times. For example, if you have an e-commerce store with a catalog that needs to be periodically re-indexed, you can schedule this process to run overnight.

You can schedule offline asynchronous processing of tasks and activities, using a tool called Job Queue in Zend Server. This includes being able to:

  • Delay execution of CPU-intensive tasks.
  • Manage batch jobs, including their status, execution time, and output.
  • Schedule jobs based on time, priorities, and dependencies.
  • Monitor run-time statistics.

#8. Use Session Clustering 

Unpredictable spikes in traffic can dramatically slow down performance, unless you use clustering technologies that flex to support changes in demand. However, clusters can be challenging to setup and manage.

Zend Server provides a Session Clustering tool that can help improve application performance, ensure application uptime, and save time. With it, you can:

  • Simplify the setup and management of PHP clusters.
  • Improve load balancing across your clusters, so users enjoy consistently fast response times.
  • Minimize the number of servers in addition to your front-end web servers.

#9. Choose the Right Web Server

As a PHP application server, Zend Server works closely with a web server to rapidly process application requests. Which web server you choose is critical for ensuring the best possible performance.

Modern web servers such as NGINX and Apache, deliver built-in capabilities that accelerate performance including load balancing and caching. Zend Server works seamlessly with these and other web servers. Zend Server also supports automated setup of PHP on NGINX and Apache, saving you more time. 

#10. Use ZendPHP

Optimum application performance requires PHP runtimes that include bug fixes and security patches. However, the community only provides comprehensive support for runtimes for two years after their initial release.

You can boost the performance of your PHP applications by using ZendPHP, the certified and secured PHP stack that comes with Zend Server. ZendPHP provides:

  • Your choice of PHP 5.6 through PHP 7.3 runtimes.
  • Mission-critical support with 2-hour SLAs.
  • Security enhancements.
  • Automated PHP runtime updates — for security vulnerabilities and bug fixes.
  • Consultative guidance by certified PHP experts.

Try Zend Server for Free 

Want to try Zend Server for free for 30 days, and see how you use all of the built in tools to accelerate the performance of your PHP applications?

Try Zend Server

Additional Resources

This blog is based on an earlier post that was published in September 2016. It has been rewritten to include information about new offerings as well as additional tips.