500 Errors After Enabling opcode

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#1 Wed, 08/11/2010 - 15:12

500 Errors After Enabling opcode


I am using wordpress for most of my sites and I am using W3 Total Cache plugin to speed up my blog. I installed APC and Xcache on my server but Xcache wasn't functioning properly, so, I started to use APC instead. However, I get a 500 error several times when I try to access my server. Of course, the 500 errors don't occur immediately. For example, I check on my sites at 1PM and come back at 5PM, I should see a 500 error. I must then restart apache to get the sites functional again.

I changed from fcgid to CGI and I haven't encountered any error since. How weird is that!? My error log shows multiple lines similar to :

Connection reset by peer: mod_fcgid: read data from fastcgi server error. [Wed Aug 11 23:46:18 2010] [error] [client 192.xxx.xxx.xxx] Premature end of script headers: wp-cron.php

What can I do to use Fastcgid with opcode?

Thanks, Josh

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 15:19


Yeah, I have seen some odd issues come up in some cases with fcgid. Is using CGI an option? As that may very well solve it :-)

I haven't run into the error you're seeing there before... however, do you run into that error when using fcgid by itself, without APC?


Thu, 08/12/2010 - 06:49


I haven't noticed any change in performance since I switched to CGI, so, it may be an option! But, some people say that fcgid is faster and it would be cool if I could use it instead.

No I don't get any kind of error without APC. The errors only spawn after enabling APC. I tried to use Xcache instead but I wasn't able to get it to function well.

Btw, I am on centos 5.5 i386.

Do you have any idea why this is happening?

Thanks, Josh

Wed, 10/13/2010 - 18:35
PlayGod Pro Licensee

My Virtualmin CentOS 5.5 webserver runs several virtual domains with PHP under FCGId using APC for opcode caching: Joomla, PHPbb, Wordpress, etc . APC is somewhat challenging to configure properly with fcgid-enabled virtual domains, but it is quite helpful to optimize system resources and prevent traffic surges on one site from affecting overall server performance. Joomla and PHPbb have code that is pre-optimized with hooks for APC, but Wordpress requires a plugin called W3 Total Cache.
Installation Suggestions and Modification of Defaults
Be sure to install the newest version of APC, 3.1.4 as of this writing (I assume you know how to install and configure all the packages mentioned in this post):

pecl install apc-beta

For W3 Total Cache (Wordpress plugin):
Do not choose APC for the W3TC's Page Cache, choose Enhanced Disk.
Do not choose APC for Minify, use Disk.

For APC running on virtual servers for opcode caching:
Remove apc.ini from /etc/php.d. Do not add the APC configuration into /etc/php.ini (main php.ini which is probably a template used for creation of new virtual servers).

Instead, enable APC on a per-domain basis by modifying the respective /home/domainname.com/etc/php5/php.ini

You must "babysit" the configuration: use the APC monitor (apc.php) to see how many files are being cached, and how much memory (apc.shm_size) is needed to avoid fragmentation, which will cause the 500 errors. If fragmentation rises quickly to 100%, memory usage is full, and cache full count rises above 0, you will almost surely see "500" errors.

If Wordpress is the only PHP script software package on the domain, the following configuration will likely work for you; if you have more PHP software packages, you will need to raise apc.shm_size and raise the apc.user_entries_hint and apc.user_entries_hint settings, and possibly lower TTL values to allow cached files to expire and be replaced.

In general, you must double apc.shm_size in relation to APC's highest reported Memory Usage to avoid fragmentation completely.
Configuration Suggestion for php.ini
in the virtual server's /home/domainname.com/etc/php5/php.ini, add the following configuration:
(you should also install memcached and fileinfo for full use of W3 Total Cache)



extension = apc.so
apc.enabled = 1
apc.shm_segments = 1
apc.shm_size = 32M
apc.optimization = 0
apc.num_files_hint = 512
apc.user_entries_hint = 1024
apc.ttl = 0
apc.user_ttl = 0
apc.gc_ttl = 600
apc.cache_by_default = 1
apc.filters = "apc\.php$"
apc.slam_defense = 0
apc.use_request_time = 1
apc.mmap_file_mask = /dev/zero
apc.file_update_protection = 2
apc.enable_cli = 0
apc.max_file_size = 2M
apc.stat = 0
apc.write_lock = 1
apc.report_autofilter = 0
apc.include_once_override = 0
apc.rfc1867 = 0
apc.rfc1867_prefix = "upload_"
apc.rfc1867_name = "APC_UPLOAD_PROGRESS"
apc.rfc1867_freq = 0
apc.localcache = 1
apc.localcache.size = 512
apc.coredump_unmap = 0
apc.stat_ctime = 0

Save php.ini, restart apache and then watch the APC Monitor to ensure fragmentation stays below 50% (it should remain less than 10% most of the time... if fragmentation rises quickly, you should add a few more MB's of memory to apc.shm_size and restart apache).
Monitoring APC Performance and Detecting Errors
You should run apc.php in a password-protected directory in the domain's public_html. Edit the apc.php code to allow passwordless access.

You can monitor errors with these commands:
tail -f -n 50 /var/log/httpd/error_log
tail -f -n 50 /home/domainname.com/logs/error_log

In the logs, you should see messages like the following:
mod_fcgid: process /home/username/public_html/scriptname.php(21272) exit(lifetime expired), terminated by calling exit(), return code: 0
... exit(server exited) ...
... exit(idle timeout) ...
if the cache is working well. If you see exit(communication error) then you have issues, probably cache full and fragmented.

Wed, 10/13/2010 - 18:32
PlayGod Pro Licensee

Fragmentation Explained
Fragmentation is a measure of the non-available portion of apc.shm_size due to lack of contiguous memory large enough to accept new cache items. 100% fragmentation means the available memory is broken into hundreds of small pieces that are too small to accept new cache items. This occurs when cached items expire and new cached items fill their vacated memory slots; usually the new item is slightly smaller than the old item, and the leftover space may be too small for a new cache item.

Fragmentation can cause even a large amount of free memory to be unavailable for new cache items. That is why I say above you can avoid fragmentation by doubling the apc.shm_size in relation to the largest total memory usage you see. So you may want to start with 100MB, let the site run for a few hours during high traffic conditions, and then reduce shm_size to roughly double the highest amount of cache memory usage during that time.

Further Information and Suggestions
APC can have a very significant effect on minimizing overall server load and overall memory usage. It takes time to configure, and must be re-configured whenever PHP script software is added to a virtual server. The more plugins/mods/components you add to a PHP software package, the more scripts, database queries and objects will be cached.

If you have PHP scripts or plugins that do not need to be cached (low traffic pages such as contact forms, or PHP scripts that do not have APC hooks and have their own caching schemes), you can filter them out with simple RegEx:
apc.filters = "apc\.php$"

Because the apc.filters RegExp only works with filenames, it is not possible to filter out an entire PHP script package, component or plugin based on the directory where it resides. So if you do not wish to use APC cache on a particular script package, you should run it in a separate website. Some PHP script packages such as Gallery2 have an incredibly large number of .php, .inc and .class files which will be cached, so it is difficult to find them all and filter them all using apc.filters.

If you can't raise apc.shm_size due to lack of available memory, try lowering the TTL's (values in seconds, 0 is no limit, 600=10minutes, etc.). This will still have a good effect on high-traffic sites with many concurrent end users; caching is not at all necessary for low-traffic sites. However, be aware that lower TTL's can cause more fragmentation.

If you cannot get APC to configured correctly for your Wordpress sites, I suggest WP Super Cache and WP Minify... that combination will probably have a better effect, as it will serve pages very quickly and accellerate user experience for a small number of users. Joomla 1.5 and phpBB3 are much easier to work with, as their caching systems are built to use APC and other opcode caches. Apparently, Gallery3 now also supports opcode caching.

More advice:

  • turn off apc.stat (not for production servers)
  • turn off apc.optimization (experimental and unstable, may cache user session info, fubaring items which should not be cached, such as admin pages and logged-in site pages)
  • turn off apc.include_once_override (use carefully; only useful with PHP scripts that do not have cache hooks, such as Joomla 1.0, phpBB2, etc.)
  • turn off apc.slam_defense (may cause objects to be replaced with PHP warnings which are displayed to the user, especially on Joomla 1.5)
  • set apc.user_ttl = 0 (allows your php scripts to set appropriate timeouts for queries and objects)

APC Manual: http://www.php.net/manual/en/book.apc.php
APC Runtime Configuration http://www.php.net/manual/en/apc.configuration.php

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 12:36

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This has helped explain a ton and fix all types of issues. You really are a god. :)

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 13:11
PlayGod Pro Licensee

One more suggestion: while you are tweaking your opcode settings, and especially if you are using APC with a CMS like Wordpress (w3 total cache) or phpbb or joomla, and you are experimenting with settings, you should set apc.stat=1 (on). Restart the web server to load the new settings.

APC.Stat is the file change polling, which checks for file change every time a cached script or object is called. So, with polling turned off, your settings/configuration files may remain cached, and this may cause you some frustration. W3 Total Cache in particular is difficult to get configured properly with apc.stat=0 because the config settings and files are dependent upon database and php, which will be cached as files or opcode.

After you have sorted out your opcode settings, switch apc.stat=0 and restart the web server to turn off polling for better performance.

Cheers and you are welcome.

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 16:09 (Reply to #7)
PlayGod Pro Licensee

Also, pecl install apc-3.1.6 will install the latest current version... apc-beta is bleeding edge.

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 08:50

I'm new to Virtualmin community, but i'll throw my experience with APC.

Many times we've suffered error 500 with APC, and we've struggled with solutions, mainly while mixing fcgid, apc, memcached all together.

We use Virtualmin GPL for our hosting needs as to develop apps on top of it, so sometimes we need to tweak the whole system for a specific configuration.

When we hit the fcgid premature end of script headers... i'd tell you to modify fcgid config. [Webmin -> Servers -> Apache Webserver -> Global Configuration -> Edit Config Files]

Edit the file called "fcgid.conf" Assuming you have a ~3 GB ram setup, dual core cpu... this should work for you.

AddHandler fcgid-script .fcgi

#Default from VMIN. FcgidConnectTimeout 20

#FcgidIdleTimeout 500 #30 Minutes if it died... untill we kill it FcgidBusyTimeout 1800

#FcgidBusyScanInterval 480 FcgidZombieScanInterval 30 FcgidErrorScanInterval 30 #FcgidProcessLifeTime 0

# Change the rate at which new FastCGI processes are spawned under load. Higher=faster #FcgidSpawnScoreUpLimit 15

# Higher number = spawning more FastCGI processes decreases the spawn rate (controls runaway #FcgidSpawnScore 3

# Higher number = terminating FastCGI processes decreases the spawn rate (controls runaway) #FcgidTerminationScore 3

# Increase the FastCGI max request length for large file uploads (needed for some sites) FcgidMaxRequestLen 1073741824

FcgidMaxRequestsPerProcess 100000 FcgidMinProcessesPerClass 6 FcgidMaxProcessesPerClass 8 FcgidMaxProcesses 15 #FcgidIOTimeout 1800

Also, remember to check the version you're using of APC, remember on Debian 6 (if you're using it) its an older version [unless you install it through pecl], that version does not use M, or G for file sizes. As an example:

(On newer versions of APC) apc.shm_size = 32M (On older versions...) apc.shm_size = 32

And i'd tell you to globally allow it: On /etc/php5/conf.d/ Edit apc.ini and leave apc.enabled = 1

Later on on each virtual server php.ini config you'll tweak it accordingly.

I hope this helps.