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Old 06-25-2006, 08:49 AM   #1
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[How-To] Optimize vBulletin To Reduce Your Server Load

This article will only touch on things you can do to the vBulletin software in order to reduce the server load on your server without sacrificing some of the features you love about vBulletin. Please note this is just my personal preference on how I have my vBulletin software configured.

Sites in question: See Signature
vBulletin Version: 3.6.8

First let me show how I have some of the default settings:
  1. vBulletin Options -> Search Type (Drop Down Under vBulletin Options): If you have MySQL 4.0.x you can use Full Text Search as this option can greatly reduce server load when a search query is used on your server. You can also check out this thread on vBulletin.org for information on using sphinx search. This is so much faster than using fulltext. It's something you don't need to do until search becomes a problem though. This is usually around 1 million posts.
  2. vBulletin Options -> General Settings -> Use Forum Jump Menu: I have this setting turned off. If you have a large amount of forums this will cause the server to work harder as it has to Generate the Forum Jump and then display it on the page. The Forum Jump consists of alot of html which makes the page larger which increases bandwidth usage. The majority of your users will not even realize it is gone. At east this is the case on my site.
  3. vBulletin Options -> General Settings -> Disable AJAX Features: Make sure that this is set to allow all AJAX Features. Ajax helps reduce server load by not reloading a page where AJAX is used. (Quick Reply for instance)
  4. vBulletin Options -> Cookies and HTTP Header Options -> GZIP HTML Output: I have this turned off because my server handles this through my httpd.conf file via mod_deflate. If you are not sure whether or not you have this enabled on your server you may test it using this website: GZIP Test. It will tell you if you have it enabled or not and if you do it will show you how much the page was compressed. My main page: Mustang Web Site uncompressed is 45,886 bytes and compressed 8,994 bytes for a total reduction of 80.4%. Make sure the Compression Level is never set higher than 1.
  5. vBulletin Options -> Cookies and HTTP Header Options -> Remove Redirection Message Pages: I have this set to Yes. Not only do I find them incredibly annoying but they cause an unneeded page load.
  6. vBulletin Options -> Cookies and HTTP Header Options -> Add No-Cache HTTP Headers: Make sure this is set to No.
  7. vBulletin Options -> Server Settings and Optimization Options -> Cached Posts Lifespan: I have this set to 90 days. Once you turn this on I recommend rebuilding your Cache Posts via Maintenance -> Update Counters
  8. vBulletin Options -> Server Settings and Optimization Options -> Update Thread Views Immediately: Set this to No. With this set at No the Thread Views will automatically update via Cron every 1 hour by default. If you wish to change this you can do so by editing the Scheduled Task for Thread Views to a different time. Mine is set to update thread views every 15 minutes.
  9. vBulletin Options -> Server Settings and Optimization Options -> Update Attachment Views Immediately: I have this set to No as well. I just use the default cron to update these.
  10. vBulletin Options -> Style & Language Settings -> Store CSS Stylesheets as Files?: Set this to yes. Make sure that you change the permission of the /clientscript/vbulletin_css/ folder to 777. This greatly reduces the page size and the code to content ration as well as not requiring the web server to spit out all that code on every page load.
  11. vBulletin Options -> User Listing & Profile Viewing -> Show Last Post on Profile Page: This is very server intensive. Set this to No.
  12. vBulletin Options -> Message Posting and Editing Options -> Quick Reply: Not only does this make posting faster which leads to more posts being made this also uses ajax which means you do not have to load another page to make a post nor does it reload the page after you make the post. I use this hack: Smilies in QR and QE To even further reduce the need to click the Post New Reply Button. I have Quick Reply set to: Yes, Click Not Required.
  13. vBulletin Options -> Message Posting and Editing Options -> Quick Edit: Turn this on to reduce the need for a new page reload when someone simply wants to edit a post.
  14. vBulletin Options -> Message Searching Options -> Minimum Time Between Searches: I have mine set to 5. I recommend setting some kind of small time limit to reduce any chance of abuse.
  15. vBulletin Options -> Forums Home Page Options -> Display Logged in Users?: I have mine set to Yes, Alphabetical listing to members only. What this does is show your members Alphabetically if you are logged in but if you are a guest the Whos Online does not show at all. This helps reduce server load by limiting the amount of people that see the Who's Online Stats.
  16. vBulletin Options -> Forum Display Options -> Show Users Browsing Forums: I have this option set to No. If your members ask for it then enable it only for members. Guests really don't need to see how many people are viewing a particular forum.
  17. vBulletin Options -> Forum Display Options -> Maximum Displayed Threads Before Page Split: I have this set to 50. I would not go much higher than this. The higher you go the more resources it takes to generate those extra threads to show and the bigger your page gets. Note: Changing this will change the amount of Forumdisplay pages that are generate overall which will result in a reindex by search engines.
  18. vBulletin Options -> Thread Display Options -> Show Users Browsing Threads: I have this set to No for the same reason I gave for Forumdisplay pages.
  19. vBulletin Options -> Thread Display Options -> Check Thread Rating: I have this set to no. Thread Ratings are rarely used on my forum so I don't need it to tell the user whether or not they have rated the thread and what their rating was.
That is all the Default Options in vBulletin that I recommend looking into. Feel free to ask questions if you need further explanation on any of them.

Now let us look at some hacks that I find useful in reducing the server load and increasing site speed:
  1. Use Xcache!!!!! xCache is the easiet was to increase performance for your forum(s). It does is reduces the amount of memory that vBulletin uses each page load by caching the php scripts in memory. It allows you to cache the Datastore (Link) and Templates (Link) in xcache. This removes two queries to the database.

    If you have more than one forum then you can only store one forums datastore and templates in xcache at once. For more than one forum look into using memcached to store the datastore. No modification exists at the time for the templates so I recommend storing the templates of your most active site in xcache. You can find more info on setting up memcached here. You can start up several instances of memcached on different ports or ips and point each site to a different memcached server. I use this method for my sites.
Additional Information:
  • Last update: September 14, 2007
  • This article will be updated as new information becomes available. Keep checking back for updates.
  • This article may not be redistributed without consent of me.
  • Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any damages caused by you making changes suggested within this thread. While there is very little chance that these settings can effect your board in a negative way I can not guarantee that they will behave on your forum the same way they have mine.
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:56 PM   #2
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Great Tutorial here! Thanks for all the good info.
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Old 06-26-2006, 02:55 PM   #3
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Yes, good info. Rep added.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:06 AM   #4
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Great tutorial mate! Very helpful.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:35 AM   #5
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great thread, I can't belive I hadn't seen this b4
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:50 AM   #6
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I have updated some of the information above
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:45 AM   #7
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Could you mark the updated information? Please?
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:51 PM   #8
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I did

Quote:
*October 18th Changes*
- I no longer use the Template Cache Hack due to compatibility issues with vital hacks that edit templates on the fly. I also am not convinced there is any reduced server load with this enabled.
- Corrected information about the Forumhome Who's Online Bit
- Updated from 3.6 Beta 3 to 3.6 Gold+ compatible
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:06 AM   #9
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I'm going to work on updating this again.... pretty outdated. I'll try to tackle it later on today.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:25 PM   #10
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Coolness!
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