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Can any provide a method where I can establish which of the following configurations would provide the best performance for a Magento based site:

  1. apache + mod_php

  2. apache + mod_php + nginx (as proxy so nginx handles static content and apache dynamic)

  3. nginx + fast-cgi or php-fpm

Also I am thinking of installing Sphinx as an indexing service. Would be there be any performance benefits from using it?

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what is apache apache + nginx nginx? – bakytn Jan 26 '12 at 6:22
changed to be more clear. – Jevgeni Smirnov Jan 26 '12 at 6:49
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you are looking for a high load application I would go with nginx+ php-fpm. As this is better when it comes to memory usage. It would consume less memory eventually Giving you ability to handle more Requests Per Seconds. For static content I would suggest you to use CDN. At least Amazon S3. With managing content through CDN you can go with apache + modphp.its okay really.

Dont forget to make optimizations on database level.

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might be there some benchmarking? – Jevgeni Smirnov Jan 26 '12 at 8:23
@JakeTheFish benchmarks are always depend on particular environment. Always. – bakytn Jan 26 '12 at 8:26
Ok. Thank you for your help. – Jevgeni Smirnov Jan 26 '12 at 8:37

Number 2 with varnish for the reverse proxy would be the fastest. Don't forget to use either apc or eaccelerator. When using one of those you'll need a handler that supports op-code caching. DSO or FCGI would be good. DSO isn't as secure in most situations but does use less memory.

Sphinx works well especially for better search results. Enterprise has built in support for Solr so if Ent that's probably a better choice for you.

Here's a quick and easy way to performance test:

For front end performance and other metrix (google pagespeed / yslow):

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