As web applications become more and more popular, performance is always at the top of the priority list. Caching is a technique that can be used to improve performance. When you have a website that loads fast, it means your audience has a better user experience.
The biggest advantage of caching a PHP script is to avoid running it again if you need to get the same result. This saves time and resources. You can set opcache in your PHP server configuration file.
The two most popular methods of caching are the use of PHP files and the use of opcode caching. The first method is a great way to cache static files, such as CSS or images. This is useful if you don't want to change your site's code to add new features or fix bugs. The second method is also useful for static files, but it also caches page scripts.
Zend OpCache is an opcode cache for PHP applications, which allows you to enable caching on your production sites.
The official definition says:
OPCache improves PHP performance by storing a precompiled bytecode script in shared memory, thus eliminating the need for PHP to load and parse scripts for each request.
Why is it worth activating Zend OpCache?
Let's consider a case where you have a small website with normal traffic, for example 500-5k visitors per day. There are relatively few concurrent active users, 5-10 on average. In this case there are hardly any overload and performance problems, users will not notice slowdowns.
Another case would be a website or application with hundreds of thousands of visitors per second. Here PHP7 OPcache can give strong help in terms of performance, as it drastically reduces the server load and with a few configuration steps you will see serious improvements in speed and performance.
OPcache alone cannot be the solution to all your performance problems. Server settings and configuration also play an important role in maximizing performance. Taking a practical example, a server with 1GB of RAM and 1 CPU can handle about 10 requests per second. By enabling the OPcache PHP system the number quietly increases to 34+ requests per second.
How does Zend OpCache work?
The first time the application runs a script, opcache stores the resulting code in RAM, which means the web server will take less time to process the request and deliver the data to the browser.
The opcode cache works by storing precompiled bytecode scripts in shared memory so that when a script is run for the first time, it will not have to be recompiled and therefore will only need space in RAM. Afterwards, each call to the precompiled script will result in the execution of the same code, because opcache has already stored this code in RAM. This results in significant performance improvements on websites that are constantly under stress and critical to load time.
Our hosts boast a high performance software stack that also includes Zend OpCache.