PHP has been a widely-used scripting language for web applications since the web’s early days. Due to its popularity and early history, many websites run PHP applications today. Like all web application platforms, PHP applications have performance considerations that impact their scalability and usability. PHP monitoring software together with software for monitoring network traffic help organizations mitigate this impact to their PHP applications by discovering risks to PHP performance.
Performance hotspots revealed with PHP monitoring
Tools for monitoring PHP applications are typically found within an APM solution. PHP monitoring tools collect metrics that indicate the following performance hotspots:
Inefficient PHP Code. Requests to web pages are often serviced by scripts that generate dynamic content that include rendered HTML. If the amount of content to be rendered is large, the load imposed on the server can increase and extend the response time to service requests. Performance monitoring software that carries out PHP monitoring can detect the increased load and response time and indicate the PHP code that is taking a long time to execute.
Increased Compilation Time. For each request for a web page that contains PHP code, the code is compiled to service that request. When subsequent requests for that page are processed, the same code is recompiled even if the generated content is the same. This additional compilation increases execution time especially if the PHP code is complex. A PHP monitoring tool can capture the compilation time for each PHP page. Code in PHP pages that have long compilation times can be optimized to reduce compilation. Additionally, caching mechanisms can be deployed on web servers to eliminate unnecessary compilation and PHP accelerators can be deployed to increase PHP performance.
Unoptimized Database Access. PHP applications generate dynamic content by retrieving data from databases. Often, the way database queries are made is unoptimized which impacts the performance of PHP applications negatively. This problem is also present in other application platforms such as .NET; unoptimized database access from .NET applications slow .NET performance. An APM tool that performs PHP monitoring can capture unoptimized SQL statements that generate spikes in database executions.
Application performance management software from Dynatrace enables PHP monitoring in addition to .NET and Java application monitoring. Dynatrace’s patented PurePath Technology® captures end-to-end performance metrics for each PHP transaction from web server to database across distributed tiers. Execution time of PHP methods and individual SQL statements as well as response times of web server and database calls can easily be viewed on dashboards. Each transaction can be reviewed to isolate performance hotspots and determine when they occur. Performance data collected and presented by Dynatrace aids greatly in doing root-cause analysis of performance issues in PHP applications which can reduce MTTR by up to 90%.