I'm thinking of using multiple web servers with a load balancer in a big WP install. The database will be on a separate server and that's the easy part. Trickier is files in blogs.dir, and to a lesser extent, the themes and plugins folders.

So I plan to use a separate NFS server, either for all of wp_content or just for blogs.dir. But I'm worried about the performance impact of having these files available over the local network.

If you have done this I would love to hear your thoughts on...

  • Is it wise to share all of wp-content in this way? If not, how about just blogs.dir?
  • How much of a performance trade-off was it?
  • Do you have any suggestions based on your experience?


  • I'm currently looking into this too, and this post seems to be a good start on load balancing: ephur.net/2010/01/02/scaling-wordpress-with-varnish. I'm right where you are and have no experience on deploying wordpress with NFS, but I'll be revisiting this post if I learn of something worth sharing. – The WebMacheter Apr 27 '11 at 15:27

It would depend on the speed of the NFS and the speed of the local network. If your using an object cache like APC the plugins and theme file folders will not be effected because they will be loaded in memory.

A better solution would be to use a CDN or even create your own CDN using a lightweight static file server like Nginx for blogs.dir. W3 Total Cache has built in transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration with Media Library, theme files and WordPress static files.

If you do decide on an NFS there are steps you can take to optimize the performance like the use of NonVolatile RAM, mounting the file system as RAID 0 and making sure you are using UDP instead of TCP.

  • Thanks Chris. I'll check out those links. I am already using a CDN and APC for opcode caching. For the former I still need an origin server, and for the latter I wasn't aware that I could share the APC cache across several distinct servers. I'll look into that though. Using nginx to create a lightweight server for the static files is intriguing. Thanks also for the NFS references. – Greg Apr 26 '11 at 5:16

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