Good news, everyone! We’re quite pleased to announce all of our hosting plans now offer memcached support. Even better, it’s 100% free! For those unfamiliar, memcached is a general purpose memory caching system. Its primary benefit is to cache your database requests and reduce (or eliminate) the need to hit your database for common queries. For a number of sites (especially those that run WordPress), inefficient queries are one of the most common causes for site slowdowns. Caching those queries and serving them from memory will show some drastic performance improvements for even your busiest sites.
An Introduction to Memcached
Every MySQL query you perform takes valuable time, CPU power, and is often redundant when you’re executing the same queries over and over. The main goal when using memcached for your site/software is to improve performance as much as possible. This is accomplished by using memcached to cache your MySQL queries, which in theory should cut out the most resource intensive aspect of most PHP/MySQL based sites. Instead of querying the database directly for each request, which can be incredibly taxing, memcached will cache your most common queries and serve them from memory.
This concept is no different than using RAM on your local computer compared to accessing your hard drive. RAM (memory) is incredibly efficient for frequently accessed programs like web browsers, email clients, video games, etc. Accessing those same programs from disk every time would have a very negative and very noticeable impact on performance. Using this example you’ll begin to see why it’s so much more efficient to store those MySQL queries in memory instead of hitting your database each time.
How to Enable Memcached on Your Hosting Account
Enabling memcached could not be simpler! We’ve integrated the feature right into cPanel, so you’re quite literally one click away from being able to use memcached on your supported software. To get started, login to cPanel and search for ‘memcached’. Once you’ve loaded up the interface, all you need to do is hit ‘Start Memcached’. That’s it!
Assuming it’s successful (it should be), you’ll be given a unix socket to connect to.
Now any time you visit your memcached interface you’ll see it’s running with the IP and port listed:
Once enabled you’ll use that IP and port to configure your supported software. Programs like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal (among many others!) all support memcached.
As an example, we went ahead and setup a WordPress test installation with W3 Total Cache installed to configure a memcached connection. Lo and behold our test worked! When you successfully configure memcached in W3TC you can run a test and you’ll see the output like this screenshot shows:
We’ll have a more detailed post coming soon about using memcached with WordPress and W3TC. Until then you should go ahead and try yourself! It’s surprisingly simple to setup and you may be pleasantly surprised at the performance improvements you’ll see :)!
* Please note you’ll want to use the “Paper Lantern” theme to see the Memcached option.