Tweaking MySQL could result in better website performance. Find out how?

Tweaking MySQL could result in better website performance. Find out how?
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Eshna Verma

Published on February 19, 2015


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MySQL is a fast and rock solid database that has been designed to give quality performance at a high speed. It is light weight and built for high speed tracks. However, there are some complaints from MySQL users who claim their databases are running slow despite the top-notch features of the MySQL. This can be avoided by tweaking. Tweaking MySQL could result in better website performance. Find out how? 

The application level performance and web server speed of a database are the most important components larger web apps. A database with high server speed and performance is likely to enhance the performance of your website. This is very crucial since a business with slow services looses customers every day. Improving your MySQL by several seconds does matter since it can greatly improve your website. Here are some tips that will improve your MySQL user experience for better website performance.


Filter results

Doing imprecise and cheap work first and then progressing to hard but precise work with smaller set of data is a great way of optimizing your MySQL. Use the great-circle formula to compute the distance on the surface of a sphere when looking for an item in a given radius. This requires lots of trigonometric calculations which are CPU-sensitive and may slow down its utilization. You will sort your records to smaller subsets and trim them into a small circle by filtering the cheapest results first. 
 

Profile your workload

Profiling the workload of your server will help you understand how it spends its time. It will let you know some of the expensive queries to tweak or tune further. Time is used as a basic metric reference since every user cares about how fast a query is completed when issued against a server. You can profile your workload using tools such as the query analyzer for MySQL Enterprise Monitor or pt-query digest by Percona Toolkit. The tools capture all the queries executed by your server to give a table of tasks sorted in order of decreasing response time. The most time-consuming and expensive tasks are bubbled at the top to let you see which areas to focus on. 

Mysql process


Be cautious of pagination queries 

Applications that paginate are likely to bring web server to its knees. They show results page with a link to the next page although they are typically grouped and sorted such that they can't use indexes. They instead employ an offset' and 'limit' that makes your server do lots of work when generating and discarding rows. You can find optimizations options in the user interface where you can change their settings. For instance you can show the link to the next page instead of showing the number of pages in the links or results of each individual page. Moreover, you can select an additional row instead of using offset' and limit' for users to land on after clicking the next page.  


Understand the fundamental resources

The database server needs various fundamental resources that include a network, disk, memory and CPU. Your server is likely to perform poorly if any one of the fundamentals is weak. A good understanding of these fundamentals will help you choose the right troubleshooting problems and hardware to boost speed and enhance performance. Ensure your hardware has good-performing components which are well balanced against each other. The resources work best when servers with fast CPUs and large disks and memory are used. You can add memory to increase performance in terms of magnitude on disk-bound workloads. Checking the utilization and performance of these resources will help you determine whether they are performing poorly or doing a lot of work. The results will help you come up with the right troubleshooting technique to solve problems quickly.  


Alert reluctantly and save statistics eagerly 

It is essential to monitor your system although some monitoring systems become useless with time. This is because a typical system can send false positives which may make the administrators set up rules to stop the noise. You can avoid this by alerting and capturing metrics for easier access when looking for things that have changed in your system. This will help you refer to the graph to note any changes in the workload of your server even when strange problems crops up.  


Index properly 

Indexing may lead to lots of misunderstandings when organizing your databases to boost website performance. This is because there are very many ways that confuse MySQL users about how servers use indexes. Properly designed indexes serve very important roles in your server. For instance;
  • They allow the database server to satisfy all queries from the index making it unnecessary to access the table. 
  • They let the server read the rows in preferred order, which is quite faster than sorting. 
  • They let your server find multiple adjacent rows as opposed to single rows which are slow and can cause random disk operations. 


Avoid using MySQL as a queue

Queues access patterns can easily slip into your applications without noticing, which poses a great problem in your server. The queues can serialize your workload and prevent it from doing tasks in parallel. They often result to a table with the task in progress and historical data from previous jobs. These additions increase latency to your application and load MySQL leading to low speed and performance. 


Leave dump files alone

Dump files created by MySQL look awful unlike the ordinary harmless files. Users may be tempted to edit them even though they are just text files. Editing them in the standard editor brings about corruptions in the application which may affect the performance of your server. You can avoid these problems by simply leaving the dump files alone 

It is clear that MySQL is among the most influential programs in the computer science and technology. The above tips and tricks have been outlined to help you take your web server to the next level. The tips suit the community well as a part of learning, regardless of whether you are an oldie or a newbie. So, be sure to utilize them and for sure, you will avoid common mistakes that underlie most performance problems associated with MySQL. As a result, you will enjoy MySQL servers at top speed with consistent and stable performance.

About the Author

Eshna is a writer at Simplilearn. She has done Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT and The Telegraph. She loves traveling and photography.


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