Was Delhi University using the wrong webserver?

Delhi clearly hogs all the attention when it comes to admissions to undergraduate courses every year. All over India it is safe to assume admission time is very stressful in families. Every aspect of the admission process is torturous – getting application form, buying bank demand draft to pay the application fee, then submitting the form with a zillion photographs & copies of marks cards etc.

Few schools in India have started giving out the application forms online. A big relief but yesterday the Delhi University website crashed as soon as it uploaded the application forms.

  • 32,460 offline forms were sold on day 1 of 2014 against 42,860 forms last year.
  • About 7,500 forms were filled online on day 1 (June 3, 2014)

Delhi University is using Apache webserver (at the time of writing). Just yesterday I read an interesting article on “Apache Vs Nginx webserver“. The IT staff of DU by now should know the approximate traffic/load they can expect for their website. Just using the best webserver may not help, the configuration of the hardware and smart settings of webserver are very important for a smooth experience.

  • If the server has enough memory, Apache will serve static content faster than Nginx
  • Nginx will use less resource compare to Apache.
  • Nginx will be the better choice for mixed (Static and Dynamic) content
  • Varnish is one of the best caching servers.

Did DU use multiple servers, load balancers, caching for static content? CDN is a great choice to handle surge in traffic but I don’t think Universities in India are ready to spend that kind of money.

On the day of exam results of Class 10th and 12th the official website servers take a beating. It is time the education sector in India starts paying attention to these important aspects of the digital world. Most solutions are free, so why hesitate to use them?

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