PHP-FPM settings tutorial. max_servers, min_servers, etc.

You need to know three things about your server before you change PHP FPM’s settings:

  1. How many cores does your server have?
  2. The amount of memory (RAM) on your server.
  3. How much memory does the average PHP process consume on your server?

How many cores does your server have?

To find out how many cores your server has, run the following command:

When you run the Linux command above, you will get something like “Cores = 4”.

Jot that figure down because it’s important.

How much memory does your server have?

You should already know how much memory your server has. The real question here is: “How much memory do you want to give PHP?”

You have to take into account the fact that your server might be also running NGINX, Apache or MySQL. How much memory are these other processes consuming? If you have 8GB of RAM and the other processes on your machine are consuming 2GB, that leaves you with 6GB – or 5GB if you want to play it safe and leave some free.

Figure out how much memory you want to give PHP and jot that down. In my case, I had 4GB that I could allocate to PHP.

On average, how much memory does each PHP process consume?

This will depend on your application and your version of PHP. Older versions of PHP tend to consume more memory than PHP 7.

Run the command below to get a general idea of how much memory each PHP FPM process is consuming.

Note that the command above above is looking for a process called php-fpm7.2. The PHP process on your server might be called something different. To find out the name of your PHP process, use the top command. When you run the top command, you will probably see one of the following processes:

  • php-fpm
  • php5-fpm
  • php7.0-fpm
  • php7.1-fpm
  • php7.2-fpm

When I ran the command above, I got 29M. i.e. Each php-fpm7.2 process on my server consumes about 29MB in RAM.

The configuration settings.

I now have three important pieces of information:

  • My server has 4 cores.
  • I can allocate about 4GB of RAM to PHP.
  • Each PHP FPM process on my server consumes about 29MB of memory. On older versions of PHP, you will probably see that each process consumes a lot more than that. I was reaching about 90MB per process when I was running the exact same application on PHP 5.5.

Now it is time to edit the www.conf file, which is situated in the pool.d directory. On my server, it was located at:


On your machine, the location might be slightly different.

There are 4 configuration values that we are going to change in the www.conf file:

  • pm.max_children
  • pm.start_servers
  • pm.min_spare_servers
  • pm.max_spare_servers


To get a good value for this, you should take the memory that you want to allocate to PHP FPM and divide it by the average memory that is consumed by each PHP FPM process.

In my case, I want to allocate 4GB (4000MB) and each process consumes about 29MB.

Divide 4000 by 29 and you get around 138.

So I set pm.max_children to 138.

If you have 8000MB to spare and your PHP consumes about 80MB per process, then that will be: 8000 / 80 = 100.


For pm.start_servers, I multiply the number of cores that I have by 4.

4 x 4 = 16

So I set pm.start_servers to 16.

If you have 8 cores, then it will be: 4 x 8 = 32.


For pm.min_spare_servers, multiply the number of cores that you have by 2.

In my case, that is 2 x 4 = 8.

So I set pm.min_spare_servers to 8.


For pm.max_spare_servers, multiply the number of cores on your server by 4.

On my machine, that is 4 x 4 = 16.

So I set pm.max_spare_servers to 16, the same value that I used for pm.start_servers.

Restart PHP FPM.

For these changes to take affect, you will need to restart PHP FPM. Below, I have included a number of service restart commands that might apply to your setup. Select the correct one and run it.

Anyway, hopefully you found this guide useful!

A better way to run PHP-FPM

If you search the web for PHP-FPM configurations, you’ll find many of the same configurations popping up. They nearly all use the ‘dynamic’ process manager and all assume you will have one master process for running PHP-FPM configurations. While there’s nothing technically wrong with that, there is a better way to run PHP-FPM.

In this blogpost I’ll detail;

  1. Why ‘dynamic’ should not be your default process manager
  2. Why it’s better to have multiple PHP-FPM masters

.. If you’re working on a high performance PHP setup, the ‘ondemand’ PM may not be for you. In that case, it’s wise to pre-fork your PHP-FPM processes up to the maximum your server can handle. That way, all your processes are ready to serve your requests without needing to be spawned first. However, for 90% of the sites out there, the ondemand PHP-FPM configuration is better than either static or dynamic.

How to reduce PHP-FPM (php5-fpm) RAM usage by about 50%

I became aware of what an alternative configuration would do after reading an article titled A better way to run PHP-FPM. It was written about a year ago, so it’s kinda disappointing that I came across it while searching for a related topic just last night. If you run your own server and use PHP with PHP-FPM, you need to read that article.

After I read it, I changed the pm options in the pool configuration file to these:

The major change was setting pm = ondemand instead of pm = dynamic. And the impact on resource usage was drastic. Here, for example, is the output of

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free mt after reloading php5-fpm:

Compared to the output before, that’s more than a 50% drop in RAM usage. And the reason became obvious when I viewed top again:

Did you notice that there are no child processes? What happened to them? That’s what setting pm = ondemand does. A child process is spawned only when needed. After it’s done its job, it remains idle for 10 seconds (pm.process_idle_timeout = 10s) and then dies.

So what I have is a simple modification to the default PHP-FPM settings that saved me more than 50% of RAM. Sure, the server hasn’t come under heavy traffic, but I think it can withstand a reasonably heavy traffic, considering that it only has 512 MB of RAM. And with Nginx microcaching configured, I think it will do very well. There are other aspects of PHP-FPM and Percona MySQL that I’ve not optimized yet, so stay tuned. This was just to pass on a little tip that I found useful.

Hugo Shortcodes

Example vimeo Display 

Using the preceding vimeo example, the following simulates the displayed experience for visitors to your website. Naturally, the final display will be contingent on your stylesheets and surrounding markup.


The youtube shortcode embeds a responsive video player for YouTube videos. Only the ID of the video is required, e.g.:

Example youtube Input 

Copy the YouTube video ID that follows v= in the video’s URL and pass it to the youtube shortcode:

{{< youtube w7Ft2ymGmfc >}}

Furthermore, you can automatically start playback of the embedded video by setting the autoplay parameter to true. Remember that you can’t mix named and unnamed parameters, so you’ll need to assign the yet unnamed video id to the parameter id:

{{< youtube id="w7Ft2ymGmfc" autoplay="true" >}}

Example youtube Output 

Using the preceding youtube example, the following HTML will be added to your rendered website’s markup:


<div style="position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden;">
  <iframe src="" style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border:0;" allowfullscreen title="YouTube Video"></iframe>

Example youtube Display 

Using the preceding youtube example (without autoplay="true"), the following simulates the displayed experience for visitors to your website. Naturally, the final display will be contingent on your stylesheets and surrounding markup. The video is also include in the Quick Start of the Hugo documentation.

The Markdown elements outlined in John Gruber’s design document.

Blockquotes with Multiple Paragraphs

Blockquotes can contain multiple paragraphs. Add a > on the blank lines between the paragraphs.

> Dorothy followed her through many of the beautiful rooms in her castle.
> The Witch bade her clean the pots and kettles and sweep the floor and keep the fire fed with wood.

To create a link, enclose the link text in brackets (e.g., [Duck Duck Go]) and then follow it immediately with the URL in parentheses (e.g., (

My favorite search engine is [Duck Duck Go](