Avoiding the application startup time

We are currently running our servers with Apache 1.3 and fastcgi
(using cPanel). We have lots or rails applications running under
different virtual hosts. Everything works pretty well and applications
are served fast. The problem we would like to overcome is the startup
time for the applications when you hit the website for the first time.

We do not want to run fastcgi processes persistently due to the
problems that entails. My question is what other options are available
at this time that would serve the initial page hit faster than our
current setup. Our requirements are:

  • Must still have apache in the configuration to server non rails pages
  • Must work over port 80
  • Must have a way for non privileged users to restart their
    applications to allow for config changes
  • A linux solution
  • Must not require any hacking of the rails application in order to work

We will be upgrading to apache 2.2 soon so solutions using this would
be fine. I have looked at proxying rails requests to mongrel but I
have a few questions about this:

  • would this avoid the start up issue?
  • how would users be able to reload their configs?
  • are their any issues with this setup?

Out of interest this is our current fastcgi configuration in our
httpd.conf

FastCgiIpcDir /tmp/fcgi/ AddHandler fastcgi-script .fcgi FastCgiWrapper On FastCgiConfig -autoUpdate -singleThreshold 100 -killInterval 300 -idle-timeout 240 -initial-env RAILS_ENV=production

Thanks

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