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W2K3 - Web server is slow!!

Posted on 2004-09-21
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We are serving a couple of pages from our W2K3 server (standard edition) using IIS 6.  We have a T-1 from Sprint for our internet connection.  A test page that I have running is just over 1k in size, and yet very often the page takes over 5 second to load!  This seems way too slow, especially for such a tiny page.

I want to be able to track the problem down (if there even is one), but I don't know where to start or what tools to use.  Here is how our connection is set up:

Internet >> frame relay T-1 >> Cisco 1700 >> WatchGuard FireBox 700 (doing NAT & port forwarding) >> LAN

The web server also runs Exchange 2003 Standard as well being the PDC.  This machine has dual Xeon 2.8GHz, 2GB RAM, 275 GB SCSI RAID 5. The processor usage never jumps above 5-6%, and the RAM usage sits at 1.5GB most of the time.  Shouldn't this machine be able to handle being the PDC, mail server, and Web server all at once?

Where and how should I start to check out the cause of the slow page loading?
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Question by:theamzngq
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by:Thaaron
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Does the page load slowly when you access it directly from the server?

If you look at the bottom left corner of IE while you are waiting for the page to come up does it say "Opening" www.website.com or does it say "Loading" www.website.com?
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by:theamzngq
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The page loads as expected when I load it directly from the server-instantly.  From the outside world while waiting for it to load, IE says 'opening', not 'loading'.  Sometimes it comes up quickly, but most of the time it takes a bit.
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Hi!

1.How fast does the page open locally on the server? What about from a machine on the loacl segment?
2.Have you tried to open your page from outside by using IP address instead of DNS name?
3.How is your web site configured - just one site with default settings or many sites and different IP addresses, ports or header redirection on the server?
4.Is your site using server based scripts?

Waiting for your answers :)

NetoMeter
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by:Thaaron
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Another thing to try is changing the Watchguard config.  By default it does HTTP proxy.  If you remove that rule and create a custom one that simply forwards port 80 that would be a helpful test.
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by:theamzngq
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NetoMeter:

1. Instantly on both counts
2. I am using Host Headers, so I can't open it via the IP
3. about 4 sites with default settings, all using host headers.  Port 80 traffic to the single public IP is forwarded by the firewall to port 80 to the server's private ip
4. the site is using Cold Fusion
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by:theamzngq
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I should mention that I have straight HTML site as well that also seems to perform poorly to the outside world.
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by:theamzngq
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I will switch the proxy for a simple port forwarding and see if that has any effect--good idea.
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by:Thaaron
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You can also try adding the website to the host file of the computer you are using to test externally.  This should eliminate DNS as the problem.
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by:theamzngq
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I should also mention that we have 120 machines sharing this connection, as well as a VPN connection to a branch office in Irvine.  However, this test page remains slow even after hours when no one is in either office using the connection.

I changed the http proxy to just plain port forwarding.  That seemed to make things a bit faster, but its hard to tell.  Its subjective, but it seems better.
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by:Thaaron
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Have you had a chance to try the host file yet?
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by:theamzngq
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yes, I updated the host file on the external test machine.  Things seem to be much faster now.  I called my father and had him try some of our sites from his machine at his house and they seem to be loading much faster now.  Between the VPN, NAT, and the other forwarding jobs the Watchguard was doing, it must have been bogging down on filtering the HTTP traffic.

I don't want to assume that that was the whole issue, however.  What else could I check?
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by:Thaaron
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If adding the host file helped, that would point to a slow DNS server.  Are you hosting your own DNS or using and ISP?
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by:theamzngq
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now that I'm home and I try the small test page, it seems about the same speed, I guess.  sometimes it loads quickly, other times I have to wait 3 seconds.  I added the info into my hosts file, but it seems to have had little effect.

We do run our own DNS, but now that the hosts file has the info, it shouldn't matter.  When you asked before about 'opening' vs 'loading', what were you looking for?

Can you think of anything else i could check?  do I need to start looking at the router, or perhaps continue examining the firewall?
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by:NetoMeter Screencasts
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Hi!
Here is the info which I guess is reliable till now:

1. You are using host headers and it works great locally.
2. We do not have a resolution problem because you are using a host file from home and still have a problem.

Based on this it is logical that the problem is in the WatchGuard FireBox.

To prove this can you create a web site on your server which does not use host headers and check how fast it opens from outside.

NetoMeter
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I would be pleasantly surprised if SirBounty - the Page Editor joins us now :)

NetoMeter
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by:theamzngq
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i will do as you suggest.  However, the traffic will still go through the watchguard, even though host headers are not in use.  I will advise...
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by:theamzngq
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I set up the same site with just a raw IP address.  Same poor performance.  Sometimes it pops right up, but most of the time I get several seconds of wait time.  The total size of this test page is 1k.

Again, even though this test did not use host headers, it still went through the WatchGuard.
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by:theamzngq
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Well, check this out...I decided that I would restart the Cicso 1700, and wa-lah!  Every thing started to zip.  The test page started to pop up almost instantly!  Amazing..guess the cisco just needed a fresh start.  it hadn't been rebooted for 7 months, I bet.

Any final thoughts on this one?  I'll check it in the morning to make sure that its still good, but it sure looks like things are happy now.
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