I support a fair number of Apache web server instances, and periodically need to measure the time it takes Apache (and it’s various modules) to process a request. On Solaris 10 hosts, I can use DTrace to retrieve this information on the fly. Since Solaris 9 and CentOS and Redhat Linux don’t come with DTrace, I use a different approach on these platforms.
To get the time when each request was received by Apache, I used mod_header’s “Header” directive, and “%t” option (time when a request was received, measured in milliseconds from the epoch), to add a response header with the time each request was received:
Header set X-Request-Received: %t
To get the total time Apache spent processing a request, I use mod_header’s “Header” directive, and “%D” option (milliseconds spent processing the request), to add a response header with the total time Apache spent processing each request:
Header set X-Request-Processing-Time: %D
Since I don’t always need the headers to be present, I like to be able to enable and disable them from the command line. The easiest way to do this is by enclosing the directives in a conditional block similar to the following:
<IfDefine RequestTime> Header set X-Request-Received: %t Header set X-Request-Processing-Time: %D </IfDefine>
And using the httpd “-D” option to enable them:
$ httpd -k start -DRequestTime
After the headers are enabled, you will see entries similar to the following in each HTTP response:
$ curl -v http://192.168.1.13:8080/
* About to connect() to 192.168.1.13 port 8080 < ..... > < HTTP/1.1 200 OK < Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2007 17:59:42 GMT < Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Unix) DAV/2 < Last-Modified: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 20:16:24 GMT < ETag: "34d37-2c-4c23b600" < Accept-Ranges: bytes < Content-Length: 44 < X-Request-Received: t=1167760782452525 < X-Request-Processing-Time: D=3513 < Content-Type: text/html * Connection #0 to host 192.168.1.13 left intact * Closing connection #0
Similar capabilities are available for measuring request processing time on the client. Total time is helpful, but knowing how much of that time was consumed by Apache is invaluable!