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performance – Windows 7 php + Symfony2 terribly slow

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment


This is an issue I’ve been having for a long time. I want to run PHP applications on my windows computer and it has a terribly high load time, around 10-25 seconds. I have tried many things:

  • First I tried a simple XAMPP installation
  • I read WAMP might be faster, so I tried WAMP, too. It gave me the same results
  • Then I installed an nginx server with PHP, but it did not help either
  • Finally, I installed an Ubuntu 11.10 in VirtualBox and I shared my windows files containing my project, but the result was even worse: over 22 second load time each time.

UPDATE: I have even tried APC – it improved a bit but still 6-8 sec/page

I uploaded my files to a linux server(shared hosting), on which it runs in around 300-500 ms. On the XAMPP installation I tried to run other (i.e. not Symfony2) applications as well(e.g. phpmyadmin), which too were slower than on the shared hosting, but not extremely slow, with 2-3 sec load time. Until I change to Linux as the main OS, how could I improve performance? I have a laptop with i7 CPU, 4 GB RAM, 5400RPM HDD, Win7 x64.

Thank you for your help!

UPDATE2: For some mysterious reason my Symfony routing didn’t work with fcgid (it gave me a 404 error for everything) so I went back for using PHP as a module. Now, it has become the worst ever (worse than it used to be as a module): app mode 20-25 sec, and in dev mode, over 30s every time, so I get a timeout error, and it’s the same with or without APC enabled.

Here you can see this error. This is reproduceable: each time it reaches a different point of execution within 30s:

enter image description here

How to&Answers:

I had a similar problem with symfony 1 for a time on XP and Server 2003. The solution was to install a PHP accelerator (eAccelerator for us, APC might be a better bet these days) plus FastCGI/fcgid.

Addendum: it’s been ages since I’ve used Apache on Windows. I have generally been of the view that its performance has been getting steadily better, rather than worse; however as with most unusual set-ups, YMMV. As per my earlier comment, I recommend asking your question at Apache Lounge, where I previously have received some great expert advice.

If memory serves correctly, they can offer you a free Apache binary compiled with better tools than the standard one offered on the Apache website.



Since PHP 5.5 has now integrated the PHP OPCache, this speeds up the execution time. In my setup a full request with database access takes 180ms now.


  1. Update to the latest php version
  2. Enable OPCache
  3. Disable xdebug
  4. Set realpath_cache_size = 2M as DemonTPx mentioned

php.ini settings:

realpath_cache_size = 2M
xdebug.profiler_enable = 0
xdebug.remote_enable = 0
zend_extension = "C:\xampp18\php\ext\php_opcache.dll"
opcache.enable = 1
opcache.enable_cli = 0
opcache.memory_consumption = 128
opcache.interned_strings_buffer = 8
opcache.max_accelerated_files = 4000

Why is Windows slower than Unix?

As discussed here, PHP is very slow in file_exists, and filemtime() on Windows. since Symfony2 is using these functions in dev mode a lot. we won’t get under 700ms (in <= 5.4) on Windows. PHP 5.5 allows now 180ms.

A solution could be WinCache which was developed by microsoft to solve this problem on IIS. But as it only works on several Windows versions and also only with IIS it’s no solution for me.


Also a nice solution I can recommend is to have a Linux Virtual Machine on Virtualbox. This is easy to setup and is also more like the production environment.


I have the exact same problem. Setting the following in php.ini increased the performance for me from ~800ms to ~300ms:


realpath_cache_size = 2M

Still not the ~100ms I get from a unix machine, but it makes a difference at least


Wow, After trying many different things, I’ve finally succeeded to move from a 15s execution time to a 3s exec time on windows7 with wamp.

How to install wincache extension :

Where to download the wincache dll:

My php.ini config change:

realpath_cache_size = 2M
; XDEBUG Extension
;zend_extension = "C:/Net Generation/wamp/bin/php/php5.5.12/zend_ext/php_xdebug-2.2.5-5.5-vc11.dll"
xdebug.remote_enable = off
xdebug.profiler_enable = Off
xdebug.profiler_enable_trigger = off
xdebug.profiler_output_name = cachegrind.out.%t.%p
xdebug.profiler_output_dir = "C:/Net Generation/wamp/tmp"

zend_extension = "C:/Net Generation/wamp/bin/php/php5.5.12/ext/php_opcache.dll"
opcache.enable = 1
opcache.enable_cli = 0
opcache.memory_consumption = 128
opcache.interned_strings_buffer = 8
opcache.max_accelerated_files = 4000


i think you have a problem with caching mechanism.
check app\cache directory.
there has to be a folder named dev.
if it does not exist or if it is empty check folder permissions.
when i delete dev and prod directories under app\cache directory it takes 18 seconds to load the page but after that it takes only 500 ms.


Some years ago i had the same problem. Which antivirus software do you run in the background?
Try to deactivate it for dev purposes or change it. It also could be some indexing services running in the background. Symfony 2 consists of >15000 files with vendors 🙂
Also try to do it the classic way by reinstalling Windows from the scratch.
My sites takes usually from 100-500ms and my laptop is slower than yours. (Intel C2D P8600)


Just a guess (and probably not the right one), but it could be MySQL related. Seeing how you mentioned PhpMyAdmin and Symfony 2 as PHP applications you tested, both rely on MySQL (assuming you have MySQL set up in Symfony 2). You did not mention this in your post, but in your VirtualBox setup, did you by any chance let the script running on Ubuntu connect to the MySQL server on your Windows host machine?

You could check out PHP Benchmark for some performance testing scripts, and see if these scripts perform better timewise.

Another thing you could try is use Xdebug and see if you find (a) certain (group of) function(s) that are taking up too much time.

I’m definately gonna keep this question as a favorite, because I am too curious to see what it was now 🙂 good luck !


Check your computer random access memory, RAM using http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp or run the memory test application shipped with your Ubuntu CD booting option.

In both cases choose what know as extra or deep test – I don’t remember exactly- How ever, choose the test with more longtime these kind of tests has no end, you just wait till the test finish two phases and any problems with your RAM, commonly, shown.

Also, Check your hard drive with any mean of checking. after that try to perform disk defragmentation

I bit, your problem is hardware related problem.


My pages were taking 20 seconds to execute. I installed fast cgi, increased memory limits, everything, not working. Then started looking at timeline and noticed symfony firewall module was taking up most of it time. Turns out having “localhost” in my config for doctrine is what was causing issues. Changing it to fixed the problem. Not sure why, but it’s described here:



Page loading time is depends on the CSS + JS + Image loading time also. I had the same problem in CakePHP and solved the problem by using mod_expires in htaccess.

Have you tried “ExpiresByType” in your server htaccess file for CSS, JS and images? Check this page.