One way of squeezing performance out of apache, as noted in this blog post by Hayden James is to disable htaccess files – which are not needed when you have control over the httpd’s config files. Doing this allows the web server to spend less time calling stat() for .htaccess files that don’t even exist – for instance a request to https://something.something/foo/bar/baz is at least 4 calls to stat() .htaccess (once at /, then /foo, then /foo/bar, and finally /foo/bar/baz assuming that baz is also a directory.
Because of this, we can search for .htaccess files at apache startup time, load them using the server->add_config() method and tell apache to not bother looking for them during subsequent requests.
This change was quite small and the performance gain in production should be noticeable (but not large). As it turns out, some of those stat() calls also hit NFS, which will be a discussion for Part 2.