Tim Daneliuk <tundra at tundraware.com> commented:

This has a lot to do with the latency and speed of the connecting
network. Sites like Ebay, Google, and Amazon are connected
to internet backbone nodes (for speed) and are cached throughout
the network using things like Akami (to reduce latency)...

I agree, the problem is not always the software. :-) I think Akami reduces the network latency experienced; also, one may have multiple servers and load balance the traffic, and local NetCaches can speed traffic by reducing the load on the server (the most requested data is cached upstream from the server).

I understand that web queries are very clustered (though I've not seen data to confirm this): we may all be making individual queries (googling about decorators?), but the queries are not as different as we might imagine. Hardware caching helps with that.

A good "enterprise" web site will have infrastructure on it's side beyond what an economical-minded non-commercial site is likely to invest in.

Transactional (secure) processing is a different animal, I think (but I would also think it is a very small percent of the overall web traffic).

No worries, Apache may run faster when it's written in PyPy. :-) I guess that statement shows I am a bit biased in thought process.

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