You have noted that you are experiencing some performance issues related to high load (here). So I investigated and found that all the servers at the hostname are responding with HTTP/1.0 headers and are explicitly closing the connections to the clients.
This will not relieve the performance problems. In fact, doing this may make the situation worse. The only way that this will not cause an issue is if you have tuned the kernel on these servers to go through an EXTREMELY fast TCP teardown process on the server side.
If you haven’t done this, go run a netstat -vanp on your www servers. See all the fin_wait, fin_wait2, closing and time_wait states? These are sockets that can’t be used again until the kernel releases them.
Now, Turning on keep-alives or persistent connections on the www servers will:

  1. Reduce the total number of connections per client
  2. Reduce the number of sockets “hung” in the teardown process
  3. Improve performance by reducing the network overhead required by the client and the server

The only caveat is to reduce the keep-alive timeout to something like 4-5 seconds so that these connections don’t wait for traffic forever.
Improving performance through disabling persistent connections is a myth. HTTP/1.1 was adopted for a reason. Use it wisely and your will reap the rewards.

Technorati: , , , ,