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Monitoring Apache Page-Load Times With Cricket
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• Introduction: What is Cricket?

• Installing Cricket

• Configuring Cricket

Basically everything is already installed, but you have to make symbolic links from the Cricket account's public_html area into the Cricket install. (Using symlinks instead of copying the files makes upgrading very easy, so I highly recommend it.)

    % su - cricket

    % mkdir public_html
    % cd public_html
    % ln -s ../cricket/doc doc
    % mkdir cricket
    % cd cricket
    % ln -s ../../cricket/VERSION
    % ln -s ../../cricket/grapher.cgi
    % ln -s ../../cricket/images
    % ln -s ../../cricket/lib
    % ln -s ../../cricket/mini-graph.cgi

Configure your Web Server

You have to have your web server configured to allow viewing of user directories. You need to allow symlinks and CGIs in the Cricket subdirectory. This would be appropriate code to add to your Apache httpd.conf file. (This part is pretty generic; if you have installed a recent Apache server, it's probably already there.)

UserDir public_html

<Directory /home/*/public_html>
    AllowOverride FileInfo AuthConfig Limit
    Options MultiViews Indexes SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all

# This is for the Cricket Traffic Grapher

<Directory /home/cricket/public_html/cricket>
    Options SymLinksIfOwnerMatch ExecCGI

Of course, if you have to add this to your httpd.conf file, you will have to tell httpd that your configuration has changed. If you compiled and installed Apache from sources, you can use the apachectl command to signal httpd. This command should work for you.

     apachectl restart

If you used the Red Hat RPM version of Apache, you can use this instead:

     /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd restart

Now you should be able to run the grapher.cgi program using this URL,


One last tip

If it's a possibility for you, install Cricket on several different networks to get a more accurate picture of how the Internet affects page-load times. I run a copy on my personal ISP account across town.

if you insert the name of your web server in where it says yoursystem.

If you get an "internal server" error message in the browser, the first place to look is in your Apache error_log file. (The exact location of this file depends on your system.)

When things are running normally, you will get a menu back from grapher.cgi. You should be able to click on the link, http-performance. This will return a list of the targets you set up to be monitored. Click on one of them and you should get the graph page. Alas, the first time you view a page there will be no data to view! Patience. Come back in a few hours and more interesting graphs will start to show up.

Brian Wilson is the system administrator for O'Reilly Network. He is also calls himself the 'online services coordinator' (whatever that is) for the International Human Powered Vehicle Association.

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