My website frequently seems to be hugely slow or chuck out loads of
php/mysql errors.  Initially i thought this the fault of my web hoster, but
they're so big and popular I can't believe this is caused by them.

Which leads me to think maybe the problems are caused when a certain number
of people are trying to access the page simultaneously?  How can I test for

1) Is there any site/software that will perform a "strain test" or similar?
2) What precautions should I take in dealing with my mysql database to
minimise any problems?
3) What precautions should I take in dealing with my php scripts to minimise
any problems?

For example.  Each page I have loads a header.php4 and a footer.php4 with
the content inbetween.  I open a MySQL connection in header.php4 and close
it in footer.php4.  Is this good practice, or should I open and close it as
and when I need it?  90% of my pages require database interaction so it
seemed like a good idea at the time......

- seb

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