How To Install and Use Memcache on VPS Ubuntu VULTR

Memcache is a system that works to speed up virtual private servers by caching server information. The program allows you to allocate a specific amount of the server ram toward caching recently queried data for a certain amount of time. Once the data is requested again, memcache speeds up the process of retrieving it by displaying the cached information instead of generating the result from the database.


The steps in this tutorial require the user to have root privileges. You can see how to set that up in the Basic Users Tutorial. Before starting off, it’s a good idea to update apt-get to make sure that all of the packages we download to the VPS are up to date.

Additionally, you should have MySQL and PHP installed on the virtual server.

Install Memcache

Installing memcache takes several steps.

To start, install memcached via apt-get.

The next step is to install php-pear, the repository that stores memcache.

If you do not have a compiler on your server, you can download build-essential in order to install memcache:

Finally use PECL (PHP Extension Community Library) to install memcache:

Say yes by pressing enter during the installation when you are asked if you would like to “Enable memcache session handler support? [yes] :”

Once you have completed the installation of memcache with PECL on the VPS, add memcached to memcache.ini:

Now you are ready to start using Memcache.

Confirm Memcache and See Stats

After Memcache is downloaded, you can check that it has been installed by searching for it:

Additionally, you can see the memcache stats by typing:

Step Three—How Memcache Works

Memcache works by redirecting code to first attempt to retrieve data from the cache before querying the server’s database. The cache populates by saving recently retrieved server data for a certain amount of time. By caching recently requested information, future queries do not have to go through the longer process of retrieving the information from a database and can, instead, access it through the cache.

The memcache page shows this abbreviated code on its homepage to summarize the memcache process:

A Simple Memcache Example

This section will set up a simple php script to use memcache for retrieving a single value originally found in a mysql table.

The following steps set up a mysql user who can access the appropriate database, create a table to query, and insert the one value that we will test in the new mysql table.

Log into mysql: mysql -u root -p and execute the following commands:

Once you have exited MySQL, create the memcache script file:

We are now going to build up the php script step by step (the entire script will be at the end of the section):

  • Start off by creating a new persistent connection with memcache, which runs on memcache’s default port, 11211.
  • The next step is to connect to the new mysql database with the user that we created earlier:
  • After that, go ahead and create the query that we will pose to the server, as well as provide a key to identify that specific action:
  • The script first searches the cache for the answer to the query. If the result does not exist, the script reroutes the question to the original database. Once the query has been answered by the original database, the script stores the result in memcache, using the “set” command– which both saves it and allows the user to designate the number of seconds that it should remain in the cache (600 would save it in the cache for 10 minutes).
    When we run the script for the first time, it will inform us that the data was collected from the mysql database. However, as it does so, it stores the information in the cache, so that a second run of the script retrieves it from the cache and lets the user know. In 10 minutes the cache is emptied once more and running the script will make it access the database once again.

Altogether the script looks like this:

Running the script on the command line produces the following results:

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