1.3 Hardware and Operating System Requirements

Squid runs on all popular Unix systems, as well as Microsoft Windows. Although Squid's Windows support is improving all the time, you may have an easier time with Unix. If you have a favorite operating system, I'd suggest using that one. Otherwise, if you're looking for a recommendation, I really like FreeBSD.

Squid's hardware requirements are generally modest. Memory is often the most important resource. A memory shortage causes a drastic degradation in performance. Disk space is, naturally, another important factor. More disk space means more cached objects and higher hit ratios. Fast disks and interfaces are also beneficial. SCSI performs better than ATA, if you can justify the higher costs. While fast CPUs are nice, they aren't critical to good performance.

Because Squid uses a small amount of memory for every cached response, there is a relationship between disk space and memory requirements. As a rule of thumb, you need 32 MB of memory for each GB of disk space. Thus, a system with 512 MB of RAM can support a 16-GB disk cache. Your mileage may vary, of course. Memory requirements depend on factors such as the mean object size, CPU architecture (32- or 64-bit), the number of concurrent users, and particular features that you use.

People often ask such questions as, "I have a network with X users. What kind of hardware do I need for Squid?" These questions are difficult to answer for a number of reasons. In particular, it's hard to say how much traffic X users will generate. I usually find it easier to look at bandwidth usage, and go from there. I tell people to build a system with enough disk space to hold 3-7 days worth of web traffic. For example, if your users consume 1 Mbps (HTTP and FTP traffic only) for 8 hours per day, that's about 3.5 GB per day. So, I'd say you want between 10 and 25 GB of disk space for each Mbps of web traffic.

    Appendix A. Config File Reference