Phusion Passenger (aka mod_rails) allows for easy and scalable deployment of Ruby on Rails applications on Apache or Nginx servers. Part of what makes it so easy is that it comes with suitable default settings right out of the box, so that you don’t need to concern yourself with any of the details when deploying your application to production.
However, once you’ve launched your application and people start actually using it, you may find server experiencing excessive swapping once the traffic begins to pick up. Before getting too deep into scaling, caching, upgrading your server, etc., there are a few Passenger settings you can tune to wring out the best performance your existing stack. I’ll address these settings with a few rules of thumb we’ve gathered from the Passenger documentation and simple trial-and-error.
Performance Tuning for Phusion Passenger (an Introduction) - Alfa Jango Blog