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From Shaun Fanning <>
Subject [users@httpd] Mysterious intermittent apache2 crashes (not sure how to investigate)
Date Tue, 17 May 2005 19:56:19 GMT
Hi, I am running apache2 with mod_php (php 4.3.9) on RedHat ES on a dual
processor x86 box. It is running with prefork MPM to avoid any
multi-threading issues with PHP. Several times over the last month, apache
has died when our load spiked with a lot of concurrent users. If I watch it
happening with top, I see a bunch of "httpd <defunct>" processes popping up
and then gradually they all die out. I then restart apache and for about an
hour I see an occassional httpd <defunct> process and then it seems to clear
up and run fine for another week or until we get slammed again. For several
years prior to this, we ran apache 1 and I never had it crash once, so to be
quite honest, I don't know where to begin investigating how/why it crashed.
I checked all the standard httpd log files and did not see anything unusual
in the access or error logs. I thought maybe it could be oversize log files
but that doesn't appear to be the issue and we are rotating the log files.
I've seen references to using gdb or running in debug mode, but that seems
like it's more suited to situations where you can easily reproduce the
crash. I'm not sure how to reproduce it other than just waiting for it to
happen again, which could be days or weeks. I would greatly appreciate any
advice on what approach I should take to figuring out the root cause of this
problem. Below is some additional information:

Server version: Apache/2.0.46
Server built:   Nov  5 2004 10:58:21
Server's Module Magic Number: 20020903:4
Architecture:   32-bit
Server compiled with....
 -D APACHE_MPM_DIR="server/mpm/prefork"
 -D APR_HAVE_IPV6 (IPv4-mapped addresses disabled)
 -D HTTPD_ROOT="/etc/httpd"
 -D SUEXEC_BIN="/usr/sbin/suexec"
 -D DEFAULT_SCOREBOARD="logs/apache_runtime_status"
 -D DEFAULT_LOCKFILE="logs/accept.lock"
 -D DEFAULT_ERRORLOG="logs/error_log"
 -D AP_TYPES_CONFIG_FILE="conf/mime.types"
 -D SERVER_CONFIG_FILE="conf/httpd.conf"

<IfModule prefork.c>
StartServers       8
MinSpareServers    5
MaxSpareServers   20
MaxClients       150
MaxRequestsPerChild  1000

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