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From Peter Halicky <>
Subject [users@httpd] apache hanging whole system
Date Sun, 16 May 2010 20:42:31 GMT

I run a "LAMP" server with a few websites, one of them quite busy. I use
Ubuntu 8.04 with apache 2.2.8
and PHP 5.2.4. The problem is this: about once a day, apache processes
cause the system load to go very
high (today it was ~30). During this time, I can not display any webpage
on my server. If I do not notice, the
problem goes away after 3-10 minutes. If I do notice, I can ssh into the
server (if I'm lucky and I get a connection,
which could be a problem with sysload over 30+), I kill all apache
processes (very many of them, usually equal
to MaxClients), restart and everything is fine (with sysload rarely
above 2, usually around 0.5).

I use the prefork MPM with the following settings (just for the record):

    StartServers          5
    MinSpareServers       5
    MaxSpareServers      10
    MaxClients           80
    MaxRequestsPerChild  10

I have also reduced the KeepAliveTimeout to 3 seconds.

The logs did not show anything interesting or out of the ordinary. Also
this happens quite randomly, not really
in the busiest hours (yesterday it was at 6am, which is the least busy
time for the server).

I configured a mod_status URL which I am monitoring, to see what is
making apache so busy. Unfortunately,
when this happens, apache is so busy that it doesn't respond to these

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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