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I've been noticing that my server has been using a lot of CPU for Apache processes when it really shouldn't be (screenshot of Apache Status: http://i.stack.imgur.com/XlwyF.png). It seems like the Apache CPU% should be more like .0045%? My traffic is under 4 million pageviews per month.

From what I've read, each period "." is a process to receive a request. I think I have way too much dedicated to Apache, so I'd like to cut them back. Unfortunately I don't know much about apache and could use some guidance.

So how do I lower the amount of slots open for connections?

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No, the _ marks are running apache processes waiting for a connection, the .s are "slots" where an apache process would be started if one was needed. –  DerfK Nov 5 '10 at 3:52

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The periods are unused slot that don't have processes behind them. The other scoreboard entries have or had processes behind them as per the legend after the scroreboard. On recent Apache releases the scoreboard reports all slots. ServerLimit (default 256) sets the size of the scoreboard. Setting this smaller may save some memory and disk space.

MaxClients limits the number of processes you can have. Setting it too low can cause clients to get failed connection requests. MaxClients must not be more than ServerLimit.

It looks like you have 10 processes, 2 serving requests, and 8 idle servers. StartServers, MinSpareServers, and MaxSpareServers control the number of servers at any one time. Threading servers use SpareThreads in place of SpareServers. These can be tuned to limit the number of processes, but setting the values too low will result in heavy load spawning new servers. It appears apache is using 34% of a CPU. 124 seconds user time and 11 second system time during 6.3 minutes.

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