On Bluehost shared hosting (Apache 2.2 + FastCGI + APC), I have the problem that some requests take almost exactly one minute to respond. Yet time spent in PHP is only two seconds. To demonstrate the issue, I created a temporary test page.
When asking Bluehost support about the issue, I got the following reply: “the fastcgi process don't stay running they will only stay running for a certan period which would explain the timeouts you are seeing it traffic would spawn new ones. [...]”
I understand that spawning new FastCGI processes takes some time. But almost exactly one minute? That must be some timeout. But which timeout may that be?
What I want in the end: No request should take longer than five seconds to respond, even if it fails. When I asked Bluehost support to set the Apache TimeOut directive accordingly, they told me: “we do not modify the Apache Config File even on a virtual host level.”