Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a linux 4gb Quad core server w/ apache that is used for this website. I notice when I go to SSH and type TOP to see load averages, they are usually around 0.80.

Now from what I understand, if you have a quad core, your load average is usually around 4.0

Does this mean that my server is too optimized? That maybe it is bottle-necking potential traffic ?

share|improve this question
I think you misunderstand. There would be no reason for the load to be 4.0 just because you have a quad core processor. The load average is just the measure of processes waiting in the run queue. Are you seeing errors of some kind? – slillibri May 23 '11 at 0:30
up vote 7 down vote accepted

"if you have a quad core, your load average is usually around 4.0"

Incorrect, load averages is how long it takes each process to get a slot at the CPU (It's a bit more complicated than that, it actually involves the CPU 'queue' but saying time is a lot easier than trying to explain that). As a highly simplistic example, when running Apache, the load average is the approximate time each request has to wait before being seen too.

A server can never be too optimized, if Apache was causing a bottle-neck most likely the load average would be a lot higher.

We have a 32 core server running LAMP stack, if the load average is above about 3 we start to see a noticeable performance decrease.

share|improve this answer

You can't have a server which is "too optimized". With load average of 0.8, it means some of your server is idle.

For a quad core your load isn't "usually around 4.0". However with a quad core, you usually don't have to worry about performance if your load is under 4.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.