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I have a VPS running Ubuntu 10.10, with a Django application running on top of it (MySQL database, Redis datastore, apache + mod_wsgi in daemon mode).

Over the last few days, we've been experiencing serious performance issues, with the server taking 1 minute+ to return a response.

This has just started happening over the past few days, before that we had no problems.

top says I'm using only 4-5% of my CPU, free -m says I have over 700mb ram free.

What should my next steps be to understanding and solving the problem?

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next step is watch your bdd : try to enable slow queries logs or check response time with django debug sql to identify the bottlenecks

next step may be I/O ..

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