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I'm running an Ubuntu 10.04 nginx webserver with PHP-FPM. It has 512MB of total memory (256MB swap). After starting the PHP-FPM process (/etc/init.d/php5-fpm start), it uses an acceptable ~100MB for about 5 children. But then the processes suddenly balloon to using 400MB.

Here's a graph of my server's memory usage with PHP-FPM.

Here's my PHP process memory usage (ps aux | grep php)

I have set my PHP-FPM config conservatively: pm = static and pm.max_children = 5. I'm only running a few Wordpress blogs, and I don't get that many visitors.

How can I control the memory usage of PHP-FPM's processes so it doesn't eat up my server?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted
  • Disable any PHP extensions that you don't need.
  • Set a low max requests per child so each process is restarted more often.
  • Reduce the number of processes. You don't need many for a small blog. 2 should be fine.
share|improve this answer
I set the max requests to 4 and the number of processes to 3. Now my memory usage looks like this: – mr_schlomo Jan 7 '12 at 16:39
Max requests is really too low. The processes will be restarted too often (too much CPU time wasted). I would suggest 32 max requests/child and 2 processes. Try and see which PHP extensions are causing the high memory usage too; it shouldn't really be that high in the first place. – diolemo Jan 7 '12 at 21:17
It is a good thing to have high buffer/cache usage by the way. This memory can be freed by the OS if needed but will improve performance if not needed. – diolemo Jan 7 '12 at 21:22

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