I have a CentOS "development / testing" server that runs extremely slowly. It's running Apache and Mysql using PHP. Top reports that 98% of the CPU utilization is frequently spent on "st" - Steal Time. What could cause a server to spend so much CPU on steal time, and how can I diagnose the problem? I didn't notice the problem until after I granted a third party developer root access (for all I know it has a root kit running, though unlikely).
The "steal time" is related to how much time your VPS is waiting for the underlying hardware. You might want to bug your hosting provider to check if they can see anything going on with that particular host.