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So I'm fairly new to Linux and web servers but we moved our sites from a shared hosting environment to a Linux Virtual Server about 8 months ago, much faster and has ran bullet proof until we re-build one of our sites in Wordpress and published.

The WP site ran fine on a test server but now that it went onto our live server we're having trouble. Here's what is happening and what I've done so far.

Site is running good then I notice that the Apache RAM and CPU spikes to 100% and a bunch of php-cgi process start. Then I get an error:

mod_fcgid: process ##### graceful kill fail, sending SIGKILL

the wordpress sites then start to give a 503 error, but non-wordpress site work just fine.

An apache restart fixes the problem. So after that I made some changes the fcgid conf file as follows:

FcgidIdleTimeout 60
FcgidProcessLifeTime 120
FcgidMaxProcesses 150
FcgidMaxProcessesPerClass 8
FcgidMinProcessesPerClass  0
FcgidConnectTimeout 30
FcgidIOTimeout 2000
FcgidInitialEnv RAILS_ENV production
FcgidIdleScanInterval 30
FcgidMaxRequestLen 1073741824

Now when the CPU/RAM spike happens I still get a bunch of the php-cgi processes but after a little while it calms down and I get left with a bunch of Zombie php-cgi processes, but the server keeps going so I'm happy about that. But I have to still restart occasionally to get those processes cleaned out.

We tested our websites on a test server for months with no issues but of course now we have 10-20 people on the site at a time. But I don't know what is causing this out of control spike, not even sure where to start. Maybe it's a code issue maybe it's a server configuration issue.

Server Specs:

  • 2GB RAM
  • CentOS 6
  • site usually has 500-1000MB RAM FREE

Let me know if you need other details, I can look them up.

UPDATE: so I think this may be related to some bad php code but that will take time to track down. Seems like there should be some more robust server configs I could setup to keep it from going down. Today I had it go down 2-3 times one of them crashed the apache service all together.

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