I am running a Django app using mod_wsgi, and am trying to understand how the apache processes work.

Here is my apache httpd.conf:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName www.example.com
    ServerAlias example.com

    WSGIDaemonProcess example.com processes=2 threads=15 user=django1 group=django1
    WSGIProcessGroup example.com
    WSGIScriptAlias / /path/to/django.wsgi

I set two processes, but when I look at top, I see two processes under user django1 and two more processes under user www-data:

14035 django1  524m 350m apache2
14116 django1  499m 326m apache2
11800 root     347m 299m apache2
17486 www-data 347m 292m apache2
17689 www-data 347m 292m apache2

Why are those www-data processes there? Am I running something else and not know it? It seems like they are wasting memory. Only the two apache2 processes for user django1 processes show any CPU load. The www-data users don't have any CPU load.

  • I tend to use FastCGI for a reason.. Jul 24, 2011 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


When you use daemon mode and your Django application is therefore running in a separate process to main Apache processes, you still need the Apache parent process and at least one Apache child process. The later is what accepts requests and proxies them through to the mod_wsgi daemon processes. Read:


  • Ok, I think I understand. Is the proxy supposed to take up so much memory though?
    – user749618
    Jul 25, 2011 at 0:44
  • Are you still loading mod_python into your Apache. It leaks memory into Apache parent process on restarts so if you do a lot of restarts you will have problem. Note how the 'root' owned process is fat. That is the parent process and everytime Apache forks a child, it will inherit its resident memory size. So, make sure mod_python is disabled. Also make sure using mod_wsgi 3.X and have a read of blog.dscpl.com.au/2009/11/save-on-memory-with-modwsgi-30.html Jul 25, 2011 at 3:32

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