Troubleshooting Server Load Issues

The vast majority of high server load errors are caused by excessive or persistent utilization of one, or a combination, of the following system resources:

  • CPU

  • RAM / Memory (including swap space)

  • Disk I/O

All of these resources work concurrently to ensure the proper functioning of any computer; a web server is no exception. If any process running on the machine causes the CPU, RAM, or DISK/IP to exceed its normal parameters, or otherwise prevent it from returning to normal limits within an acceptable amount of time, the result is often a high server load error.

To Check Current CPU Usage

The real-time CPU usage can be viewed by running the “top” command. On the line that says “Cpu(s),” check the “%id” section to see the percentage at which your CPUs are idle; the higher the number, the better. A 99% idle CPU is doing almost nothing, whereas a 1% idle CPU is heavily tasked at that moment.

[user@host ~]$ top c

Tip: hit “P” to sort by processes that are currently consuming the most CPU.

To Check Current RAM Usage

To view how much memory the server currently has unutilized, or free, use the “free” command:

[user@host ~]$ free -m

Tip: run “top c” and hit “M” to see which processes are consuming the most memory.

To Check Current Disk I/O Usage

The final resource to investigate when determining high server load errors is the overall read and write activity of the hard drive itself. The following command will display the disk usage statistics ten times each second.

[user@host ~]$ iostat -x 1 10

It is also important to review any 3rd party applications installed on your server. 3rd party applications like WordPress, Oscommerce, Joomla and others are targets for hackers. They use a number of different methods to do this, we have listed the most common below.

  • Brute Force Attacks
  • File Inclusion Exploits
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Malware

If you are unsure what is causing the load on your server and would like our Administrative staff to investigate, additional charges may apply. Please reach out to our support staff @ for more assistance or 877-220-5686.