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  1. #1

    WordPress spiking at 100% CPU usage

    Hello,

    I'm currently set up under StableHost's premium shared hosting account. I've got a WordPress site that sees about 1000 unique visitors everyday.

    Two weeks ago, StableHost made me aware that my site was, at random, using 100% of the CPU allowed. It wasn't a constant usage of 100%, just at times.

    Since then, I've been working with them to figure out what may be causing the issue. We've tried nearly everything: WP Super Cache, optimizing databases, deactivating all plugins, using stock WordPress theme temporarily, checking IMAP processes, and checking wp-cron.php. None of these fixed the issue completely.

    If anyone has any other ideas, I'm all ears! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Yes, I do, switch from them. They're good but you can find better.

    De-active plugin and waste your time for something that not gonna work.

    Get a hosting that has not Cloudlinux

    This is an advice from someone who faced the same problem before and tried a lot of solutions.
    sorry, This user doesn't have a signature

  3. #3
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    To be honest, it's absolutely normal to hit 100% from time to time. Just the same as when driving a car - it's not uncommon for you to push the pedal all the way to the floor from time to time, that doesn't mean something is wrong with the car... Now if you have to push it to the floor *all the time* just for the car to move (i.e. you have to sustain 100% for extended periods of time) then something is amiss.

    What exactly did they say when they contacted you?
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  4. #4
    I initially contacted them with an issue related to elevated CPU usage - regarding "connection interrupted" errors. That issue was resolved, and from there it came out that CPU usage was high.

    I've been in a ticket with one of their system admins, but it seems he's also pretty stumped too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by celticpride678 View Post
    I initially contacted them with an issue related to elevated CPU usage - regarding "connection interrupted" errors. That issue was resolved, and from there it came out that CPU usage was high.

    I've been in a ticket with one of their system admins, but it seems he's also pretty stumped too.
    Well, like I said - it's pretty normal. If you process a PHP script (esp. something like WordPress) and you don't hit 100% then you're probably not getting the most out of your CPU allocation and it's taking longer to process each page than it should.
    Michael Denney - MDDHosting, LLC - Professional Hosting Solutions
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    Well, like I said - it's pretty normal. If you process a PHP script (esp. something like WordPress) and you don't hit 100% then you're probably not getting the most out of your CPU allocation and it's taking longer to process each page than it should.
    Alright. Thanks for the information.

  7. #7
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    1000 visitors a day is a good number, but not high enough to be causing large spikes.

    A few things;

    - how many plugins are you using
    - are any of them importing feeds
    - do all your visitors visit the site at a specific time

    There are many things that can be done to track done the issue. How long has this been an issue, any new plugins, etc?
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    1000 visitors a day is a good number, but not high enough to be causing large spikes.

    A few things;

    - how many plugins are you using
    - are any of them importing feeds
    - do all your visitors visit the site at a specific time

    There are many things that can be done to track done the issue. How long has this been an issue, any new plugins, etc?
    Plugin list:

    1. Askimet
    2. Contact Form 7
    3. DB Cache Reloaded Fix
    4. Google XML Sitemaps
    5. Janrain Engage
    6. Live Blogging
    7. Livefyre Realtime Comments
    8. Mingle Forum
    9. Outbound Links
    10. Quick Cache
    11. Really Simple CAPTCHA
    12. Theme Switcher Reloaded
    13. Top 10
    14. User Control
    15. WordPress Mobile Edition
    16. WP-Polls
    17. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

    This has been an issue for quite some time (months), but nothing has changed in that time. It just never came to my attention.

    Visitors don't come at a specific time - throughout the day.

  9. #9
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    "Yet Another Related Posts Plugin" tends to be very intensive, but more so on MySQL (which generally isn't included in your CPU information).
    Michael Denney - MDDHosting, LLC - Professional Hosting Solutions
    LiteSpeed Powered - Shared, Premium, Reseller, and VPS
    For high-end shared accounts ideal for business, check out our Premium offerings!
    http://www.mddhosting.com/ - Providing Quality Services since 2007

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    "Yet Another Related Posts Plugin" tends to be very intensive, but more so on MySQL (which generally isn't included in your CPU information).
    I have heard about that before, but it doesn't explain the spike because I've tried disabling all plugins before.

  11. #11
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    Your list seems normal. I would switch your #10 for W3 but it does need to be configured properly.

    Also VERY important, look into security related plugins and auto backup type plugins. I know you already have a list of plugins, but one good attack and you will have bigger problems than just plugins or cpu load.

    If everything has been smooth ask the host if anything has changed on their end.

    Ask the host to do a virus/malware scan on your account. If you know WP enough, search through your contents folder and see if anything is out of place. Check your server cron. Check your stats if the spikes seem to happen at a specific time.

    Also what I have seen sometimes and actually works is asking the host to move you to another server. Something could be slightly wrong with the current one.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    Your list seems normal. I would switch your #10 for W3 but it does need to be configured properly.

    Also VERY important, look into security related plugins and auto backup type plugins. I know you already have a list of plugins, but one good attack and you will have bigger problems than just plugins or cpu load.

    If everything has been smooth ask the host if anything has changed on their end.

    Ask the host to do a virus/malware scan on your account. If you know WP enough, search through your contents folder and see if anything is out of place. Check your server cron. Check your stats if the spikes seem to happen at a specific time.

    Also what I have seen sometimes and actually works is asking the host to move you to another server. Something could be slightly wrong with the current one.
    Last I heard, W3 Total Cache doesn't support Litespeed servers as well. I can't use WP Super Cache either because there's an issue with cookies and our theme switcher that we provide readers.

    A virus scan had been done and came back clean. Everything seems fine file structure wise as well. The only cron issue we saw was with wp-cron.php, but that has been resolved already and CPU is still high. Spikes don't seem to happen at a specific time, but there are always 10 entry processes when the CPU does hit 100%.

    I can ask my host if a server switch may help, but I'm not sure if it will truly resolve the issue.

  13. #13
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    The reality is this:
    Wordpress is great as a CMS. Unfortunately, when you're talking 1000s of visitors (daily or not), it's not exactly the most stable thing in the world. In fact, those 1000 visitors a day probably don't account for SE visitors which can take up quite a bit.

    Wordpress is not even remotely shared server friendly, when you get into larger databases, larger sites, more visitors. Unfortunately, that's the downside to using a CMS that pretty much does everything for you
    Linux admin, support tech, php developer for hire. PM for more info

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by celticpride678 View Post
    Last I heard, W3 Total Cache doesn't support Litespeed servers as well. I can't use WP Super Cache either because there's an issue with cookies and our theme switcher that we provide readers.

    A virus scan had been done and came back clean. Everything seems fine file structure wise as well. The only cron issue we saw was with wp-cron.php, but that has been resolved already and CPU is still high. Spikes don't seem to happen at a specific time, but there are always 10 entry processes when the CPU does hit 100%.

    I can ask my host if a server switch may help, but I'm not sure if it will truly resolve the issue.

    Ok you seem sot be on top of most possible clues to the issue.

    The server switch is to see if;

    1. that specific server has issue or an upgrade that's not doing well with your site

    2. a new high resource load customer is now on that server and causing the load

    3. a new customer is abusing the server


    I know usually the best thing to do is fix the site itself but a host is not going to mention what's happening on their end unless you really really bother them, then they will admit that something is wrong on their end.

    So try to troubleshoot as best as you can, then ask and in some cases demand to move to a different server. They would rather keep you as a customer and do the move than to argue with you and tell you to leave. I've seen this trick work many many times.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux-tech View Post
    The reality is this:
    Wordpress is great as a CMS. Unfortunately, when you're talking 1000s of visitors (daily or not), it's not exactly the most stable thing in the world. In fact, those 1000 visitors a day probably don't account for SE visitors which can take up quite a bit.

    Wordpress is not even remotely shared server friendly, when you get into larger databases, larger sites, more visitors. Unfortunately, that's the downside to using a CMS that pretty much does everything for you

    Agree and disagree. It is great and it can do more than what most people know of it, but if the server and site are configured properly like a well oiled machine, you can have up 5000 visitors a day without spikes.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    Ok you seem sot be on top of most possible clues to the issue.

    The server switch is to see if;

    1. that specific server has issue or an upgrade that's not doing well with your site

    2. a new high resource load customer is now on that server and causing the load

    3. a new customer is abusing the server


    I know usually the best thing to do is fix the site itself but a host is not going to mention what's happening on their end unless you really really bother them, then they will admit that something is wrong on their end.

    So try to troubleshoot as best as you can, then ask and in some cases demand to move to a different server. They would rather keep you as a customer and do the move than to argue with you and tell you to leave. I've seen this trick work many many times.

    Alright. I just updated the ticket I have with my host to ask for a possible server switch. In the meantime, any other possibilities?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by celticpride678 View Post
    Alright. I just updated the ticket I have with my host to ask for a possible server switch. In the meantime, any other possibilities?
    If it's still spiking with the default theme and no plugins then I'm not sure unless I looked at the site myself since most of the obvious checklist items have been mentioned.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    If it's still spiking with the default theme and no plugins then I'm not sure unless I looked at the site myself since most of the obvious checklist items have been mentioned.
    itsalltech.com is the website.

  19. #19
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    I find it remotely funny how the threads go on this forum.

    Just about any shared host can support WordPress.
    1K visitors a day is not that much traffic even for shared hosting. Just use a caching plugin.
    WordPress is a pig and should not be on shared hosting servers.
    Hosting is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

  20. #20
    I've just been informed that the site has been moved to a new server. So far, it looks good (I've got about an hour of data) and I'll keep checking throughout the night.

  21. #21
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    Cool. Give it 24-48 hours or even a few days since it's the weekend and see how things go.

    and TheJoker is right, some will say WordPress is evil and others give it absolute praise. It's just the issue that no server is the same or managed the same or has the same neighbors unless you get your own server, so on the customer level there's only so much you can do.

    Keep us updated

  22. #22
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    does your provider (i can't remember who you said you where with) offer memcached? (that would help with speed, by caching parts in ram)

    joe
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48-14 View Post
    Cool. Give it 24-48 hours or even a few days since it's the weekend and see how things go.

    and TheJoker is right, some will say WordPress is evil and others give it absolute praise. It's just the issue that no server is the same or managed the same or has the same neighbors unless you get your own server, so on the customer level there's only so much you can do.

    Keep us updated
    Well it's not like they hide their development work. On the contrary its right out there in the open. So you can see what their strategy is. Take this post on a core developer's site for instance. Look at how hard he's trying to keep MySQL load down by minimizing the number and complexity of queries that WordPress executes:

    http://ottopress.com/2011/how-the-po...ress-3-3-work/

    Also see this explanation post:

    WordPress tends to be geared towards the lowest common denominator, which is shared hosting....

    In a broader perspective, the biggest bottleneck to a database is the actual query processing. Once the rows have been retrieved into memory by the database server, sending them across the wire is relatively fast. This is simply another way of saying fewer queries is better (obviously), but it also implies that simpler queries are better as well.
    http://lists.automattic.com/pipermai...ry/011116.html

  24. #24
    Good day:

    1,000 unique visitors a day is small enough that by itself should not cause 100% cpu utilization.

    While I'm familiar with some of your plugins, there are some I don't know about... and what is listed is rather high in terms of number of plugins.

    I recommend reviewing the plugins that you really need to keep active, and disable (and after a week, delete) the ones you are not really using.

    Then use a plugin like clean options (backup your database and site first) to clean any junk left from removing the plugins. Then deactivate clean options.

    CloudLinux is a positive. It only becomes a negative when a hosting provider doesn't get into tuning it.

    Thank you.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Website themes View Post
    Well it's not like they hide their development work. On the contrary its right out there in the open. So you can see what their strategy is. Take this post on a core developer's site for instance. Look at how hard he's trying to keep MySQL load down by minimizing the number and complexity of queries that WordPress executes:

    http://ottopress.com/2011/how-the-po...ress-3-3-work/

    Also see this explanation post:



    http://lists.automattic.com/pipermai...ry/011116.html


    What you say is true, but remember you have to think about WordPress from 3 different sides of the fence (yes I know 3 sides of a fence is not possible), the developer side, the host side, and the regular user side;

    - almost any host can run wordpress. Can all of those any do it well, no. Which leave the customer confused as to why their having issues since they can't go into the server itself and see what's happening

    - a developer can fully understand the links you sent and can also tweak WP to have very minimal php calls and all sorts tricks to make it run smoothly

    - a regular user has no idea about any of those links and there are some that their technical knowledge is turn computer on, login into WP, write a post, hit publish, that's it. Ask them about the config file or wp-content folder and they have no idea what this means.
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