PID USER S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
30650 nobody R 4 0.2 0:00.86 /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -DSSL
30237 ---- R 1 0.0 0:00.33 [awstats.pl]
31823 root R 1 0.0 0:00.34 top
30684 nobody R 1 0.1 0:01.59 /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -DSSL
28493 root R 0 0.0 0:00.01 sshd: [email protected]/0
i'm seeing really high levels for the user part of the CPU-- what could this be due to?
mail queue is empty, no strange activity for smtp (i.e. no spammers from the looks of it), httpd really isn't that active- by no means is there enough traffic to cause such high load. memory is sufficient.
Are there no unusual processes running on your VPS (e.g. possible exploits)? If so, there are two possible causes that are most likely the problem:
1. Your host may be having issues (high load at their end - can be caused by many things such as a big DDoS attack, broken RAID array, exploited VPS on the same server, etc). Before you spend hours trying to figure out what's wrong, contact your host and ask them whether there are any problems that they're aware of.
2. Your VPS was compromised and your top/ps binaries were altered so you can't see the hack processes running. To start out, run a rootkit checker, that should probably get you a long way.
Very most likely, #1 is the actual problem - in that case it'll be up to your host to fix the problem.