FreeBSD 6.2-STABLE && apache 2.2.4 = bad performance. Help!

Norberto Meijome freebsd at
Thu Jul 19 12:00:49 UTC 2007

On Wed, 18 Jul 2007 23:12:57 +0100
"Michael Vaughn" <x0dapara at> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I am contacting -performance, -questions, and -hackers in the hope someone
> helps me troubleshoot a problem with FreeBSD 6.2 and apache 2.2.4

[ responding in questions - removed unnecessary lists]

can you please make your php.ini, httpd.conf , enabled extras/* and Include/*
available please?

what's the output of httpd -V and httpd -l

Do you use anything outside of the normal? Any networked file system ?


> The problem:
> Right after starting apache, the loads on the server will climb to 10-40's
> and the application will become unacceptably slow. This will go on until few
> users are using the said application. (note: other servers running older
> FreeBSD versions on dual cpus running the same code don't exhibit this
> system% problem) top shows more than 60% of the CPU time is spent on system:

I would first try to determine if the problem is with your application OR
apache+OS+configuration combo you have here.

- get rid of your application altogether - does apache behave the same way
(without clients hitting it)? If yes, dont worry about your app at all for now
- apache shouldn't load your system like this.

- If load with no-own-app-and-no-clients is ok, use ab to generate some load on
the server , on plain html pages. what happens then?

- I am not sure what would the best way to test PHP load...but there may be out
there some test framework  / standard php applications that can be used as a
point of reference... 

- you can run 
ktrace httpd -X 

and start using your app, and see if you get anything interesting in the output

> I had to lower MaxClients on apache substancially from 128 to 32, or loads
> would quickly go to 40+. (Other servers with dual cpus instead of quad and
> apache 1.3 on freebsd 6.0 don't have this problem)

something is fishy here , I've had (have? ) Apache boxen (i386 though )
with several hundred children  allowed (well, big enough that i had to change
the build defaults ), and it works fine. (i am not comparing apps, of course,
but the server behaviour is what is interesting)

{Beto|Norberto|Numard} Meijome

"The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next."
   Matthew Arnold

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