Why does my dedicated server crash weekly?

Posted on 2009-05-12
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have a dedicated server running CentOS that is hosted with

Almost like clockwork the server crashes weekly...usually on a Monday or Friday. I then have to go into the admin recovery area and reboot the server. This is an unmanaged server, so support will not troubleshoot the problem.

I am running about 8 sites on it most of them either Joomla or Wordpress sites. The server uses Plesk as it's control panel and I usually have to reboot the server twice to get Plesk to start working again.

Plesk error:
ERROR: PleskFatalException  

Components::componentUpdate() failed: Unable to exec utility packagemng: Empty error message from utility.


0: /usr/local/psa/admin/auto_prepend/auth.php3:530

attached is my log file for the last 24 hours. If someone can look at it and maybe see something I can fix I would appreciate it.
Question by:Donnie Walker
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 24370924
The system log will be more useful, can you provide the /var/log/messages file for the same time period.  Also please omit any confidential information where possible.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Monis Monther
ID: 24373334
You need to monitor your server, start looking for monitoring tools

check your resourses with top
read your logwatch reports
use sar and nagios

Also check for attacks you might be hacked, install rkhunter this is a tool to check for root kits.

Author Comment

by:Donnie Walker
ID: 24374644
Here is the /var/log/message log file from May1st to May13th.

Last month swapped out the hardware and we reimaged the OS. I then reset all the sites, etc.
For about 2 weeks everything was fine and then it went back to crashing on the weekends.

Yesterday was really bad as I had to reboot the server 4 times before it stopped crashing.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24386776
It sounds like some sort of hardware problem, even though they already swapped out the hardware.  A crash in Linux is really rare, on good hardware.  If possible, try to narrow down the time it crashes, and look in /var/log/messages as was already mentioned.  You can use a free monitoring service like to help.  If there are entries missing from the log, it's possible that the crash is being caused by a disk problem and the log couldn't be written at the time.

Good luck and let us know if you can narrow down the times.


Author Comment

by:Donnie Walker
ID: 24391085
ok, this morning everything started to slow down. Plesk reported we were using all 160GB of our harddrive space. I rebooted and it went back to normal and shows we were using 1GB of our disc space.

Just now all the sites crashed again. I rebooted again. Attached is today's log file.

Author Comment

by:Donnie Walker
ID: 24398179
happened again. I may be wrong but it looks like it is doing something with rebuilding the RAID before it dies.

somehow it is filling up the harddrive and this causes the server to crash.

Expert Comment

ID: 24398343
I see the reboots, but there are no visible hardware errors in the log.  The end of this last log shows the building of your RAID devices however it looks like it was doing it during the boot process which is normal.  

Is the symptom just that the server slows down?  If so, are you able to get into the server and run "top"?  This will tell you what process(es) are using up your resources.  This isn't looking like a kernel or hardware problem like I thought.  Plesk is a commercial (not open source) product so who knows if its errors are related to this or not.


Author Comment

by:Donnie Walker
ID: 24398545
the sites start to slow down. anything related to javascript or video disappears...then the server is unresponsive.

Author Comment

by:Donnie Walker
ID: 24475262
any other suggestions?

Accepted Solution

apexinternet earned 500 total points
ID: 24475318
I would wait for it to slow down again, and while it is in that state, I would first make note of the time it happened.  Then, remote in (I am assuming they gave you ssh access?) and run "top".  The processes using the most resources will be listed at the top of the list.  Make note of them, as this will help to troubleshoot further.  If you can post what top shows, this will help pinpoint which process(es) are taking up the resources, and allow us to find out which additional logs need to be checked.

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