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Server Slows Down Dramatically

I have a problem with my server and I don't know where to begin. I did a fair bit of googling on the subject, but 99% of the stuff is pretty much unanswered or doesn't help me.

I would consider myself a novice at best for managing a dedicated server. I've gotten by with putting a website/etc. Just the basics. I have  a lot of experience and knowledge in PHP though.

Ok, my problem:

My Dedicated Server (hosted at Singlehop) started slowing down this week. The load on it hasn't changed at all. I have noticed that tasks take 2-5x longer to complete This was not the case a week ago. Now this slow down isn't always there. It only happens randomly throughout the day. It seems at night, sometime after 8PM my time (central US), I get ALL the speed back and more. I used to have this same problem with my VPS over at GoDaddy, but it went away on it's own after couple months of my banging my head against the wall. Back then I thought I was just maxing out my share of the network. Now I no something else was going on as I haven't put any clients on this server yet and it's just me running tests.

I don't know where to begin troubleshooting this at all. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

My server:
Processor: 3.06GHz i3 540
Ram :4 GB
Network: 1Gbps
OS: Centos 5.5 cPanel
Control Panel :cPanel/WHM + FANTAST...
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PiZzL3
Asked:
PiZzL3
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1 Solution
 
de2ZotjesCommented:
Start collecting performance data. At the minimum sar must be installed and activated. Preferably you also install (and activate) a tool like cacti or nagios.

Next time you experience the performance drop you will have a comparison line. And if you installed cacti or nagios you might even find a significant change in one of the graphs.
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D_VanteCommented:
look in "task manager" to see there is a process hog
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
I'm gonna try those RRD Tools as soon as possible.

I can view the WHM "Process Manager" and "Show Current Running Processes". Both of those show my tasks as only consuming 0.2% CPU and 0.7% memory (no matter how many I have running).
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
Is Munin ok? It was in the plugins area of WHM. It looks like it's gonna be pretty cool so far with all the graphs.

I am having a horribly time installing cacti.... their installation guide is sub par at best... the ssh commands are horribly wrong in some areas... I got to the php part and there's a bunch of stuff missing that's not even part of their requirements...
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
I noticed that if I reboot my server, sometimes things will speed right back up. This doesn't always happen though. I would say about 30-50% of the times I try to fix it with a reboot, it works.
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
I 've attached a small network graph. I don't understand why it's doing this. It's a 1Gbps connection... but the speed varies dramatically all day... It acts like a cellphone... My $30/month Godaddy VPS continues to outperform my $250/month Singlehop dedicated server...
eth0-day.png
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de2ZotjesCommented:
That network graph  shows the bandwidth you are actually using. There is nothing in that graph that spells trouble to me. Just a box that is not loaded with network traffic at all. (max 8mbit on a 1bgit interface is nothing)

Now that you have some measurements in place, what tasks are taking longer to complete? (from the original question: I have noticed that tasks take 2-5x longer to complete)

And is the box now in a fast or slow cycle? (to find out what baseline the measurements are giving)
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
I have a test script that runs about 2500 XML http requests. This script should complete in about 8-11 minutes (that was the case when I first got the server and how it is on my VPS). Now it takes (only on the DS) 14-40 minutes to do the same exact task. I've got a bunch of charts now with the munin monitor. What should I look at? I don't really know what a normal graph should look like for most of it. Thanks for the help!
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
What do you mean by fast or slow cycle?
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
I forgot to add this:

I loaded up about 5-6 test script while things were being slow the other day and things got faster for a little bit and then some of the test scripts crashed. I don't know why more load would make them go faster...
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de2ZotjesCommented:
You do run these testscripts from the dedicated server? Requesting data from the local http server?

I asked about slow or fast to figure out whether the machine was in one of it's slow periods when you started monitoring
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
Yes, dedicated server with specs in original post. The script pulls from a remote source.

I don't wanna jinx it, maybe I'm having a lucky day, but I think it's fixed.

I've been reading a ton about apache tuning and other server stuff and some people had issues if their dns was messed up. So I went into WHM and re-did all things DNS related and SO FAR... everything is back up to speed.. I guess I can kinda see how bad dns settings would mess stuff up... kinda like a bad phone number..

If it's still going good tomorrow morning, I'll post here with a confirmation of the fix.

Thanks for all the help!
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
So far everything is going great (24+ hours now) since I re-did all the DNS settings. I appreciate all the help I got during my trouble shooting process. Thanks!!
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PiZzL3Author Commented:
Please state your reason for accepting your own comment as the solution:

I discovered my DNS settings were messed up and fixed them myself.
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