CPU running at constant 30%. Three php5-fpm processes. Why?

Posted January 27, 2018 3.1k views

DO sent me a CPU alert. I checked top and I see this for about 45 minutes now:

18460 www-data  20   0  365576  81912  46836 S 21.2  8.0   2:35.30 php5-fpm
17378 www-data  20   0  347680  70084  52800 S 11.0  6.9  10:53.50 php5-fpm
18210 www-data  20   0  352256  72728  50884 S 10.0  7.1  10:14.65 php5-fpm

This is a web server running a few WordPress and Drupal sites.

I’ve checked Google Analytics and my visitors are not high for any site, there is never more than 1 or 2 online at a time according to Google Analytics Real Time reporting. Usually there are 0 users at any given time.

What should I do?

Is there any way I can see what is causing these specific PHP processes? Like which script or site somehow? I’m not sure how to diagnose this. My server has been running for 3 years, I always keep it updated, I’ve never had this happen and nothing out of the ordinary appears to be going on.

EDIT: I just updated a few plugins that had recent new versions on my 3 WordPress sites and the CPU usage immediately dropped to 0% or 0.3% as it is usually. Does it make sense that somehow a pending update would cause the CPU usage to spike for over an hour?


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2 answers

Hi @Jasonrj,

The php5-fpm processes are most probably connected to connections to your websites. Most probably these connections happen because there are people browsing your websites.

You can of course track this by using the netstat command

netstat -punta

This will show you all current IP addresses connected, on which port and what type of a request they are actually doing.

Additionally, the CPU load being 20% or 30% is actually pretty okay if you are running an application on it.