Poor server performance on capable machine


My client’s server has recently started having performance issues. The single website hosted on the server loads very slowly. It is built with WordPress using a custom theme. There are a minimum amount of plugins installed, and none were added in the last few weeks when the performance issues began.

The server has 2 CPUs and 2GB of memory. The server stack is LAMP with Ubuntu 20.04 and PHP FPM. All of the installed software is kept up to date.

Both of the CPUs constantly use more than 80% while running the WordPress site.

The free -m command returns the following: Total 1983, Used 1734, Free 64, Shared 132, Buff/Cache 184, and Available 12.

Rebooting the server temporarily resolves these issues.

Redis Server is installed for object caching. No other caching or optimization plugins are currently installed on the server or in WordPress.

Any suggestions on how to address these issues?

I am novice server administrator, but keen to learn.


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Site Moderator
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February 22, 2023

Hello @clientsfsc

I will recommend to examine if any of the WordPress plugins are causing the extra resource usage on the droplet. Sometimes a faulty plugin can consume a lot of memory or cause CPU usage spikes.

You can monitor the droplet resource usage using top and other tools. We have a tutorial that covers this process here:


Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
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February 21, 2023

Hi there,

It looks like that you are running quite close to the memory and CPU limits. It might be worth adding some extra resources like RAM and CPU to that Droplet.

Other suggestions would also include:

  • Add a swap file to have some extra memory buffer:

  • Add a caching plugin like WP super cache or WP rocket. That way you will reduce the overall load on the server itself
  • Use a CDN like Cloudflare
  • Check what processes exactly are using most of the memory and CPU and possibly try to tweak those services for better performance
  • Use Wordfence to quickly do a scan of your website to verify that there is no malware that could be causing the problem. You can remove the Wordfence plugin after the scan as it tends to slow the website.

Let me know how it goes!



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