understanding server load metrics

Hi all,

I am trying to understand the server load metrics and the relationship between server load and the CPU % graph

My droplet is shared CPU / 4 GB Memory / 2 CPUs $20 per month and it hosts low traffic websites.

Does 2 CPU mean that a server load of up to 2 is ok?

What server load is not ok / should I be worried about?

This screenshot shows that yesterday at 22.00 the server load briefly was nearly 8 - which I think means that the server CPU is overloaded with requests. But at the same time 22.00 the CPU % graph is only about 60%. So why is the server load so high when the CPU % has plenty to spare?


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I usually refer to this article by Brendan Gregg about Linux Load Average:

In short: “Linux load averages are “system load averages” that show the running thread (task) demand on the system as an average number of running plus waiting threads”

Some interpretations, also by Brendan Gregg, in the same article:

  • If the averages are 0.0, then your system is idle.
  • If the 1 minute average is higher than the 5 or 15 minute averages, then load is increasing.
  • If the 1 minute average is lower than the 5 or 15 minute averages, then load is decreasing.
  • If they are higher than your CPU count, then you might have a performance problem (it depends).

The % CPU [Server_name] graph of the Report panel shows the relation between the number of virtual users, the % CPU server-side metric and the test execution time. In other words, it shows how many users were simulated and how many percent of the elapsed time the processor spent to execute non-idle threads at any given moment of the test run.