Wordpress: Error Establishing a database connection - Vesta CP - Works For 30 Seconds After Reboot

Hello, I have several wordpress sites that have been working great on Digital Ocean up until today.

Now, all sites hosted on Digital Ocean are running into “Error Establishing a Database Connection”. (Similar sites I have not using Digital Ocean are just fine.)

When I reboot my droplet, I can connect and do anything I want on the sites for around 30 seconds - and then the database error reappears.

I am using Vesta CP (Vesta Control Panel). At the beginning of this problem I double-checked the username/password etc. for the databases that would also be located in the wp-config.php file. While the sites are down, it also shows “error connecting to localhost”.

Vesta CP also works for around thirty seconds after a quick reboot.

I created a swap file as shown here.

But the problem still persists. Any ideas?

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@Zac1 - What size is your droplet? If you’re running a 512MB or 1GB with a Control Panel and multiple WordPress installations, you’re likely to run in to this type of scenario. Most control panels are not all that optimized. They are designed to suit the needs of many, not the few and in most cases, certainly not resource-constrained virtual server instances. While cPanel, as an example, will run on a 1GB VPS or Droplet, that doesn’t mean that it’ll run efficiently. Despite ongoing optimizations, cPanel is still a relatively heavy control panel.

I’ve not spent a great deal of time with VestaCP, though if you’re running VestaCP, ClamAV, SpamAssassin, PHP(-FPM/CGI), NGINX, MySQL and let’s just say 2-3 other services, plus throwing a handful of semi-active WordPress installations with around 5-10 plugins each on top of the stack, you’ll need to be able to tune PHP, NGINX and MySQL (to start) along the way. VestCP doesn’t do this for you (nor will any control panel), and most software installs are either direct from the OS repositories or a slightly modified version (configuration wise) that the developers felt was a suitable release candidate (not to place the blame on the developers, there’s not a magic cookie-cutter solution when it comes to optimization or security – they are simply providing a best-effort).

In most cases, the default configurations for PHP, NGINX and MySQL are horrible and pretty much require modification out of the box for stable service on a server that sees even low levels of traffic.

That being said, on the client side, I would advise looking in to a caching plugin and ensuring that either OpCode Cache is enabled in your php.ini file to take full advantage of object caching. The link below compares numerous caching plugins and I would advise giving it a look over entirely before installing any of them.

If object & file caching do not provide a solution, the only true option is going to be diving in to the configuration for PHP, MySQL and NGINX. I will say that, by taking this approach, backup your configuration files first and then modify a copy of them. This way you have a fallback.

Hello all,

This crash is most likely due to your system running out of memory. I’d suggest that you add a swap file to give yourself a bit more of a buffer. Check out this tutorial:

How To Add Swap on Ubuntu 18.04

What you can also do is to use the MySQLTuner script.

The MySQLTuner is a script written in Perl and allows you to quickly test your MySQL configuration and it gives you suggestions for adjustments to increase performance and stability.

According to the official GitHub page, it supports 300 indicators for MySQL/MariaDB/Percona Server in this last version.

To run the script you could do the following:

  • SSH to your Droplet
  • Download the script:
wget -O
  • Then execute it:

The script would run multiple checks against your MySQL instance, all checks done by MySQLTuner are documented here.

Also as stated in the official documentation, it is still extremely important for you to fully understand each change you make to a MySQL database server. If you don’t understand portions of the script’s output, or if you don’t understand the recommendations, you should consult a knowledgeable DBA or system administrator that you trust.

As a good practice make sure to always test your changes on staging environments before implementing them on your production database.

On the same note, if you want to have worry-free MySQL hosting and focus on your application, I would recommend trying out the DigitalOcean Managed Databases:


Hope that this helps! Regards, Alex

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