We lease a dedicated server with the following specs:

Dual Hyperthreaded Quad Core


750gb RAID1

We recently upgraded from a Dual Core/2GB RAM due to server load issues. We are now unfortunately having the same issues.

Every hour on the hour, we receive around 25 or so lfd emails:

Time:         Mon Oct 17 06:01:08 2011 -0700
Account:      account
Resource:     Process Time
Exceeded:     1177340 > 1800 (seconds)
Executable:   /usr/bin/php
Command Line: /usr/bin/php /home/account/public_html/site/wp-comments-post.php
PID:          26661
Killed:       No

Every one of these refers to a Wordpress page, yet we have over 600 sites using wordpress hosted vs 10-20 other. At the same time, PHP is installed as CGI, which I've heard can be resource intensive.

What is causing this excessive usage? OR How can I pinpoint the issue in the logs?

  • Well,you're seeing a likely culprit in the E-Mail: /wp-comments-post.php. Is that page being called excessively? Are you being spammed with comments? Remember that spam filters may send every comment to an external web service
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:42
  • That's what we thought, but we are getting 25 different emails from 25 different sites every hour on the hour.
    – Korvin Szanto
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:44
  • 4
    Let me check that in my crystal ball...
    – webarto
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:44
  • Maybe that's the rhythm of the notification service? It's probably definitely worth researching further... Other than that, this really needs more info, or searching the logs for a possible cause. I don't think anybody can give good advice based on just that E-Mail.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:44
  • What am I looking for in the logs?
    – Korvin Szanto
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


Our sysadmins are not competent. We've asked them to look into it before and they've said they can't find the cause.

Not to sound harsh, but you may need new sysadmins then. You may get lucky and get a good guess from someone here, but finding the root cause for stuff like this often takes time, lots of sniffing around in the logs, and a lot of experience - i.e. what a good sysadmin has and does. This may not an issue that can be resolved on a Q&A site.

To offer a blind guess: It could be that you are being systematically spammed with an awful lot of comments. Those comments, is my guess, all cause a request to the Akismet API, which will filter out most of them but it will cost an API request every time anyway, costing lots and lots of CPU time.

Whether this is true, you should be able to find out in Wordpress's control panel. It says somewhere (I can't remember where exactly) how many comments where filtered out using Akismet's API. If that number is insanely high, it's a possible culprit.

  • That's what I assumed, and it seems to be true for the most part. Thanks for helping out. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 15:41
  • @Korvin you're welcome. You can try turning Akismet off for a while to see whether my guess is right... if you don't mind cleaning up the mess if it is
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 15:48

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