Your Joomla Website Is Really Really Slow? Maybe You Hit the Maximum Number of Apache Clients!

One of our prominent clients is a US racing magazine. The magazine has a Joomla website that discusses everything related to racing, such as Formula 1, Indy 500, NASCAR, etc… The website has a lot of content and receives a substantial amount of visitors. The problem was that during peak hours, the website became very slow!

We optimized the Joomla website, but still, we noticed that as soon as the website reached a couple of hundred simultaneous requests, everything became slower, much, much slower, despite having a load lower than 1. We suspected the firewall, but the host confirmed that there was no bottlenecks at the firewall.

Now what could cause the website to be suddenly slow and non-responsive once it reaches a specific number of requests? It can’t be a Joomla extension, that’s for sure. It might be the firewall (but the host, again, confirmed that the firewall settings were non-problematic), and it can’t be a hack (although we did check whether the website was hacked, just to be sure).

We then asked the host to completely take our client’s server off the firewall, and they did (usually hosts refuse to accommodate this request but our client was just too big), still, the problem was still there and the website was losing visitors and potential advertising revenue.

We spent many hours investigating the problem, until we found out that the server was hitting the Maximum Number of Clients allowed (the value of which is set at the Apache level). Here’s how we found out:

  • We logged in to WHM.
  • We clicked on Server Status and then we we clicked on Apache Status.

  • We saw the following message:256 requests currently being processed, 0 idle workers.

Aha! The server was running out of free workers (or free clients) and that’s why all the other requests were waiting until there are available clients. So, to fix the problem, all that we needed to do was to increase the Maximum Number of Clients setting in Apache (the Maximum Number of Clients is the maximum number of requests [or connections] that the server is allowed to handle simultaneously). Here’s how we did that:

  • We logged in to the WHM Control Panel of the website.
  • We clicked on Server Configuration, and then clicked on Apache Configuration, and finally clicked on Global Configuration.

  • We changed the value of Server Limit from 256 to 512 and we changed the value of Max Clients from 256 to 512.

  • We saved the configuration, rebuilt the main Apache configuration file, and restarted Apache.

  • That fixed the problem.

If your Joomla website slows down dramatically after it reaches a certain number of requests, then it might be that it hit the maximum number of clients. Modify the Max Clients value in your Apache Configuration in WHM and you should be OK. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then please contact us and we’ll investigate the issue and we’ll definitely fix it. Our work is professional, our team is made of experts, and we don’t charge much.

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