AOL effectively DDoS'ing our site?

We’re on a Dreamhost VPS. It seems like every time someone visits from AOL, we get hammered with 5-10 requests a second from multiple IPs, all resolving to * This causes our server to run out of memory and other users get 500 Internal Server Errors until the Apache processes time out.

Anyone else dealt with this problem? Are there any solutions besides blocking all of AOL? We could turn KeepAlive off, but wouldn’t that adversely affect the site’s performance for everyone else?

How much memory is each request using? how many requests are being served at any one time? 5-10 requests per second doesn’t seem like that much if the requests are for things like small images that a web page might load and that only take a fraction of a second to serve. So I think I would focus on why each request is using up so much memory. Is the website static html? php? Since you are on VPS maybe some unused apache modules can be left out of the configuration to save memory. Is AOL perhaps requesting some common file names that don’t exist on the website and the website is serving up dynamically generated 404s or similar error pages?