My VPS has suddenly become unreliable

I host about a hundred sites here with DreamHost. Of those, I have almost twenty or so that I’ve moved to a managed VPS because they require a slightly higher level of responsiveness when compared to shared hosting. All has been well until recently. In the last month, the sites on the server have “frozen.” The first time it happened, I rebooted the server via the admin panel and all was well.

The second time it froze I contacted support so they could figure out what happened. I was down for an hour or two before support did whatever they did and I was back online. Then five days later, my VPS websites froze up yet again. Once more, I contacted support, this time via a chat session after allowing them an hour to work on it after I submitted the ticket. The tech rebooted the server and followed up later with an explanation that the HTTPS services had a configuration error which they repaired. We shall see.

What I’m doing with the VPS isn’t fancy. For the most part, it’s just basic WordPress sites. I’ve used only a third of the available disk space. In my experience with random monitoring, the CPU load is never more than two percent. So I have to wonder what’s happened? Since I’m not allowed root access, I have to rely on the automated tools to properly configure and manage the VPS.

So this is, at least in part, a rant because I’m frustrated because something that looks okay over which I have no control has suddenly become unreliable. Perhaps there was fairly recent software update that has introduced problems. Has anyone else experienced similar issues? Are there suggestions as to what I can to do get better insight on the problems? I manage other servers at Digital Ocean for other clients with more complex websites and prefer the turnkey approach that DreamHost provides. I’d rather not have to spend the time to migrate away. But if I can’t rely on it, I have to go.

Ideas?

You mention low disk/cpu usage, but what about memory usage? When I tried a small memory VPS, it seemed far too easy to bork the system by running out of memory.

That’s typically low as well. I just checked and the panel info says that it’s about 14% in use. I’m able to SSH in to the command line and look via top. About 1GB of the 2GB of RAM provided is in use at the moment. Should it hang again, I’ll look at that.