VPS constant Reboots

I switched from shared hosting to a VPS about a month ago. I’ve ratcheted up my allocated RAM from 300 to 600 MB in an attempt to solve an issue that has been persistent from the first week of VPS. I get constant e-mails from Dreamhost that my server has been rebooted. I get one every 24-48 hours, sometimes I make it 3 days.

First off… emails that start like this:

“Nobody likes to hear that they’ve packed on a few pounds, but we wanted you to hear it from a friend.”

Make me want to scream. My site hasn’t packed on a few pounds and the robot sending me this e-mail is definitely not my friend. I so wish the email just said “attention: reboot at X:XX because memory reached XXX MB.” Wouldn’t that be better?

I know many others have fought and struggled with this same issue. The graphs show nothing, typically my site uses way less RAM than I have access to. Has anyone solved it? My site gets 3,000-5,000 visits a week (16-17K/month, so not a huge site). And I can get the reboots on any day of the week at any time of the day. So during 1,000 visit days and 300 visit days. At 6 am, 9 am, 4 pm, all over the place.

I’ve followed all the recommendations from Dreamhost (w3 cache, get rid of widgets, changed from CGI PHP (5.3) to 5.2 to fast and back again, streamlined everything I can do, etc.) and seen no change from Dreamhost’s end. On the plus side my site now runs faster and slimmer. Though that has no effect on the reboot frequency. Argh! Where do I look next?

I’m at wits end. I would love any help anyone has to offer. Have people solved this? Thanks!
Not sure if this would be a factor, but I have two sites on the VPS, the second probably gets less than a hundred visits a month. And I think that’s optimistic. Could get even way less (I’m not monitoring it). It’s not a wordpress site. Just a tiny static site for a small architecture firm.

Move back to Shared.

really? Hadn’t thought of that. I was having a real struggle on shared as well. Though perhaps my tweaks have fixed those issues…

Why would shared be better? Really appreciate your comments.

have you tried PSManager? He also has PSRebooter and another new one, all great tools to help with your VPS RAM issues.

Also, what are you running your website with? WordPress, Joomla, …?

Well it depends on your website of course, but chances are that you probably didn’t need VPS in the first place. Your initial problem may well have just been something called “WordPress”. Now that you’ve spent time to apply caching correctly (and maybe removed some unnecessary and crappy plug-ins) then shared could quite possibly be suitable once again. Couldn’t be any worse than a VPS with cache-creep that forces reboots at indeterminate times.

WordPress. Sorry about not mentioning that. I haven’t tried PSManager or PSRebooter. I’m aware of both, but hesitant to go that direction. Using them seems like a workaround to the actual problem. To be honest the reboots don’t take long and I’m sure it’s not really affecting anyone but my own mindset. Also my traffic is fairly global, so there’s no one good time for a reboot, especially since I’d have to set it to reboot daily. Midnight here is bright and sunny in Australia and New Zealand where i have a fair amount of readers… So regular reboots might as well be random, but I’d rather just not have them!

I actually had my first spike and reboot happen during the trial week where i had 2400 mb of ram. So I’m fearful that the PSManager would keep my site cranked up too high.

But you’re right, I haven’t looked into those yet. I’ll do some more research and hopefully assuage my worries.

true. true. would love to understand the root of the cache-creep though. Just an issue with wordpress? That in itself would be comforting news.

A few more things to check:
cache enabled on your VPS?
disable ALL of your Wordpress plugins, see if the reboots stop, and if so re-enable plugins one by one to find the guilty party.
there were a few plugins I was using that caused some pretty big RAM usage spikes in my VPS. One I just got rid of and the other I found a replacement that did cause overage on my RAM usage.

PSRebooter is a band-aid. PSManager is a way to save you money, since it adjusts your site as the RAM is needed , so you don’t have to leave it at maximum all the time…leave it at minimum and it auto-adjusts as your site demands it…works a treat!

Cache is enabled. I’ve been working through the plugins. The one remaining one to try disabling is jetpack, which I’m just dragging my feet on while I search out some other avenues. I have a question about PSManager, can it handle random spikes? Or does it need to be able to see the rise in demand over a period of time?


Altering memory allocation is not instantaneous so you need a constant buffer anyway. A bona fide spike is going to swallow any temporary allowance or token buffer.

Why did you need Jetpack?

reg’d to say I just cancelled my VPS because of this.

you have isuses and terrible product design when you tell your mid-range customers that they need to be ok with the service provider restarting their virtual instance whenever you use too much memory.

this sort of thinking reminds me of sysadmin’s in 2001. tl;dr go use a real virtualized instance elswhere.