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Question: How can I track down the source of excessive resource usage on a Joomla site and fix it? Any tips or suggestions?


Details: My client's host keeps advising of excessive resource usage on his account. I have scanned the Joomla installation (3.6.5 - I will be updating to 3.7 shortly) using MyJoomla and the site does not appear hacked. There are very few extensions installed and any that are or very reputable, i.e K2, Akeeba etc and all are upto date as is the Joomla installation. I have disabled the none core extensions and the usage was still high (apparently).

The logs that were sent from the host all seem to be files which are not related to Joomla and that I cannot find in the clients account at all. For example:

/etc/httpd/domlogs/domain.com:222.180.162.81 - - [28/Apr/2017:18:24:25 -0700] "POST //plus/myjs.php HTTP/1.1" 200 - "http://www.domain.com//plus/myjs.php" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1)"

Edit: I have just checked the access logs also and the highest number of hits come from the following:

The following are the most prevalent IP's visiting the site in April, the numbers show the number of visits from that IP:

2380 panscient.com
2617 MobileSafari/602.1 CFNetwork/811.4.18 Darwin/16.5.0
2825 MobileSafari/602.1 CFNetwork/808.3 Darwin/16.3.0
2951 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36
3418 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/52.0
3529 Safari/12602.4.8 CFNetwork/807.2.14 Darwin/16.4.0 (x86_64)
3627 Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_2_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/602.4.6 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14D27 Safari/602.1
3699 Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/56.0.2924.87 Safari/537.36
4184 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36
4204 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)
4211 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
4554 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; AhrefsBot/5.2; +http://ahrefs.com/robot/)
4629 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36
4807 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; BLEXBot/1.0; +http://webmeup-crawler.com/)
6054 Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.133 Safari/537.36
6327 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko
8363 Mozilla/5.0+(compatible; UptimeRobot/2.0; http://www.uptimerobot.com/)
9994 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:40.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/40.1
10027 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; SemrushBot/1.2~bl; +http://www.semrush.com/bot.html)
14472 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; DotBot/1.1; http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/dotbot, help@moz.com)
133603 Java/1.8.0_121
258151 Mozilla/5.0

These were sorted using the mac terminal, the most concerning being the last 2 lines where it isn't actually clear who/what has been visiting wither 258251 from Mozialla/5.0. I'm going to look at block DotBot and the SEMRush bot but these are nothing in comparison to the last 2.

The host is not very good with responding to support requests, I do not even think they read the replies throughly to be honest. Nor do they keep their server software up to date, (still running php 5.6.28) and have ignored any questions I have put to them about why this isn't running 5.6.30. If they cannot even update PHP what else may not be up to date?

Anyway, has anyone else experienced anything like this before? I'm running out of ideas and feel this may be related to the host server and nothing at all to do with the Joomla installation.

Your comments/experiences with this sort of thing would be most appreciated. Anything at all really, even if it is host related and nothing to do with Joomla.

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I started to comment, but it became somewhat large for a comment, so I am posting it here:

These access logs are meaningless - I guess that the resource usage warnings appear somewhere in the hosting panel, and it's not something the hosting support staff reported. If it's the latter then cooperate with them for the issue.

if it's a message you get in the hosting panel, you can still ask for some help from the hosting provider.

If they are not very supportive and you feel they don't fulfill your requirements, then you can look for a new provider.

As for the resource usage issue itself, this usually comes from the database. Likely you have heavy/slow executing queries or too many. Sometimes this may be also something in the php - a bad written script.

In any case (even if you change hosting provider, or move to a bigger server), you should investigate this. It needs debugging and some experience/knowledge to identify and properly fix such issues.

  • It was an automated email from the webhost - the client is adamant he does not want to change host, which is what I advised as they do not seem to know what they are doing. – Dtorr1981 May 2 '17 at 9:52
  • @Dtorr1981. Even if the hosting is good or bad, you need to go deeper and investigate the possibility of having a resources consuming backend, as a such website would be problematic everywhere. Also, if you make sure that it isn't the website that has the problem, then it's easier to convince the customer to change the hosting provider as long as you backup this with proofs. The CDN suggestion from Paul Raver below is something you can consider as well - it can help up to a level. – FFrewin May 2 '17 at 10:02
  • As an update, I'm still having issues - there are a lot of hits coming from the User Agent Java/1.8.0_121 - I have no idea what this is, do you know anything about it? – Dtorr1981 May 13 '17 at 16:42
  • @Dtorr1981, I guess if you have an issue it can't go without trying to fix it. Have you tried to debug? Stop hunting the hits, as this is something very common. Of course you can reduce their impact and save on resources if you use CDNs - or various security scripts or services - but the big deal is to identify what makes your website heavy (if there is anything). – FFrewin May 13 '17 at 17:04
  • I've turned on Debug and the pages only seem to have around 30 queries which I believe is about average - We've moved to another server running PHP 7 over the last few days there have been hundreds of core.xxxxx files logged - assumingly relating to an unfinished process. I'm now trying to figure out how to decipher these. I'm really running at a loss...but perservering none the same :) – Dtorr1981 May 13 '17 at 17:16
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Yo, check out a DNS solution while it would not track the issue it would reduce your server load and will boost your SEO score greatly. I am using CloudFlare.com on my Joomla site.

I am seeing bots running on your site you can either block those bots what could block other bots and reduce your site visibility.

  • Do you mean "CDN" rather than "DNS"? – Neil Robertson May 2 '17 at 3:29
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    Ah yes sorry it is CDN I am working on it now and got the acronyms twisted! – Paul Raver May 2 '17 at 8:19
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You've mentioned Akeeba on the list of your extensions. Whenever you make use of Akeeba it takes up huge amount of resource to backup your site.

If you are using it too frequently, you may consider sober gaps to avoid such scenarios.

Also if the site does not require frequent backups i.e. does not update very frequently, I would recommend you take backup weekly once only.

Please check this and confirm.

  • Thanks Syed, no Akeeba doesn't run very often so I dont think it is that. – Dtorr1981 May 13 '17 at 16:41

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