Why were my processes killed on my shared server?



This article describes the process monitor service that runs on all DreamHost Shared Hosting plans and how to resolve website issues related to it.

This monitor service only runs on Shared hosting plans. VPS, Dedicated, and DreamPress hosting plans do not share these resource limitations.

How this service works

The monitor service kills processes using too much processor-power and/or memory for a Shared hosting environment. This is necessary to prevent processes, both bad and good, from consuming resources that may negatively affect other users on the same server.

User and account resources

Each website user and account has a specific amount of resources allocated. All user processes run via Shell or FTP are counted together. This includes:

  • website activity
  • running scripts
  • shell commands

When the limits are hit, the user's scripts are killed.

What happens when processes are killed?

This may result in a website running slow or completely going down. After the scripts are killed off, they can begin running again normally. As long as they do not hit the memory limits again, your site will automatically start working again.

Your site would stay down only if your processes continually hit limits. Contact technical support if this happens to your site.

How to resolve issues

The following are a few things that you can check in order to resolve any issues that occur.

Checking your error.log

Check your site's error log file to confirm if the process was killed. Look for the following:

  • killed
  • Premature end of script headers

The log entries may not be very clear, so if you would like to confirm if your scripts are being killed, contact support on the Contact Support page. Make sure you have several log entries available for support to troubleshoot for you.

Checking your memory consumption

The easiest way to avoid having your processes killed for excessive memory usage is to make them use less memory. The monitor service tracks memory usage across all processes you are running, not just one individual process, so you may run into memory limits prematurely if you have a number of PHP processes running at the same time. 

View the following articles for help identifying and lowering your memory consumption to avoid hitting resource limits in the future:

Upgrading your hosting plan

If you've gone through all troubleshooting suggestions and find the memory consumption is still hitting the shared server's limits, the only option is to upgrade your hosting plan. The first step would be to upgrade to a VPS.

See also

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