Apache randomly crashing

Hi there,

At a random time today (not necessarily around peak times) Apache crashed. Nobody on our server (it’s privately owned by a couple of people) has changed anything significantly on their web sites (i.e. added new resource intensive features, etc).

On the server status page, it read this:

37.6 requests/sec - 195.7 kB/second - 5.2 kB/request
32 requests currently being processed, 229 idle workers
___.W.____W_W____W___W___W..__C______..W_._CW_____W________W_W_C
___.___________W_.________._______._.._C_C____W.W.____W_______W_
_____.__.____________._C_.__C__._________.__.__________________W
.____._.______W_________._____._________WC.W_____.....__CW____._
___________W.W____._________.________.____._....................
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Question: should there be that many "W"s? Is my Apache configuration optimal? I do not have KeepAlive on. Should it be on? We have like 15 gigs of memory and plenty of space + CPU (8 cores), so I doubt it’s because the server simply can’t handle the requests…

Apache conf:

[list][]server limit: 1024
[
]max clients: 300
[]start servers: 180
[
]spare servers (min): 120
[]spare servers (max): 220
[
]max requests / server: 9000
[]timeout: 15
[
]keepalive: off
[]keepalive requests: 100
[
]keepalive timeout: 15[/list]

My control panel server graph jumped like this:

So, could this be explained simply by a normal influx of traffic? I am just not sure what’s going on here… but I can’t keep having Apache crashing.

I hope that this is enough information; feel free to ask any clarifying questions if I haven’t provided enough. This is just so random.

Thanks in advanced.

That is correct. There is no error that appears before the crash.

I assume given all you’ve posted here, that you read through Apache’s logs and the system logs, and there was nothing there at the time of the crash?

Is there a lot of incoming traffic from a single IP address or a range of IP addresses that coincide with the crashing of Apache?

It appears to be a range of IPs. Is it possible that this is simply a DDoS?

How many IPs are in that range?