Server load isn’t just a value; it is the number of processes waiting in the queue to access the processor. It is generally in an x.xx format with values beginning with 0.00. Over time, the smaller the number, the less processes are waiting thus tying up vital resources. High numbers indicate a significant decrease in server performance.
Location of Server Load
The location of the server load function can usually be found in you web hosting account’s control panel under “Server Status.” This will display the server load value which changes with every refresh of the page. This designates a value that is calculated instantly in real time. The actual server load value is not important. However, knowing how to analyze that value is what’s vital.
What is a Safe Server Load?
It is agreed between all web hosting providers that a server load value of 0.xx is safe. The goal is to keep the value below 1.00 for servers with a single CPU. Those with dual CPU’s should stay below 2.00 and so on. Once reached, users will begin to see problems such as a slow website.
These values are the average number of processes in queue. All servers are slow at times due to backups or abuse of resources. Web hosting providers usually schedule tasks that consume a great deal of resources to run on weekends when traffic is lower. Despite the benchmark values above, there are many single CPU’s powerful enough to function well beyond the 1.00 standard.
The server load value is subjective because not all processes require the same resources to run. Also, some are placed in the queue at different priorities. Low priority processes will be passed by a new server request almost instantly.
The Reality of Server Load
Server load can simply be a number. In the business world, if the page is running smoothly and quickly, then the server load can be 10.00 with a single CPU, the value does not matter. The outcome is the most important aspect of this metric.
Server load is important only if users are having difficulty accessing webpages. The metric is simply a visual way of comparing the current server to the industry standard. As the old saying goes, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” This is true even in the world of servers and web hosting.