This morning yet another "Why is my load average so high?" question popped up in the Vote to close queue.

I've seen this question asked 80 different ways since I joined a couple years ago, this must but a duplicate.

But I can't seem to find one that seems to be canonical. Is there a canonical question for load averages? Anyone have a suggested candidate?

2 Answers 2


I propose we convert this to a proper Canonical Linux Load Average question:

How to understand the memory usage and load average in linux server

Suggestions? Questions? Catcalls from the Peanut Gallery in the Comms Room?

  • I'd rather see a question that's just about load average (since we already have one about memory usage that links to two other questions with more detail.) Memory usage and Load Average are independent: I can easily create a load average over 1000 while using only a small amount of memory, or chew up all of a machine's RAM while maintaining a load average of near zero...
    – voretaq7
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 1:07
  • Thank you, I'll keep looking.
    – Magellan
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 4:42
  • 3
    nothing wrong with creating one if you don't find any decent ones (it also gives us the opportunity to craft a good, correct answer and pad it with votes which is useful if the answers on the existing questions aren't really great)
    – voretaq7
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 4:53

I'm thinking this would be difficult to accomplish because there's literally hundreds of different reasons/ways that high load averages can result from.

The article Adrian linked is a good start. Explanations on what each average means, some cases of when the load average will spike (actual CPU usage, I/O load, etc) and how to diagnose a high load problem to effectively resolve the problem.

Tagging relavent questions would be a good way to gather some use cases for references when creating the question as well. Maybe something like ?

  • As there are hundred of reasons why, without extended back and forth with an OP it's really difficult to provide a solution hence having a canonical Q&A giving general guidance is a good thing.
    – user9517
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 7:39
  • True. I think the best way would be to find some good questions and cases to have a Q&A built up.
    – Nathan C
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 12:47

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