Server hiccups

  • The title's not a very technical term but it's the best I can describe what's happening.

    Firstly, I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about what pfsense handles but my family seems to think I can fix their problems (running pfsense on a lan for 3 apartment buildings).

    Lately, I've been able to handle some things pretty well like setting up traffic shaping and load balancing. But lately after the server went down due to power outage the server has been going down almost consistently from 8:00pm to 12:00am. I poked around today and while the server didn't die, it started 'hiccuping'. By that I mean for about 1-5 minutes, I can connect to the web frontend and load websites and then everything will stop. Nothing will load and eventually time out (even trying to ssh), and the graphs and usage monitors on the index of the frontend will stop moving or show "undefined". Then, maybe 5-10 minutes later things will work and repeat itself. I believe this started happening around the time when I was asked to make better use of load balancing and was poking around that, but honestly it's been a long day trying to get this working like before.

    Someone other than me set up everything prior (I believe one of the ISPs) so I don't have a clear vision of everything but I'll tell you what I know.

    Server information:
    built on Sun Dec 6 23:21:36 EST 2009
    FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE-p5 i386

    CPU Type
    Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5400 @ 2.70GHz

    DNS server(s)

    2GB memory

    All the usages are low.

    3 wans (1 4Mbps, 2 8Mbps) and 1 lan (out to the buildings).

    I'm not sure where to start troubleshooting this.

    I hope someone can help me and thanks in advance.

  • After a little more experimenting it looks like it might be one of the routers could be causing the hiccups. Going to test it with another router when I get a spare one and see how that goes.

  • I recently experienced weird behaviours in CARP, PPTP and more. It now turns out that all problems are related to 1 component in my network: the switch.
    I think I can safely say that unstableness is not something that would come from pfSense ;)

  • I have been facing mysterious server hangs recently, and it doesn't always happen during high usage, the thing could die without anything touching it, or it could survive a peak usage lunch break.

    When it died, it just died, ping timeout, the console frozen, even the crontabbed auto-reboot script failed to execute.

    A reboot will fix it but it will come back again.

    Recently I have got another rig and swapped in one of the server which has been hanging like hell, it has been running for about a week till now without any issue(at least from my point of view).

    Therefore, I too agree with Peter, if it is something wrong, check the a) network, b) hardware.


    Check out the latest post in my thread:,34563.0.html

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