If you have grown up using Microsoft Windows on your desktop or laptop, you are probably accustomed to the universal solution to most problems: reboot. When your screen freezes, reboot. If your system gets slow, reboot. That is the standard solution that even tech experts often dish out to common users. As a server administrator, however, you are automatically not a common user. You have a higher standard. The following are some things you can try on a Linux or Unix server before rebooting.
1. Check running processes and kill the offensive one. Many times the problem with your server may be a runaway process. Using “top”, “ps” or some other monitoring tool, you can find out what is causing problems and then use “kill” to remove it.
2. Optimize – If your problem is sluggishness, you might have databases or scripts that are too resource hungry. Try optimizing them. Otherwise, even after you reboot, those same issues will eventually creep up again.
3. Run security checks – It is very possible that if your server is not running well, someone might have breached the security. Run some intrusion detection checks, vulnerability scans and anything else you can do to check your system’s integrity. A reboot may actually exacerbate the problem.
If all else fails and your system has completely locked up, rebooting may be necessary, but it should not be a normal occurrence. After the reboot, check the error logs, update outdated software and try to ensure the problem does not happen again.