MySql Proccesslist filled with “Sleep” Entries leading to “Too many Connections”?

I’d like to ask your help on a longstanding issue with php/mysql connections.

Every time I execute a “SHOW PROCESSLIST” command it shows me about 400 idle (Status: Sleep) connections to the database Server emerging from our 5 Webservers.

That never was much of a problem (and I didn’t find a quick solution) until recently traffic numbers increased and since then MySQL reports the “to many connections” Problems repeatedly, even so 350+ of those connections are in “sleep” state. Also a server can’t get a MySQL connection even if there are sleeping connection to that same server.

All those connections vanish when an apache server is restated.

The PHP Code used to create the Database connections uses the normal “mysql” Module, the “mysqli” Module, PEAR::DB and Zend Framework Db Adapter. (Different projects). NONE of the projects uses persistent connections.

Raising the connection-limit is possible but doesn’t seem like a good solution since it’s 450 now and there are only 20-100 “real” connections at a time anyways.

My question:

Why are there so many connections in sleep state and how can I prevent that?

— Update:

The Number of Apache requests running at a time never exceeds 50 concurrent requests, so i guess there is a problem with closing the connection or apache keeps the port open without a phpscript attached or something (?)

my.cnf in case it’s helpful:

innodb_buffer_pool_size = 1024M

max_allowed_packet = 5M
net_buffer_length = 8K

read_buffer_size = 2M
read_rnd_buffer_size = 8M

query_cache_size = 512M
myisam_sort_buffer_size = 128M

max_connections = 450
thread_cache = 50
key_buffer_size = 1280M
join_buffer_size = 16M

table_cache = 2048
sort_buffer_size = 64M
tmp_table_size = 512M
max_heap_table_size = 512M

thread_concurrency = 8

log-slow-queries = /daten/mysql-log/slow-log
long_query_time = 1

innodb_additional_mem_pool_size = 64M
innodb_log_file_size = 64M
innodb_log_buffer_size = 8M
innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit = 2


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

Basically, you get connections in the Sleep state when :

  • a PHP script connects to MySQL
  • some queries are executed
  • then, the PHP script does some stuff that takes time
    • without disconnecting from the DB
  • and, finally, the PHP script ends
    • which means it disconnects from the MySQL server

So, you generally end up with many processes in a Sleep state when you have a lot of PHP processes that stay connected, without actually doing anything on the database-side.

A basic idea, so : make sure you don’t have PHP processes that run for too long — or force them to disconnect as soon as they don’t need to access the database anymore.

Another thing, that I often see when there is some load on the server :

  • There are more and more requests coming to Apache
    • which means many pages to generate
  • Each PHP script, in order to generate a page, connects to the DB and does some queries
  • These queries take more and more time, as the load on the DB server increases
  • Which means more processes keep stacking up

A solution that can help is to reduce the time your queries take — optimizing the longest ones.

Method 2

The above solutions like run a query

SET session wait_timeout=600;

Will only work until mysql is restarted. For a persistant solution, edit mysql.conf and add after [mysqld]:

interactive_timeout = 300

Where 300 is the number of seconds you want.

Method 3

Increasing number of max-connections will not solve the problem.

We were experiencing the same situation on our servers. This is what happens

User open a page/view, that connect to the database, query the database, still query(queries) were not finished and user leave the page or move to some other page.
So the connection that was open, will remains open, and keep increasing number of connections, if there are more users connecting with the db and doing something similar.

You can set interactive_timeout MySQL, bydefault it is 28800 (8hours) to 1 hour

SET interactive_timeout=3600

Method 4

Before increasing the max_connections variable, you have to check how many non-interactive connection you have by running show processlist command.

If you have many sleep connection, you have to decrease the value of the “wait_timeout” variable to close non-interactive connection after waiting some times.

  • To show the wait_timeout value:



| Variable_name | Value |


| wait_timeout | 28800 |


the value is in second, it means that non-interactive connection still up to 8 hours.

  • To change the value of “wait_timeout” variable:

SET session wait_timeout=600;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

After 10 minutes if the sleep connection still sleeping the mysql or MariaDB drop that connection.

Method 5

Alright so after trying every solution out there to solve this exact issues on a wordpress blog, I might have done something either really stupid or genius… With no idea why there’s an increase in Mysql connections, I used the php script below in my header to kill all sleeping processes..

So every visitor to my site helps in killing the sleeping processes..

$result = mysql_query("SHOW processlist");
while ($myrow = mysql_fetch_assoc($result)) {
if ($myrow['Command'] == "Sleep") {
mysql_query("KILL {$myrow['Id']}");}

Method 6

So I was running 300 PHP processes simulatenously and was getting a rate of between 60 – 90 per second (my process involves 3x queries). I upped it to 400 and this fell to about 40-50 per second. I dropped it to 200 and am back to between 60 and 90!

So my advice to anyone with this problem is experiment with running less than more and see if it improves. There will be less memory and CPU being used so the processes that do run will have greater ability and the speed may improve.

Method 7

Look into persistent MySQL connections: I connected using mysqli('p:$HOSTNAME') and had Laravel database.php settings like:

'options'   => [

For some reason, for some time, I believed it was smart to keep connections persistent as I thought my applications would share them. They didn’t. They just opened connections and left them unused until they timed out.

After I removed my mad dream of persistency I went from 120-150+ connections from several hosts to only a handful, most of the time actually just one (being the one that runs SHOW PROCESSLIST).

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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