Currently I am renting out a VPS (need the IP address location) and I simply need it for broswing the web. I choose to have Ubuntu installed as I assumed it would be the easiest. The admin helped with installing X windows and a VNC server to be able to access the client, and use the web browser. Although I signed up for the 512MB plan and burstable to 1GB although it kept crashing, so it kept getting it pushed until now and it is almost stable at around 2GB and up to 4GB burstable. Well via ssh or the Ubuntu System resource monitor both say it is hovering around 2.2-2.5GB always in use. And I believe I am running into an issue where the burstable ram is not available and my server crashes.

I just feel like 2+GB is a lot when I only need a client that I can access (view the desktop) and use a web browser - most will do. Although I need a solution that uses less ram, as I am only testing with the 2-4GB of ram and would like to go back to the cheaper plan.

The admin said that the X windows is consuming most of the resources although I look at the top -c and it only looks like it is using around 1% of the RAM, firefox, is consuming the most around 8% but that is only 300MB.. (correcnt me if I am wrong).

Really I am not sure what is eating or leaking my memory. See attachments.

Attachments Ubuntu_System_resources.PNG 162.11 KB root_ssh,_top-c.PNG 76.4 KB Ubuntu_Resources_2.PNG 88.64 KB
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Last Post by iamthwee

Current Ubuntu distributions by default will require about 2GB or more of RAM. You can install versions of Ubuntu (or Debian/Mint) that use less, or other Linux distributions that are designed to run "lean and mean". That said, your browser itself will take anywhere from 200MB to 2+GB of RAM, assuming you use something like Firefox or Chrome. For example, my Chrome instance, with 4 tabs open, uses about 700MB. The basic OS + GUI (Red Hat 6.4 + gnome 2.x) takes about 600MB. My current RAM usage (running Chrome, VLC to stream some music) and file browser is about 1.3GB.


I already knew that the browser would consume that much. I guess it is just Ubuntu itself. Just I assumed when it was installed with a given 512, it would use under that (then firefox probably crashes it). I do think the burstable ram is giving me the headache though as it thinks it has more ram then it actually "does". Since if I have "up" to 1GB, the system reports 1GB and tries to use it, although it then is not available and crashes when it expects to get it. Not sure if that is possible or "how it works" but that is my hypothesis.

Then what do you recommend as a "lean and mean" OS? Like Cent or something?- I have never used it, and do not even know it can tunnel a browser.. as I DO need to be able to use a browser w/ vnc (it is the whole point). Linux is not my strong suit currently, but always glad to learn.

Edited by mah300274


What consumes most RAM (besides the browser) is the desktop environment as a whole. Ubuntu's latest versions that have Unity and all the latest bells and whistles that come with it is on the heavier side when it comes to Linux desktop environments. This definitely does not sound like something you would want to have on a VPS, especially if you are mostly using it for browsing. Things like media / file indexing, flashy desktop effects, nice software suite, and lots of software running in the background for various little features are all things you don't need. Ubuntu is more in the category of "Windows replacement", as in, a complete user-friendly, nice-looking, feature-rich OS that you can use as your primary OS for day-to-day work and leisure.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu is a pretty bad place to start. I imagine it will be a bit hard to strip it down to the "lean and mean". When it comes to lightweight desktop environments, the main candidates are LXDE and Xfce. There are Ubuntu fork-distributions for these environments, Lubuntu and Xubuntu, respectively. Installing either of those instead of Ubuntu would have been a lot better. But to have a truly lightweight Linux installation (that still has a graphical interface), it is probably preferrable to start with a minimal distribution like Debian, and then install the individual things that you need. It seem many people do exactly that for their VPS systems. See instructions here for Debian + LXDE + VNC and here for Debian + Xfce + VNC. A minimal desktop environment can run with around 40 to 60 Mb of RAM. And Ubuntu is a Debian-based distribution, and you can install LXDE / Xfce on top of it, but I'm not sure it will be as lightweight, you might have to do quite a bit of stripping it down (removing packages) to get something equivalent to a bare Debian installation + LXDE / Xfce.

So, if you can install a new OS on your VPS, either go for a minimal distribution like Debian and build it up from there, installing a lightweight desktop environment and then only the individual packages you need (browser, etc.). Or, go with a distribution that is designed to be lightweight, such as Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Puppy Linux, Xfce / LXDE spins of Fedora, etc.. A fresh install of most of these should use around 100MB of RAM.

Edited by mike_2000_17: correciton


Alright, thanks for the info. I may just have to get Debian installed. And it is not the new Ubuntu, it is Server 11.04, 32-bit. But I know it is still consuming a lot. I will see if the admin can just install another OS onto the VPS.


And if you REALLY want to go minimal, try to install Gentoo! You can configure it to ONLY install the components (drivers included) that you need. However, expect a week of sundays to get up to speed on its peculiarities! :-)


I'm using ubuntu 11.04 but I then downgraded to xfce from the terminal at the mo is using 325mb of 2gb in memory usage. The latest version of ubuntu is a beast. Debian is always a good compromise, but if you just need it for browsing the web alone you could go Slax, DSL, puppy etc.

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