I have been in a fit all week trying to get this problem figured out. I finally came down to the MaxSpareServers setting in my httpd.cond file. It was set too high for the amount of RAM I have. I need to order some RAM while I am at it. Once I got that tuned it seemed to be working better. Why can’t this be clearer? Looks like PHP is end of life so I will have to check out PHP5.
I think I finally have gotten my Apache problems settled down. I’m not sure what set it off. I made the mistake of updating the system software with a security patch. That updated PHP. Since I am running a custom PHP, I had to recompile and install PHP again to get libGD loaded. With that done I proceeded to announce a web site that has been in quiet beta for months. That was the last straw. Apache went into a death spiral. Things would get so piled up that the whole system would be nearly unresponsive.