A server is described as being "really slow".
What are the first couple of things you would check?
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First thing to check? Your pager / other alarm system and graphs, of course! :-)
But if you don't have those available, you logon to server.
Most of the time if a server is really slow, it's because something is eating up the available memory and the server is swapping itself towards a slow death.
So, in case of a slowdown:
but with a very loaded server even running top might take ages.
uptime command, to get the load averages. - then top command to see which processes are using the most resources (shift-M to list by memory, shift-P to list by cpu). then kill these if needed (kill -9 ),
then 'free' - to see memory usage, although its on the top command