The web hosting account comes equipped with a control panel. The user can find out about the server load value from their control panel under the "Server Status" tab. Here the user can access the server load value in real time. It is very important for the user to keep himself updated about their server load value. The user must know how to interpret this server load value. While the server load issue could be debatable, always take into account that a server load value of 0.xx is considered a safe value.
In fact, a server load that is under 1.00 value should not cause any problems with the speed of your website.
The uncertainties could however arise if the value goes above 1.00. By default, most web hosting companies apply the following rule: if the server has a single CPU (central processing unit), a server load higher than 1.00 is not good; if the server has two CPUs, a server load over 2.00 is not good and so on.
Server Load is expressed in a number format (usually the x.xx format) and this number refers to the number of processes that are waiting in queue to access the processor or processors. This is calculated for a certain time period. It is important to note here that a higher number would mean a decrease in the level of server performance and therefore a smaller number is always preferable.
These are average server loads and given the advanced expertise and technology adopted in the hosting industry, even a single processor server is powerful enough to handle a server load of 2.00.
When a low-level priority process appears, it is usually put in queue while the newer server request (like a page request) is handled almost instantly.
Also, here we are viewing server load as just an isolated aspect of web hosting. Other related aspects including memory usage, CPU usage, size of swap file etc also influence this server load. So, in case the server is running on insufficient internal memory, then it will use a swap file. This will put the hard-drive in over-drive and in turn increase CPU usage. This will lead to a higher server load and a slower server response.
The solution here therefore lies in increasing the internal memory or RAM. This would result in a lower swap file, lower CPU usage, lower server load and faster response speed.
So the user must constantly keep track of the average server load of his hosting account. If the server load is 4.00 most of the time, then you have reason to suspect that the web host may be overselling or overloading. In that case, the user must ask his host to resolve these issues or perhaps move their website to a server with a low server load.
It is just important to play safe or else chances are that your hosting experience would not be as enriching as expected. So, make a well informed decision and happy hosting!