phpBB3 slow and internal dummy connection

Using Apache 2.2 and PHP 5.6 PHPBB3 is very slow to respond.  Actually for some reason it takes so long to even register a log entry in access_log as in several seconds or a few minutes later it shows up in Apache.  All other vhosts and Apache access stops working and freezes until the request to access PHPBB3 slowly completes.

It seems to randomly be slow if you stop using it whether for posting or reading the forums.  I've migrated to different machines including SSD and the problem has not changed at all.  Some have posted that the internal dummy connection means Apache is killing off dead workers.

I've never had an issue like this with any PHP app except PHPBB3


80.38.44.5 - whichuser [19/May/2017:03:23:37 -0400] "GET /forums/cron.php?cron_type=cron.task.core.tidy_warnings HTTP/1.1" 200 43 "https://192.168.5.8/forums/posting.php?f=4&mode=edit&p=25&t=24&sid=71000a75c63243f82054d4717c6316bf" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/53.0"
127.0.0.1 - - [19/May/2017:03:23:42 -0400] "OPTIONS * HTTP/1.0" 200 - "-" "Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) (internal dummy connection)"


127.0.0.1 - - [19/May/2017:03:26:23 -0400] "OPTIONS * HTTP/1.0" 200 - "-" "Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) (internal dummy connection)"

 

this issue is accompanied by a delay in any logging activity of a few minutes and then suddenly it loads the destination page and a cron script:

192.168.1.29 - whichuser [25/May/2017:01:50:15 -0400] "POST /phpBB3/ucp.php?mode=login&sid=b5a1c0e5f9bb2a9474e8ceaee3f21c8e HTTP/1.1" 302 - "https://192.168.1.144/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31&sid=f9b1b31d209b729fda25227ccc27d2e7" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/53.0"
192.168.1.29 - whichuser [25/May/2017:01:50:15 -0400] "GET /phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31&sid=713b30d33575fcedca22f04c9d3d7739 HTTP/1.1" 200 27900 "https://192.168.1.144/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31&sid=f9b1b31d209b729fda25227ccc27d2e7" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/53.0"
192.168.1.29 - whichuser [25/May/2017:01:50:16 -0400] "GET /phpBB3/cron.php?cron_type=cron.task.core.tidy_cache HTTP/1.1" 200 43 "https://192.168.1.144/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31&sid=713b30d33575fcedca22f04c9d3d7739" "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/53.0"
127.0.0.1 - - [25/May/2017:01:50:22 -0400] "OPTIONS * HTTP/1.0" 200 - "-" "Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) (internal dummy connection)"

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