Python Performance High CPU Using CProfile

3 minute read | By Keegan D'Souza

This post will cover troubleshooting a High CPU Performance Issue on Linux Python App Services using CProfile.


When running your python application on app services you may experience High CPU from your Python Process. To understand the cause of the High CPU you can use CProfile to profile your python code.

Reference Documentations: CProfile


You can find the sample code used in this blog, using the below link.

Reference Sample: Azure Open Source Developer Samples - Cprofile


When we navigate to our app service we notice a slower than expected response time when hitting the root endpoint.

High Response Time

This is in conjunction with your python process showing high CPU, when running the top command.


You can view this information either from the SSH console, or viewing the Process List or Process Full List detector using the Diagnose and Solve Problems blade.

Note: If you not seeing any high CPU, but still noticing performance issues with simultaneous requests you many want to make sure you optimize your gunicorn settings first and then retest before profiling. More information here: Configuring Gunicorn worker class and other general settings

Implement CProfile

Profiling your application using CProfile will require you to make minimal changes to your code base and redeploy. Below is some sample code that will cause high CPU.

from flask import Flask
import os, time

app = Flask(__name__)
num = 1

def firstMethod():
    secondMethod() #Calling secondMethod
    return "I am done here"

def secondMethod():
    thirdMethod(2.5) #Calling thirdMethod 
    for loop in range(1): #CPU time spent
        for index in range(121474838):
            num * index
    thirdMethod(5) #Calling thirdMethod again

def thirdMethod(n):
    time.sleep(n) #Sleep

def home():  
    result = firstMethod()
    return "%s!" %result

if __name__ == '__main__':

Configuring cProfile

  1. You need to import the following modules:
     import cProfile, pstats, io
     from pstats import SortKey
  2. Select the function/method or route that you think it is taking more CPU time. To enable/disable the profile you will need to add the following code

         pr = cProfile.Profile()
         # ... code or function calls you need to profile ...
         result = firstMethod()
         # ... ------------------------------------------ ...
         s = io.StringIO()
         sortby = SortKey.CUMULATIVE
         ps = pstats.Stats(pr, stream=s).sort_stats(sortby)
  3. Redeploy your app service code with the above changes.

Reviewing Output

If implemented correctly, the Output of the CProfile states will now be written to stdout. Make sure Application Logging is Enabled on your app service. Then reproduce the issue, and view the lastest default_docker.log files in application logs. The output should be similar to below:

2023-05-15T17:16:11.755675442Z          15 function calls in 35.792 seconds
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755758143Z    Ordered by: cumulative time
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755769444Z    ncalls  tottime  percall  cumtime  percall filename:lineno(function)
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755774744Z         1    0.000    0.000   35.792   35.792 /tmp/8db55663d49a3b4/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755780044Z         1   28.291   28.291   35.792   35.792 /tmp/8db55663d49a3b4/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755785144Z         2    0.000    0.000    7.500    3.750 /tmp/8db55663d49a3b4/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755790544Z         2    7.500    3.750    7.500    3.750 {built-in method time.sleep}
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755795744Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /opt/python/3.11.2/lib/python3.11/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755801044Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /opt/python/3.11.2/lib/python3.11/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755806244Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /opt/python/3.11.2/lib/python3.11/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755811544Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /opt/python/3.11.2/lib/python3.11/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755816745Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {built-in method builtins.hasattr}
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755821945Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /opt/python/3.11.2/lib/python3.11/
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755827245Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {built-in method builtins.isinstance}
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755832645Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {built-in method builtins.len}
2023-05-15T17:16:11.755837845Z         1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'disable' of '_lsprof.Profiler' objects}

You can then be able to understand which function is most contributing to the cpu utilization, by reviewing the column definitions and comparing them to your output.

CProfile Column Definitions

Reference documentation