Memory is controlled using virtual (VMEM) and physical (PMEM) memory limits.
Virtual Memory Limit
Virtual memory limit corresponds to the amount of memory processes can allocate within LVE. You can see individual process virtual memory usage by monitoring VIRT column in top output for the process.
When process tries to allocate more memory, CloudLinux checks if the new total virtual memory used by all processes within LVE is more then a limit set. In such case CloudLinux will prevent memory from being allocated and increments fVMEM counter. In most cases, but not all of them - this causes process to fail. For CGI/PHP scripts it will usually cause 500 and 503 error.
Note. It is recommended to disable VMEM limits (set them to 0) in your system at all because they are deprecated in CloudLinux 6 and 7 system and can cause unexpected issues.
Physical Memory Limit
Physical memory limit corresponds to the amount of memory actually used by end customer's processes. You can see individual process physical memory usage by monitoring RES column in top output for the process. Because similar processes (like PHP) share a lot of their memory, physical memory usage is often much lower then virtual memory usage.
Additionally physical memory includes shared memory used by the customer, as well as disk cache.
In case of disk cache -- if user is starting to lack physical memory, the memory used for disk cache will be freed up, without causing any memory faults.
When LVE goes over physical memory limit, CloudLinux will first free up memory used for disk cache, and if that is not enough, it will kill some of the processes within that LVE, and increment fPMEM counter. This will usually cause web server to serve 500 and 503 errors. Physical memory limit is a much better way to limit memory for shared hosting.
Checking personal users disk cache (If lveinfo shows memory usage but there are no processes there)
If you see no processes under some user, but lve manager keeps telling it is using some memory, then most probably memory is taken by users disk cache. To check personal users disk cache (if lveinfo shows memory usage but not processes there):
Cached: 67300 kB
where XXX is user id, could be taken with: