I’m going to warn you up front that this is going to be a geek-only post. However, this is information that should live multiple places online so I’m going to post it right here on the ol’ blog.
I’ve been paying attention to my Activity Monitor on my Macbook Pro recently. This is mainly because I have felt like my computer has been using more memory than it should and the fans have been running a little more than I would like. I kept noticing this one process called “ajaxserver” that was always highlighted in red — meaning it was “not responding” or frozen. When I would stop it manually it would always come back and eventually turn red again.
A quick Google search later and I found the culprit and the solution. I’ve had this free app installed on my machine for a while even though I hardly use it. It’s called Hotspot Shield and it basically creates a secure internet connection wherever you are so you can feel more confident about checking your email and getting online on public WiFi hotspots. I usually keep it disabled because it slows down your connection a bit and because I don’t really know if I trust them any more than whatever hackers might be lurking around the local coffee shop.
Apparently, (according to some folks in the MacRumors Forums) Hotspot Shield is what keeps running this process called ajaxserver. When Hotspot Shield is inactive, the process stops responding. This apparently also has been making my fans run in overtime.
The solution? Either don’t run Hotspot Shield at all or keep it in its fully active state. My choice? I think I’ll just uninstall. (Note: According to this Apple Support Forum some people have had issues uninstalling it. I used AppZapper and haven’t had any issues yet.)
Hope that helps someone else down the road!