So you have root access on the server?
drop into a shell and run "top". Then do your 10-20 clicks until your server gets lathargic. Whatch the top utility closely. See any system pigs? Is it really Apache that is getting slow or something else (like php/mysql) on the server? Are you running a real server, or is this virtual? (if virtual - all bets are off)
> 3 asterisks
no worries there. It just means that box/router does not respond to pings.