When you are looking at building and/or implementing disaster recovery systems (no they are NOT only for the “big” guys) you need to keep many things in mind, some from the most basic such as backing up your data to website redundency. It can be done, even by the most novice of individuals.
First lets look at what you could be doing wrong:
- Using minor players in the domain registration market.Do you stick with smaller players because of price point? What happens if that domain registrar goes broke? Or is shut down? While there is no guarantee that GoDaddy, 1And1 or any of the others will be around “forever” the size of the operation, especially when it relates to IT (and I use the term loosely to categorize companies that deal with IT or IT related areas) and your business you should be cautious. I’ve only ever used two registrars – GoDaddy and 1And1. Both are good, GoDaddy is better because of the control I have over my account and domains. I can cancel domains easily, change DNS easily – no headaches at all. 1And1 is OK – their platform is a little confusing as they separate cancellation from other domain functions — such as modifying DNS. A few years ago I used RegisterFly — do you remember them? Others swore by them – they had FANTASTIC prices. I registered several domains with them and ran into issues. I won’t go into what the issues were, but there is a Wiki page on RegisterFly – check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RegisterFly.
- Hosting.Hosting can be cheep/cheap or inexpensive — you pick. In my mind cheap DOES NOT equal inexpensive. ANYONE can be a host. I have several reseller accounts. I could easily turn around and become a host by offering cheap hosting. Some of the providers out there do exactly this – while other providers run complex businesses where they may either host their own equipment or use another companies managed or unmanaged services. Regardless of the case you always want to pick a host that offers good value at a good price point. You do need to do a bit of research, this is where I find that simply asking another webmaster about the host they use will give you the best results. Look at my blogroll – these individuals all run successful businesses, just ask them who they use as their host. I’m sure they will be more than happy to oblige and tell you.Years ago, I ran a subscription service called TurboTrafficEngine (http://www.turbotrafficengine.com) – the site is still there and is operational; the tools are used by a select few. The actual service is hosted on a dedicated server somewhere under a hard-to-guess domain name. The point I’m trying to get accross is that by paying $149.00 per month for unmanaged service for a DEDICATED box with redundancy I am assured that the users that use the tools have 99.99% uptime. If you are running a business that is generating serious cash every month then don’t you owe it to at least consider a dedicated box? With most dedicated servers, you have a lot of control over the systems resources. You can pick and choose the type of server, the type of CPU, the amount of memory and hard drive space. You can upgrade at anytime, so that your site scales as your visitor count increases.
Ed actually mentions not hosting your site with the same company that you have registered your domain with which is another very important consideration.
If you can not afford a dedicated server now – no worries, do you back-up your site at least? If you back-up weekly then you only lose one weeks worth of information. Back-up less frequently and you loose more. Most companies will back-up daily, and weekly and keep the back-ups off-site for safe keeping.
If you are not sure how to back-up your site and you are using cPanel – look at the FREE cPanel Guide to Backup Up Your Website that you can download right now – absolutely NO STRINGS ATTACHED.
I’ve got to admit, I’ve not spent a lot of time on the idea of making my site redundant. Basically this means that if your site goes down at host A you are still up and running at host B and the failover mechanism will automatically route visitors to the other site making the entire transition virtually seamless.
Failover and redundancy are not complex issues, and can be handled with a little research and tools.
While doing some quick and fast research in Google (my query was website redundancy) I came across this site: https://support.dnsmadeeasy.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=80&nav=0,1 - the name of the site is DNS Made Easy.
The question that was asked was “My goal is to setup redundancy with my web site so if my hosting company is down my site’s IP will change to an IP that is currrently up.”
The answer, via their customer support system was:
To do that you will need to setup DNS Failover.
You will need to be using our name servers but once your domains are configured in our DNS Made Easy system we will monitor your web server and change the IPs if necessary.
DNS Made Easy’s computers constantly check (every 2 to 4 minutes) to make sure your system is responding. You can configure the DNS Made Easy monitoring systems to check if your service is running on either TCP, UDP, or HTTP (special TCP check) protocols, and on any port you desire. As soon as any of your services fail to respond your traffic will automatically be moved to a different system by using DNS Made Easy’s ultra-fast DNS updates. This limits the amount of downtime your users will see and keeps your business running fast.
I have not used their service, and can not recommend them but will be doing more research into DNS FAILOVER systems since this is basically what you are looking at doing when you are looking at website redundancy. However from what I’ve seen on their website, DNS Made Easy will allow you to set-up failover DNS system. I will be contacting them to get more information and will share that with you here.
So first and foremost, download my free guide: cPanel Guide to Backup Up Your Website – atleast with this guide, you can start ensuring that you have regular back-ups of your site in case the host goes down and you need to re-build.
It’s great that Ed was able to bring his site up quickly – but what he has gone through over the last few days should stress the importance and urgency of ensuring you have viable back-ups of your website and the data contained.
P.S. Ed was kind enough to allow the comment to his post which allowed me to plug my free guide on his website. Thank You, Ed! I appreciate the approval!