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Two Web Servers Hosting Same Domain

Posted on 2006-04-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
Hello Experts,

I have IIS running on a Win2K3 box that's hosting two domains using host headers. I'm working on a failover in case this main web server is down. I have made a replica of the web server that's offsite and planning to use ftp for file synchronization between the two.  I was wondering if I could leave all the host headers for the domains on both servers so if one goes down the failover will kick in using the same domain name(s)? I guess my question is if it's possible to host the same domain name on different hosts? Will this be a problem if both are live web servers and pointing to the same domain when someone types in the domain name in the browser...hope this makes sense. Thanks!
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Question by:tracyms
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Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 16542600
There's no problem having two servers configured like that - the problem is, DNS can only point to one web server... so you would have to edit DNS and potentailly wait a day or two for the changes to propagate over the internet.  The only way this could really work is if you can set the offsite server to the same IP - which is not typically possible for a variety of reasons.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16542602
There's no problem having two servers configured like that - the problem is, DNS can only point to one web server... so you would have to edit DNS and potentailly wait a day or two for the changes to propagate over the internet.  The only way this could really work is if you can set the offsite server to the same IP - which is not typically possible for a variety of reasons.
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by:tracyms
ID: 16542805
Thanks for the quick response, so to reiterate what you have said - its possible. If the main server is down and I have DNS failover pointing to the backup, it should be fine?
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by:ahoffmann
ID: 16543680
mainly DNS issue as leew explained
or you place a one load balancer in front of both web servers, then your DNS points to the load balancers IP while the load balancer forwards the traffic as you like/need
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by:tracyms
ID: 16544163
Thanks all. I have DNS through ZoneEdit for the domain(s). What I did was add the IP address of the backup web server to each domain in ZoneEdit so that each domain now has 2 different IPs (main and backup). I brought down the main server to test it and it went to the backup so its working as I hoped. I am awarding points to leew since he pointed me in the right direction.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16546698
It's important to understand the nature of DNS - some DNS servers cache the information your DNS server provides them.  This cacheing may result in them continuing to point to your down server regardless of what your DNS server says for several hours or even days.  There is nothing you can do about this caching on your end.  So while you might be ok, others may be cached and not able to access your site for a period of time.
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by:tracyms
ID: 16549348
Thanks for the follow-up leew. I did a little more research too to discover that my solution is using round robin and I'm actually doing load balancing instead of failover which is what I really wanted. I've decided to use ZoneEdit's failover service which should do the trick. Thanks again -- :-)
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