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Redundant web hosting options..??  How to keep site from going down..??

Posted on 2013-12-31
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Last Modified: 2014-01-07
Over the past few  years I've been through about 10 different hosting companies including Media Temple, Rackspace, HostGator, VPSZone, Bluehost, and more.  I've had issues with down time with every one of them and I've come to the conclusion that 99.9% uptime is total BS by all of them.

As such, I'm trying to figure out how I could setup a backup hosting company to kick in when 1 goes down.  I'm not sure how I would do that, though, because I don't know enough about DNS and how to set something like that up..??

As it stands now I'm on a VPS server using my own nameservers, and my domain name is simply configured to use these name servers, which point to the IP addresses of my VPS.  

If I had another hosting all setup it seems like the only way to switch would be to update the IP addresses of my nameservers so they hit the backup server, but then of course that can take time to propogate and by the time that happens the original one would probably be up again.  

I really haven't been able to find any info about this sort of thing Googling, which is surprising me.  I guess I'm not using the correct search terms or something.  

Any information on how I can make sure my sites NEVER go down would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
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Question by:Andrew Angell
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Expert Comment

by:pony10us
ID: 39749188
I can not answer your question from experience however may I suggest you try the "Googling" approach again using this search:  redundant web hosting failover
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 250 total points
ID: 39749200
I think you have a fairly complete understanding of the problem when using 'hosting providers'.  There isn't any solution at 'our' level which is why you're not finding it in Google.  One of my customers does have alternate hosting setup for two sites and you're right, by the time DNS changes propogate, the original failing site has always been back up.

Organizations like Google and Facebook and others have distributed data centers and their own networks to handle these things.  Way out of our price range.  Last time I checked, Facebook had about 200,000 server machines and Google had 1.2 million.
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39749271
So what if I was hosting the web server myself and I had a dual-wan router with 2 separate ISP's?  Is there a way to configure DNS to hit my router and use 1 ISP as the primary, but if it's down simply fall back to the other ISP so the internet connection still exists?  

I'm still confused there because the public IP's from each ISP would be different, but then I don't understand what these dual-wan routers are supposed to do for me..??
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39749304
If you're hosting on your own machine, then you still have a single point of failure.  I don't know how a dual-wan router is supposed operate.
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Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 39749305
http://www.dnsmadeeasy.com/services/dns-failover-system-monitoring/

This is a failover system whereby if your primary server fails then it routes traffic (changes the NS IP) to the new server.

Of course on top of this you also need a synching service - something like rsync to make sure the two servers are always in sync with each other

Having a dual wan really does not help - if your ISP is down, you have a power cut etc then your failover system would fail as well.  It needs to be a completely separate entity.
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Author Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39749316
DNS Made Easy looks interesting, however, their info still explains that if the client's have hit your stuff pretty recently they'll still be hitting cached servers or their local DNS probably won't be updated very quickly.  

Our whole issue is that we host scripts that power a POS credit card processing solution.  When our server goes down our customers can't process credit cards, which of course doesn't make them happy.  

They're hitting us numerous times per day, though, so the way DNS Made Easy talks about how if they've visited you recently it could be an issue seems like we'd still be having the same problem.
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by:Gary
ID: 39749321
There is nothing you can do about the individual ISP's caching stuff - that's the nature of the web.
I would assume  since you are talking about credit card processing that these pages are on SSL which would mean they are not cached ergo caching would not be a problem
Any other pages that you want to force no cache on is simple to remedy with a no cache directive in your html pages.
I assume you are also using cookies, so any page using them will not be cached either (except images, js, css etc)
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39749323
I have client's that set their browser cache to 20 days or more.  There is nothing you can do to change that as far as I know.  Especially bad when they are web clients and you constantly have to remind them to refresh their browsers so they can see the latest changes you have done to their site.
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