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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
Free Blogging Resources to Save Money and Maximize Net Exposure Blogging is one of the new hot activities on the Internet. What is blogging might cross many peoples mind and to put that mind at ease, here a quick explanation s to what a blog is and what it does. A blog is a part of a web site or a website itself, where most commonly entries are displayed in reverse chronological order. It is a website where either news on certain subjects or personal entries can be made and then displayed and read by others. One important feature of many blogs is for readers to leave comments on the site. Currently there are more than 110 million blogs as per some of the blog tracker engines. Therefore blogs can be used for many different things; one of them might be to save money and to maximize net exposure. Many online web pages offer free web hosting space to people or offer a web blog that can be built into one?s own homepage. Blogs are a great tool to get feedback from friends, customers and anyone who visits the page. Blogs can help with net exposure due to the popularity of some blogs. There are two essential ways a blog can get popular and give one greater exposure. The one is the citation of the blog on certain major homepages visited by many, and the second is through affiliation. Whole blogging communities exist, where people almost chat with each other about certain topics. One can save money by using blogs that are offered for free or by actually boosting one?s own site on some of the popular blogs that allow such content in their text. Some of the blogs are used to post money saving tips on a regular base. These pages will post deals, finds and more in their blog for others to check out. These blogs are created and then added to by many. It is easy to find these blogs using one of the blogospheres. Blogoshperes, blog content search engines can help Internet users to find a blog with a content that they a re looking for. Major financial companies offer blogs for financial tips. This is a way to save money without having to have an own paid financial adviser, but the blog can act like one. Some of these financial blogs also offer help and assistance to people. It is a community of people that have had similar problems and where one can get help if necessary, Of course it is always dangerous to release too much information about oneself on the Internet, but when handled with caution, these blogs can be a great help for personal finances and for saving money. Blogs for saving money offer many categories. Some money saving tips on these blogs is about health care, baby products, student life, buying cars and more. These informative pages can help anyone who takes the time to read them save big bucks or even make money. Help is often given to people with these pages in the form of others that have experienced similar things, experts in the field or just general advice. Blogging is as easy as writing and e-mail and therefore can be done by anyone who has a working PC that is connected to the Internet. Blog generally offer an entry form and an option to read the entry before it is posted. There is also a way to respond to certain post by posting another blog entry. All the entries are generally public and available to anybody and therefore it is important to know that there are consequences and liability when writing blog entries. Even though some are anonymous, many blogs require the posters name.
Web Hosting - When Changing Web Hosts Nearly everyone will want to change to a new web host at some point. It may involve just changing out old hardware for new. It usually means finding an entirely new web hosting company. When faced with that decision there are a number of issues to be considered. Swapping hardware and/or software is a fairly straightforward decision. There are two possible scenarios. Either you maintain your own hardware and software at a facility managed by others, or you are considering upgrading to newer (usually more expensive) systems maintained by others. In either case, it's simply a matter of estimating the cost and the short-term impact versus the long-term benefits. If the system(s) you currently use are short on capacity, sooner or later you'll be sufficiently motivated to make the change. Either the hardware will become unreliable or loaded to the point you'll be forced to migrate, or your needs will expand enough to justify the effort and expense of moving. Similar considerations apply to the scenario in which you rely on the web hosting company for everything, and want to find someone else to rely on. Regrettably, that's a very common situation. Many web hosting companies provide systems and staff that sooner or later fall below an acceptable level. Most people make the decision to change based on emotion. That's not entirely bad. Emotions incent you to take action. But you need to keep a cool head, too, in order to calculate your long-range self-interest. Bearing some minor inconveniences from time to time is usually worth the trade off. When it begins to affect your site to the point you're losing visitors, it's time to make a change. To get a more objective handle on when that point is reached, reach for some numbers. Maintain, or get from the hosting company, a factual report about availability and current usage. If the server is down so much, or so heavily loaded, that it drives your visitors away, it's time to take action. There are other less easily quantifiable but equally important factors, as well. You will at some point need to communicate with one or more persons who help maintain your site. Even if you do all your own server, database and web site maintenance, someone behind the scenes is helping to keep things running smoothly. That's called 'infrastructure'. If the road you drive on has potholes, it's not enough that you can fix your own car. In terms of network bandwidth and availability, server capacity, disk space, security and a whole array of other aspects, the web hosting company has to have competent people who care (and are allowed) to do the job well. When the company's people fall down - because of incompetence, lack of resources or absence of a culture of excellence - or for any other reason - your web site suffers. This issue more than any other is what drives people to seek another web hosting company. Even if you choose well at the outset, things can change. Management changes, staff changes and companies are taken over by other companies. Sometimes, it isn't simply a matter of swapping out an unreliable piece of hardware or software. When it's time to swap out people, you look for the same aspect: doing the job required.