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  1. #1

    Co-location across two companies?

    Hi,

    I'm currently using Bluehost to run some of my clients web sites. Nothing with huge traffic or sophistication, but good uptime is a requirement.

    I used to use webfusion, but they were expensive and unreliable, and their support was bad. I migrated all of my sites to Bluehost, at considerable expense in terms of billed time.

    At the moment, the server I am running on has been down for 16 hours with a projected further 12 hours to restore. I find this unacceptable.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could sign up to two shared hosting providers, but manage the DNS in such a way I can switch between the two?

    Sort of a crude co-location (my clients aren't in the market for high end services). Having been burnt more than twice -I don't want to trust just one company.

    I welcome your thoughts.

    I

  2. #2
    Did I post in the right section?

  3. #3
    Not really sure if you did, since this doesn't sound like colocation at all. I think there may be a solution fro what you are trying to achieve, which is failover DNS.

  4. #4
    Ah - you've filled a hole in my knowledge!

    Many thanks cristibighea

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Michigan, USA
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    Failover DNS isn't a perfect solution either, DNS can take hours to update, so any visitors who visited your site before the downtime may not be able to reach your site for a few hours.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Il
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    448
    Should be able to find a good host for your clients without a issue. Might have to pay a little more but they are out there.
    http://www.realwebhost.net
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    chicago
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    1,557
    I think you need to find yourself a better provider.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,224
    The suggestions to find another host are good ones, but that's not what you asked. What you can do is mirror the content on 2 servers, each with a different host. To do that, rsync (or similar) is your friend.

    Host the DNS with a 3rd party, with very short TTL (maybe 5 minutes). If one server takes a dump, update the DNS record to point to the other host.

    Your downtime will be approximately (a) the time it takes you to realize the first host is down, plus (b) the time it takes to modify the DNS records. And for those whose ISP's DNS servers have already cached the A records, also add the time it takes to reach the TTL so the cached records stale out. (which is why you want a shorter TTL in this case)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
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    2,656
    Load-balancing through round-robin or failover DNS is more unreliable than it's worth. The best way to implement redundancy across multiple sites/providers is to use BGP anycasting, but that would be total overkill for the scope of your problem.

    Some providers will offer such functionality as part of their service, but will usually require that you have both sites with them anyway.

    It would simply be easier and cheaper to just find a single good host. Don't let a few sour experiences taint your perception of the entire industry. Just do your research, and you should be able to find a host that you are happy with.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    634
    DNSMadeEasy has a very cheap service that does DNS failover; it does health checks and will failover to the alternate server (and set of A records) when those checks fail. There are much more expensive options (UltraDNS comes to mind) but given what you describe I highly doubt you'll want to spend that kind of money.

    But as has been mentioned here, it's far from a perfect solution. In this day and age I think that ISP DNS caching is generally a problem that is overblown (the vast majority of ISPs don't overwrite low TTL values with higher ones), but it still does occur. And you're pretty much guaranteed that users currently viewing your site will have some issues, whether that comes from end user DNS caching or sessions not being replicated to the failover server. But as something that can help alleviate long outages or as a disaster recovery option, DNS based failover is a simple and cheap option. The paradox is that the kinds of sites that are easiest to do this with are the ones that typically don't need it (i.e. simple static sites or sites with minimal dynamic content); the sites that typically need higher availability are much more difficult to pull off (synchronous real-time database replication for instance is not easy with a heavy used database, especially without dedicated high speed WAN links between the two sites).

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