For some small business owners, running their website isn’t always top of mind. While they want their site to stay online and accessible all the time, the occasional outage isn’t really the end of the world.
With this article, you’ll learn more about what redundant hosting is and how it works so you can decide if it’s something you need. Specifically, you’ll get answers to questions, such as:
- What exactly is redundant hosting?
- How does redundant hosting work?
- What are the business benefits of redundant hosting?
- Is redundant hosting right for you?
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What Is Redundant Hosting?
Redundant hosting is hosting that’s run from multiple different servers in multiple different locations so that if there’s a problem with one setup, the other one remains up and running so visitors to your site don’t experience any outages. Another name that’s commonly used for redundant hosting is high availability (HA) web hosting.
While the concept is straightforward, putting it into practice can be a challenge. There are many different ways that this is done, and even a variety of different levels of redundant hosting to consider. Redundant hosting is also going to be more expensive than standard hosting because it’ll require so much more equipment and effort to set up and maintain.
How Do You Get Redundant Hosting?
There are many ways to set up redundant hosting, each of which have various advantages and disadvantages. Taking the time to understand the basics of how these systems work helps you to make the best decision for your organization:
- Multiple servers in one location working together: You can set up two or more physical servers with your website and keep them all in one location. The traffic to your site is then divided up based on how busy each server is at a given time. If one server goes down, the others can handle all the traffic without any outages.
- Multiple servers in two or more locations working together: This option functions in largely the same way as the previous one but rather than having all the physical servers in one place, they’re distributed in multiple facilities. This helps to ensure no outages occur due to power problems, internet connectivity issues, and other related issues.
- Multiple servers working independently: You can also get your site set up and operational in multiple locations that don’t directly work together. For this option, traffic to the site is generally directed based on geographic proximity between the servers and the visitors to the site. If, however, one location goes offline, all traffic can be directed to the other.
It’s possible to set up any of these configurations on your own so you handle the hosting within your company, but it’s more common to work with a third-party hosting provider to manage the environment.
Working with a Hosting Company for High Availability Hosting
Finding the best hosting companies that can provide redundant hosting solutions is well worth the effort. For most businesses, contracting out to a service provider that specializes in hosting is not only going to be easier, but it also provides better results. This is because these companies already have everything in place that they need to provide top-tier redundant hosting solutions.
Is Fully Redundant Hosting Right for You?
Deciding whether fully redundant hosting is a good option for you can be a difficult decision to make. While every business undoubtedly wants to have their website up and running at all times, it isn’t always worth the added expenses.
All reputable web hosting services can keep your site up and running smoothly the vast majority of the time. These companies typically operate out of high-end data centers and use premium equipment to ensure everything is up and running as much as possible.
Many hosting providers offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which means that your site will be down for less than 43 minutes per month, on average as it’ll typically be far less than this. Some hosting providers are moving to a 99.99% uptime guarantee, which means your site has less than 4:19 of downtime per month.
These service level agreements are all given without using redundant hosting services. So, if you decide to invest in fully redundant hosting, you’ll only be getting an extra 4 to 45 minutes of uptime per month at the most. For most small to midsize businesses (SMBs), this isn’t going to be worth the cost. If, however, you absolutely need to keep your site up and running, or your site is large enough to require multiple servers anyway, it may be worth it.
If you still aren’t sure, you can always sign up for standard hosting with a reputable hosting company to see how it goes. If you find that the small amount of downtime that you experience is causing problems, you can always upgrade to redundant solutions in the future.
What Are the Business Benefits to Redundant Hosting?
The benefits of redundant hosting for your business are primarily going to be based on the fact that your website is up and running at all times. While there’s always a slight risk that all the systems running your site have trouble at once, this is extraordinarily rare. Having near-perfect uptime for your website provides a variety of benefits, including:
- Improved reputation: Customers see your company as more reliable if they know your website is always going to be up and running.
- Reduced customer frustration: Customers get frustrated when they try to get to a website and it is down. Redundant hosting helps to minimize this risk so you can keep your customers happy.
- No missed sales: If you rely on your website to generate sales, you know that your site is always up so your customers can make the purchases they want.
- Less worry about your site: You have less to worry about when you have your site up and running on multiple, redundant servers.
In addition to these direct benefits that redundant hosting offers, you may also appreciate the fact that you have two (or more) separate systems in place. This means if you need to do any type of upgrade or other maintenance, you can complete it on one system first and then the other without taking an outage.
This can be done whether you’re self-hosting your website or you’re using a third-party hosting provider to manage the environment. You can even make changes to just one system to test things out in most cases, which is very important in some situations.
What Is an Example of Redundant Hosting?
Redundant hosting is very common with larger companies that can afford to invest in these types of systems. For example, Facebook, Amazon, and Google all have dozens of different data center facilities set up around the world to meet the needs of their customers. If one of the facilities goes offline, the others are generally able to pick up the load and continue operating without any outages.
Even for most businesses, the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee that most hosting companies today offer is more than sufficient. For businesses that rely on their website for generating sales, leads, or anything else that helps them succeed, any downtime at all is unacceptable. For these situations, having fully redundant hosting is the best option.