Table of Contents
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 the end of the world.
With this article, you’ll learn more about redundant hosting and how it works to decide if you need it.
- What redundant hosting is
- How to obtain redundant hosting
- Whether redundant hosting is right for you
- The business benefits of redundant hosting
What Is Redundant Hosting?
Redundant hosting is run from multiple servers in many locations. If there’s a problem with one setup, the other one remains up and running so your site visitors don’t experience any outages. Another name commonly used for redundant hosting is high availability (HA) web hosting.
While the concept is straightforward, putting it into practice can be challenging. There are many ways this is done, and even a variety of different levels of redundant hosting to consider. Redundant hosting is also 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 has 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 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 outages.
- Multiple servers in two or more locations working together: This functions in largely the same way as the previous option, but the physical servers are distributed in multiple facilities. This helps ensure no outages occur due to power problems, internet connectivity challenges, 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. But if 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 easier and provides better results. These companies already have everything 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 can be difficult. While every business undoubtedly wants its website up and running at all times, it isn’t always worth the added expenses. All reputable web hosting services can ensure your site runs smoothly most 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.
Uptime and redundant hosting
Many hosting providers offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee — your site will be down for under 43 minutes per month or, on average, far less. Some hosting providers are moving to a 99.99% uptime guarantee; your site will have less than 4:19 of downtime per month.
These service level agreements are all given without using redundant hosting services. If you invest in fully redundant hosting, you’ll get an extra four to five minutes of uptime per month at the most. For most small to midsize businesses (SMBs), this isn’t worth the cost.
But if you need your site up and running, or it is large enough to require multiple servers, it may be worth it. If unsure, you can try standard hosting with a reputable hosting company. Should the small amount of downtime cause problems, you can always upgrade to redundant solutions in the future.
What Are the Business Benefits of Redundant Hosting?
The benefits of redundant hosting for your business are primarily based on your website being up and running at all times. While there’s always a slight risk that all the systems running your site have trouble simultaneously, this is extraordinarily rare. Having near-perfect uptime for your website provides various benefits, including:
- Improved reputation: Customers see your company as more reliable if they know your website is always up and running.
- Reduced customer frustration: Redundant hosting minimizes customers finding your website down, which keeps them happy.
- No missed sales: If you rely on your website to generate sales, having your site always up lets your customers make the purchases they want.
- Less worry about your site: There is no need to be concerned when your site is working on multiple redundant servers.
In addition to these direct benefits of redundant hosting, you may also appreciate having two (or more) separate systems in place. If you need to do any 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 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 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 generally pick up the load and continue operating without outages.