3
VPS
RAM: 6GB
SSD Web Space: 150 GB
Bandwidth: 6000 GB
Cores: 8

We had a really awful experience with our hosting provider recently...We have been with Hostforweb for over 14 years and things were good (most of the time). They migrated everybody to servers in New York recently and there was an outage because of that for almost 24 hours. Then they sent an Email telling everybody to switch the DNS (which I never read) and as a result - another outage this time more than 5 days! There were many many many people affected by this. All technical support was down during these incidents.

Now, I am looking to possibly setup a 2nd host and use them as a backup if our primary hosting goes down for whatever reason....is this called a mirror or proxy and how would I do that? I assume it would be nearly impossible to have real time synchronization between the 2 hosting accounts but I don't mind doing this manually every so often.

I will be grateful for any suggestions...

What would be the cost involved? How would I manage the DNS? Would I setup ns3.example.com and ns4.example.com and would that transfer the traffic to the 2nd host in case the site at the first host would not be loading? (How would it know the primary site is not accessible?) Are there any specific companies that offer this kind of a solution?

3

If you're tolerant of a bit of downtime, consider saving your backups to Amazon S3 (which can be done easily through cPanel) or another cloud provider in addition to /backup on the local machine.

I lost a whole ~60 GB site in the recent Hostforweb meltdown that you were also caught up in, but was able to restore it to a new machine in 19 minutes, start-to-finish, from the most recent backup in Amazon S3. It makes all the money I ever paid Amazon for backup space worth it.

I can also tell you how to migrate your cPanel sites to another cPanel server or VPS even if the old server refuses the cPanel transfer connection, which is what I suspect you're facing based on your other question and my own recent experience with HFW.

2

There are multiple ways to do this:

1) Hosting it yourself

What would be the cost involved

You would need a second server, which would cost about the same as your current server

How would I setup the DNS

You can specify multiple A records pointing to different servers, and browsers should try them in order until it finds a running server.

Advantages

  • Your site can be running like normal when one server is down, even if it relies on communicating with the server

Disadvantages

  • You need multiple servers running, so it costs more

2) Using a service to host it for you

What would be the cost involved

Depends on the service you choose, some (like Cloudflare) have a free tier

How would I setup the DNS

You would point the site at the service, and have it request from the server and cache the response, so it can still respond when your server is down

Advantages

  • No need to run 2 servers
  • Can be lower cost
  • Can defend against DDOS attacks

Disadvantages

  • If the site needs to communicate with the server it will not work when the site is down

3) Hosting a static site with a provider

What would be the cost involved

Depends on the provider and the amount of traffic (netlify have a free tier, S3 is low cost for small sites)

How would I configure the DNS

You would point it at the provider's server

Advantages

  • Can be very fast, especially if the provider uses a CDN
  • Can scale very easily

Disadvantages

  • Relies on the site not needing to communicate with your server

(This can be combined with one of the other 2 options, so if the server goes down the site can either run in a limited mode, or justs show a message that the site is currently down)

  • It isn't true that specifying multiple A records in DNS will cause clients to try them in order until they find a working one. Clients will try one randomly. If that one fails, the user will get an error message. See the Wikipedia page on Round Robin DNS: "DNS should not solely be relied upon for service availability. If a service at one of the addresses in the list fails, the DNS will continue to hand out that address and clients will still attempt to reach the inoperable service." – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 16 '18 at 10:13

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