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Low-Cost Failover Options


cweinhofer

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This outage has me thinking about failover options, especially for those of us who don't have big / expensive web operations.

 

@AverageForumUser suggests a service here (https://forums.mddhosting.com/topic/1584-backup-plans-strategies/?do=findComment&comment=7375) that sounds really great, but would be more than I could justify paying on a monthly basis.

 

Anyone have suggestions for more basic / lower-cost failover options?

 

To be more specific, by "basic" I mean just something that would send visitors to our site to a single page with some basic stuff like a message that we were experiencing difficulties, estimate of when the site would be available again, some alternate ways to get in touch with us, etc. And for email, maybe a server that could accept a messages for 5-6 accounts for 72 hours (maybe 100-200 total, at most). And by "low-cost" I'm thinking something less than $25 per year.

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I found one service that might be a potential option for low-cost failover for email: http://www.junkemailfilter.com/spam/free_mx_backup_service.html

 

But this got me thinking, given the way the outage went with MDD -- where the servers were restored within a few hours but the individual accounts not restored for a few days -- would an automatic DNS-based failover service (like this or any other secondary hosting you might set up) even work? Seems like the requests / messages would still go to MDD because the servers are still responding in come capacity.

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Thank you for mentioning my idea - and sorry for my late reply to your thread.

 

There are possibly ways to offer this for less than the $7 or $8 a month I have mentioned in the other thread, one would just have to find ways to still do it with enough redundancy to make it very reliable.

 

But maybe I'll think about this a bit further and come up with a solution that's easy to set up for everyone :D

 

Thanks again!

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I wouldn't necessarily shy away from the $7 or $8 per month option you were thinking about. I'm only going cheap because I just use my domain for personal stuff.

 

If I used hosting for my job, $7 or $8 would be perfectly reasonable. And if I had a business that depended on daily web traffic (like for ads or sales) then I would think it would be prudent to pay even quite a bit more than that. As much as this was a major mistake on the part of MDD, I couldn't believe the people who claimed their websites brought in hundreds (or even thousands of dollars) a day, but apparently had no failover solution. :huh:

 

If anything, maybe you could think about tiers to your service. Where as a business might need a failover with a skeleton version of their site, someone like me only needs a single static page. Same with email -- I could probably live with not getting my email for 72 hours, as long as I knew those message weren't being bounced or going in to some black hole.

By the way, can you shed any light on my recent question about if an automatic (DNS-based) failover service would even work in a scenario like the recent outage? That obviously makes a big difference when thinking about failover solutions.

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I completely understand - offering differently priced tiers to fit different requirements is probably a good idea, thank you for that.

 

Regarding your question about if an automatic (DNS-based) failover service would even work in a scenario like this:

Yes, there absolutely are ways to do that. I have sort of built my own system by combining several external services, like Amazon's Route53 DNS service. With a bit of customization, it can do health checks that watch not only if a server is reachable, it can also be confgured to monitor if the actual website is available. This works without having to update the monitoring system every time you update your website.

 

I hope this helps, feel free to post any more questions you might have. I know this is an issue for many people, I see it as a kind of insurance - hopefully one never needs it, but it's there for you in case of an emergency, and it definitely improves one's quality of sleep :D

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