Reliable Web Hosting

By | October 3, 2010

Reliable web hosting services will allow you to make the most of your web presence and will allow you to get on with tasks that may be more important to you and the running of your business. The definition of a reliable web hosting service is usually one that is available at least 99.9% of the time, with a 0.1% downtime allowance per month; however, there are web hosting services available that can offer 100% guaranteed machine uptime. There are several different factors that can affect the reliability of a server; as well as the reliability of the machine itself, you need to consider the network that your server is hosted on as well as its source of power. Web hosting providers generally use several different connection providers in order to ensure that their servers will always be available from the internet, although they can never guarantee the reliability of their internal networks but these are usually the easiest to monitor. In any professional data centre, there will also be several different power sources in use to make sure that there’s a backup available if the main power line fails; backup systems such as UPSs (uninterruptable power supply) and diesel generators are examples of secondary power sources.

Network uptime is something you need to look at considerably when choosing a web hosting company as if the network that your server is hosted on is unreliable, your web hosting service will be unavailable even though the web hosting server itself may be running smoothly. Any reputable data centre will be running a high-end internal network that will ensure that there is always at least one path available to your server so that if one segment of the network fails, you won’t realize in principle as your website will still be accessible from the internet. Larger web hosting companies will be able to offer you certain assurances about their internal networks with some being able to offer SLAs including this clause. It is also important to have a look at which and the number of peers that your web hosting provider is using as it is these that provide the data centre with the internet connections that it requires in order to handle large volumes of traffic.

There are several different forms of web hosting that can guarantee reliability from the offset due to their system architecture. Clustered web hosting services can easily guarantee 100% machine uptime since there are multiple servers involved in a cluster meaning that if one server fails, there will be at least one other server available to take over the role of the server that is unavailable. Dedicated server hosting services can also offer a high level of reliability in terms of machine uptime as you will be the only one using your server’s hardware meaning that you will have full control of what resources are used and how they are assigned; however, if your server’s resources aren’t enough to cope with your requirements then you could face issues as once you are running low on resources, that’s when your server may end up crashing which is the last thing that you want.

If you feel that your website is vital to the running of your business then considering a web hosting provider that can offer you an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is recommended as this will mean that you can come to have some sort of reliable expectation as to the monthly uptime of your website. Service Level Agreements are usually offered with more expensive web hosting services such as dedicated server hosting as it shows that web hosting companies are committed to satisfying their bigger customers. When you are spending a large amount of money on web hosting you will also want to ensure that you get good value for money from your web hosting package and so having an SLA in place is a good way of guaranteeing this.

Your choice of web hosting platform is unlikely to have an affect on the level of reliability that you experience with your web hosting service since uptime is related to how the server is managed and how high the load is; reliability on the other hand is usually related to the external factors such as network and power. Although Windows web hosting services may not be that reliable in some situations, as long as you choose a web hosting company that manages its servers properly, you are unlikely to face any problems with any Windows web hosting service that you choose. Linux web hosting services have a good track record for reliability meaning that if you want to go for a web hosting package that you can rely on regardless of the hosting provider that you choose, Linux web hosting services are the way forward for you.

In terms of power supplies, this is probably the one external factor that you won’t have to worry about so much because data centres have so many measures in place to ensure that power is constantly supplied to servers and networking equipment in the event that the main power lines fail. The first line of backup are usually UPS batteries, which are effectively massive batteries that store large amounts of power that can be used to provide power for the short term. The second line of backup is usually multiple diesel generators that can be used to provide power for prolonged periods of time.

In conclusion, reliable web hosting is available from most web hosting companies – its just up to you to make sure that you make the correct choice as to which web hosting company and web hosting service you feel will be able to fulfil your uptime requirements. Although there are different factors that can affect the availability of a server, any good data centre will have measures in place to try and maximise the reliability of their network and power supplies; it is down to you as the manager of your own server or to your web hosting provider to ensure that your server stays running.