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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
Want Free Baby Stuff? Visit Favorite Baby Company Websites Are you, or someone you know, expecting? Impending motherhood is a very exciting, but often stressful transition, and also quite an expensive transition. When it comes to becoming a parent, the expenses can often seem overwhelming. But did you know that there are many freebies aimed specifically at the expecting couple? Here are some ways to find the best free baby stuff. General Tips for Getting the Best Free Baby Stuff If you are already familiar with baby companies or have your own favorite baby products, you will find that you can probably finagle some baby freebies. Your first step is to check the website for your favorite baby products company. Many baby product companies will give you a free sample, or other fine freebies, from your favorites. Sign up for baby products company newsletters. Put your name on their mailing list. This is an easy way to receive coupons, special offers, and yes, freebies, from your favorite baby products manufacturer. Get the Latest and Greatest in Free Baby Products from BabyCenter Do you wish you could find a website dedicated especially to finding the latest and greatest in free baby products? If so, you will definitely want to check out BabyCenter. This website features a library of freebie offers directed especially to the expectant parent. Check under Free Stuff and Great Deals for the best freebies, as well as the best in baby product coupons. One of the best things about the BabyCenter website is that it offers you the ability to search according to age or stage of your pregnancy. There is information and freebies for mothers who just learned they are pregnant to toddler parents or mother of young children. A Great Place to Find Free Baby Stuff If you are looking for a website that offers you some of the greatest and latest freebie deals in the baby department, check out Babiesonline.com. This website offers a whole section dedicated to free baby stuff. Here you will find a compendium of some of the best free baby websites. You will also find a link to free baby product samples. You will also find an offer for free pregnancy wristbands. Other free baby offers include free baby photo prints, free baby coupons and you can even sign up for the latest baby freebie alerts so that you never miss out on another great baby freebie. Looking for More Great Baby Freebies? If you still don't have your fill of great baby freebies, here are some more great places to find the best in baby freebies. The website babytobee.com offers many fine resources for the expectant father, including a collection of baby freebies. This is an also a great website to learn more about baby products and equipment. There are a whole section of free baby products, and you can even register for your own personal baby page. Count Down to Baby Time with Free Baby Web Resources Are you blogging your way to parenthood, or simply keeping a family page where you can relate the latest news of your pregnancy with friends and family members? If so, you will be glad to hear that there are many baby web freebies to be had. Check out the Lilypie baby ticker, a free baby due date countdown clock that you can place prominently on your website. This is a fun and easy way to countdown to the expected due date. You can also find free baby blogs, free baby-themed web design features and web hosting services as well as free baby photo upload services. You can create your own online haven for welcoming your newborn into the world.
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