This past week, you could not escape the discussions about U.S. government agencies having to pull the plug on their websites. Forced downtime is a website operator’s worst nightmare and while we’ve been waiting for the government to get back to work and get their websites back online, it got me thinking about those of us that have a choice to keep their sites up.
Unless you have the proper services in place, your website and online presence could be at risk, and while no service can be foolproof, a layered approach for your website and online services is key to success.
Here are three simple steps to help build a fault tolerant design:
You should never put all of your eggs in one basket, and that applies to where you host your website and services. If you are hosting from only one location, then at some point you should expect to have an outage, or, at the very least, a slowdown.
Always prepare for that day that your hosting provider stops working or is forced to stop hosting your website. Make sure you have a backup site(s), or look into a content delivery network service (CDN).
These days, there are so many easy choices. Don’t sell your company short by setting up something that will not stay up if tested.
Get A Good DNS Provider
Now that you have wisely chosen to have your website and services hosted in more than one location, you need to make sure that people can find them reliably, so its time to find a good DNS provider. DNS has been called the “phone book of the Internet”, so make sure you choose a provider that can help make sure that your customers can reach you all of the time.
Your provider should have a global network, and they should also be fast and reliable. If you are doing things properly, you will have a DNS provider that can support many geo-redundant sites, and they provide you fast failover in the event of a failed hosting location.
Always Plan For Failure
Having made the best choices for your hosting and DNS needs are good steps towards success, but you should always be ready for failure even with the best design. As you put together your requirements for a fault-tolerant platform, always plan for something to go sideways and be prepared for it. No one is perfect, and certainly no service is either. Always be ready for the unexpected.
Now if we could only get the government running that smoothly.