Ensuring your website remains functional and accessible to the outside world is all part and parcel of your hosting agreement. It covers things like server security, software and content management system patches and updates. As well as running a general, watchful eye over all of our systems.
It works well here: Creatomatic’s web hosting clients enjoy an enviable uptime and performance record and it’s something we’re really proud of. Unfortunately, very occasionally, hardware fails. Servers are after all just big, beefy computers, so when things go South, it’s good to know your hosting provider has a Plan B. Which we do.
By switching our domain names to our new managed platform, we’re able to reduce the amount of potential downtime in times of absolute catastrophic system failure by quite literally days. Here’s how.
We keep backups
Most web agencies keep backups. (If you’re not absolutely certain yours does, you might want to have a bit of a chat with them before you need to…).
Keeping a well managed, comprehensive backup archive allows us to restore individual websites and/or entire servers over a fairly short time frame. In most cases, 15 minutes-ish for a small site to a day or so’s work to restore an entire server) – should something really quite drastic have happened.
The issue with this is that, should a server take the kind of hit that renders it belly-up, it can take a few days to spec, order and spin up a replacement. Now, if you’re running say, a busy eCommerce website for example, that’s potentially a lot of missed sales while things are being sorted out. That’s a situation we didn’t feel particularly happy about, and wanted to improve.
We keep a redundant server in service
Going one step further, at Creatomatic we keep an empty server in reserve. It sits waiting patiently to be called upon should it be needed in an emergency. This means that, if the worst should strike, we can get straight onto replicating the server and its websites from backups. Not bad, eh?
However, even going as far as running multiple spare servers isn’t the absolute best that we can do. Once we’ve got the server up and running, there then remains the task of updating all of the domain names that used to point at its now retired predecessor. Previously, this was a manual task which added valuable time to the job of actually making the updates and waiting for 24-72 hours for DNS records to update. What a scunner!
We’re automating DNS updates
Now, though, we’re investing in systems which automate this process. We’re turning a potential 3 day long headache into a 30 second, stress-free script to update multiple domain names and DNS entries in the quickest possible timeframe. It’ll save days of downtime if we ever need to use it.
Obviously, we of course hope that’ll never be the case. There’s a lot of work being done to get everything into place, and we’re being careful to ensure things run smoothly – you shouldn’t feel or notice a thing.
Anyway. That’s why we’re upgrading how we manage our domain names these days.
Just thought you might be interested to know.