Hosting Your Own Website: Reliability - Physical Reliability
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The most obvious form of reliability with which you are concerned is the physical reliability of your server and its environment. If you decide to go with a server bank, then this is mostly out of your hands. However, you should be sure to choose a geographic location that is relatively low-risk. For instance, you might want to avoid cities that are notorious for flooding or large earthquakes.
If you are attempting to house your own server, then there are numerous preventative measures that you can take to improve your server’s reliability. You should have a backup generator that will kick in when the power goes out. Power outages happen everywhere and you have to account for them.
You should keep your server’s environment cool and dry. Electronics do not function well when they overheat or when they are exposed to water. You should also either have a filtration system to minimize dust in the air or frequently clean your server so that dust does not accumulate on its components.
For the server itself, you may consider investing in a “ghost” machine that can store all of the first server’s data redundantly. That way, if the first machine fails, the second machine can kick in right away and keep the website going. Unfortunately, computers do crash from time to time; again, you have to be prepared for such circumstances.
A slightly cheaper solution than the ghost machine is to set up your server’s hard drives in a RAID configuration. This will save the information if one of the hard drives fails. However, it will not help if another component of the computer—such as the motherboard, CPU, or memory—fails. If you are not looking for the highest level of protection and would like to save some money, then buying an extra hard drive is always cheaper than a whole new machine.
One step that you can take to prevent unnecessary down time and maintenance on your server is to invest in quality hardware. Cheaper off-name products have a tendency to fail with greater frequency and simply do not run as well as more expensive and reliable devices. Although the upfront cost is higher, you cannot really afford to have your server fail and take down your website for an extended period of time.
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