Deep breath… and slowly count to three. An online business owners worst nightmare would be to have their website completely disappear from the face of the Internet. It could all be made worse if it’s a client that has alerted you to the problem or if it’s launch day for a new product or service.
We’ve let the dust settle before commenting on this story, as it’s not good to rub salt into people’s wounds. On one Saturday morning during April this year, 123-reg (one of the UK’s hosting big boys) managed to delete 67 servers worth of website data and even after 5 days, they were unable to restore data to all their customers. Their response to that was that the service is unmanaged and it’s the customer’s responsibility to carry out backups – but we are doing everything we can. Effectively this had deleted their customers online business – problematic if you are an online only retailer!
So, to help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, here are 5 questions you should be asking your current or future web host:
What type of hosting do you provide?
For maximum uptime and reliability, ideally you want cloud hosting or hosting using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). If you are offered hosting on a VPS (Virtual Private Servers) or shared hosting you are at the mercy of websites also hosted with you. If they use up server resources, your website will start to struggle. Dedicated servers are the other item offered – with this you are entirely dependent on the hardware provided, if it breaks, so does your website.
What is your service level in regard to uptime?
You’ll find companies offering anywhere between 99-100% uptime guarantees. To break this one down a little more, a 30-day month has 43200 minutes, if your host offers a 99% uptime; this allows 432 minutes of downtime a month (over 7 hours!). 99.9% allows for 45 mins per month and 99.99% allows fewer than 5 mins – in my eye, that’s only really achievable on cloud or CDN hosting. If they’re offering 100% – are they completing security updates or scheduled maintenance?
Are automated backups or redundancy included?
This one, is a really important one – if everything goes wrong, is there a backup of the site so you can reload it? The vast majority of hosts do not provide backups or redundancy – it simply costs too much. If you are happy to run that risk, make sure you or your designer has a copy. Better still, complete your own backups for that extra piece of mind.
Where are your servers located?
You’re a least looking for an answer to this one. The vast majority of UK infrastructure sits in Central London or Manchester. Ireland and northern France are popular locations for big hosts. Location has no importance with CDN, you’ll find these have locations in UK, Ireland, France, North America, Germany and so on.
Is there any support available?
Is support offered if things go wrong? Out of hours help? Support by phone or email? If you are a non-techie person, the thought of having to put your site back together after a failure could be a daunting one – choose a support package based on your skills and availability when you need it most.
If you are an Oxygen customer and are hosted on our Nettl Hosting platform, here are your answers:
- We provide cloud based hosting on the Amazon AWS platform
- Amazon’s service level agreement is 99.95% uptime
- Nettl hosting is automatically backed up and it’s mirrored too (meaning we have 2 copies of your live data)
- The main hosting location is Ireland, but we do offer some advanced options for customers that need international hosting or load balancing.
- We offer step-by-step support in keeping your website online. We don’t expect our customers to be fully clued up on how web servers work. The Nettl servers are monitored 24/7 and the support team are likely to know of a problem before you.
If you’d like to discuss moving your website to Nettl hosting. Give us a call, email, or pop in for a cuppa and we’ll quite happily talk you through what’s involved.
T. 01788 561991
33 Albert Street
Mike Leonard is the Web Manager here at Oxygen Graphics. Mike has come from the education sector where he specialised in IT and worked in various management roles during the past 14 years. Mike brings to us a wealth of knowledge in terms of coding, databases and specialist API integration along with a passion for making the most out of social media and online advertising. He can be contacted at the office on 01788 561991 and by email firstname.lastname@example.org