When considering a shared web hosting service or dedicated web hosting service, you are going to want to be sure of the level of server reliability that you are going to be provided with as to enable you to draw a rough picture of the level of uptime that you can come to expect from your chosen web hosting service.
Server reliability is something that is governed by how well a server is managed, with the best managed servers being the most reliable and offering the best uptime; in order to manage a server properly you need to be well versed in server management skills and larger web hosting providers tend to offer the best support technicians around, although smaller web hosting companies aim to put more emphasis on how well their servers are managed.
Some often argue that your choice of operating system can affect how reliable a server is, but at the end of the day there are a number of different factors internal to a server that can affect the level of uptime that it provides; as well as the number of websites hosting affecting the load, the resources available can be a major cause of server downtime in most situations.
Importance of Uptime
Uptime is one of the most important factors for businesses choosing web hosting packages because if their web hosting service is unavailable because of downtime, then their website will be inaccessible. The general rule is that downtime costs businesses money and so any good web hosting provider will be taking all the precautions that they can to ensure that they are able to meet the uptime guarantees that they apply to their web hosting services, with most attention being paid to the web hosting services that will be most appealing to businesses such as server hosting services.
As a VPS server or dedicated server hosting customer you are responsible for the uptime of your own web hosting service because unless you have chosen to use a server that is provided with full server management, it is up to you to manage your server hosting environment properly.
There are several external factors that can affect the uptime of a VPS server or dedicated server, such as the network that your server is hosted on as well as the power systems that your server is running off; web hosting companies will do all they can to create multiple backup power systems and networks to ensure that if either of these do fail, there will never be a chance of complete failure.
Improving Server Reliability
As a server administrator there are several steps that you can take to improve the reliability of your server so that you can improve the uptime that you are provided with by your dedicated web hosting service.
One of the most basic methods of improving server reliability is to increase the resources that are available on your server; this means that if you are a VPS server user then you should consider buying additional resources, but as a dedicated server owner you have the power to go further because the resources that you are using are physical meaning that the resources available are far more scalable.
On top of this you can optimize the applications that you are using on your VPS server or dedicated server so that they use less resources, freeing up more resources for other applications that may need them if you experience load spikes. Setting up a distributed platform that is made up of several servers that allows you to enable load-balancing is also recommended.
Service Level Agreements
Service Level Agreements are offered by larger web hosting companies to their biggest customers as an incentive to purchase web hosting services from them, mainly because the primary function of an SLA is to guarantee businesses with a certain level of compensation if their web hosting provider fails to offer them the level of uptime guaranteed.
With server hosting services you are responsible for the management and uptime of your own server, but there are external factors that an SLA governs such as the network that your server is hosted on as well as any power problems that could arise. If you are a VPS server hosting customer then an SLA may not be available, but as a dedicated server hosting customer an SLA is pretty much guaranteed.
Any good web hosting company will be hosting their servers in a data centre that provides multiple networks to offer a backbone that can’t fail; this will include multiple feeds to the internet to ensure that if one connection fails, your server will be reachable through another connection. Multiple power sources will also be employed to make sure that if the main power systems do fail, there are multiple backups available that can be counted on to power your server.
Price in Relation to Performance
You will find that the better performing server hosting services are going to cost more, meaning that reliability is something that will come at a premium. Even though some web hosting companies can offer low cost VPS servers and dedicated servers, these tend to be unmanaged at any level which infers that reliability may not be an inherent factor of these web hosting services.
If server reliability is important to you then you will be willing to shell out the extra cash to pay for a higher end web hosting service that can provide you with the uptime that you need.
In conclusion, server reliability is an issue that is important to businesses that use their websites as a way to generate revenue, whether it be through advertising or from the selling of goods and services.
As a server administrator you can take steps to improve the reliability of your server so that you are receiving good value for money from your chosen web hosting services, but external factors that can affect availability such as network and power are under the control of your web hosting provider and/or data centre.