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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
Want Free Baby Stuff? Visit Favorite Baby Company Websites Are you, or someone you know, expecting? Impending motherhood is a very exciting, but often stressful transition, and also quite an expensive transition. When it comes to becoming a parent, the expenses can often seem overwhelming. But did you know that there are many freebies aimed specifically at the expecting couple? Here are some ways to find the best free baby stuff. General Tips for Getting the Best Free Baby Stuff If you are already familiar with baby companies or have your own favorite baby products, you will find that you can probably finagle some baby freebies. Your first step is to check the website for your favorite baby products company. Many baby product companies will give you a free sample, or other fine freebies, from your favorites. Sign up for baby products company newsletters. Put your name on their mailing list. This is an easy way to receive coupons, special offers, and yes, freebies, from your favorite baby products manufacturer. Get the Latest and Greatest in Free Baby Products from BabyCenter Do you wish you could find a website dedicated especially to finding the latest and greatest in free baby products? If so, you will definitely want to check out BabyCenter. This website features a library of freebie offers directed especially to the expectant parent. Check under Free Stuff and Great Deals for the best freebies, as well as the best in baby product coupons. One of the best things about the BabyCenter website is that it offers you the ability to search according to age or stage of your pregnancy. There is information and freebies for mothers who just learned they are pregnant to toddler parents or mother of young children. A Great Place to Find Free Baby Stuff If you are looking for a website that offers you some of the greatest and latest freebie deals in the baby department, check out Babiesonline.com. This website offers a whole section dedicated to free baby stuff. Here you will find a compendium of some of the best free baby websites. You will also find a link to free baby product samples. You will also find an offer for free pregnancy wristbands. Other free baby offers include free baby photo prints, free baby coupons and you can even sign up for the latest baby freebie alerts so that you never miss out on another great baby freebie. Looking for More Great Baby Freebies? If you still don't have your fill of great baby freebies, here are some more great places to find the best in baby freebies. The website babytobee.com offers many fine resources for the expectant father, including a collection of baby freebies. This is an also a great website to learn more about baby products and equipment. There are a whole section of free baby products, and you can even register for your own personal baby page. Count Down to Baby Time with Free Baby Web Resources Are you blogging your way to parenthood, or simply keeping a family page where you can relate the latest news of your pregnancy with friends and family members? If so, you will be glad to hear that there are many baby web freebies to be had. Check out the Lilypie baby ticker, a free baby due date countdown clock that you can place prominently on your website. This is a fun and easy way to countdown to the expected due date. You can also find free baby blogs, free baby-themed web design features and web hosting services as well as free baby photo upload services. You can create your own online haven for welcoming your newborn into the world.
Beautiful Pens are Just the Beginning: Fascinating Gifts for Writers (gifts for writers) Buying gifts is a difficult project in many cases. Sometimes a person seems to already have everything. They may not enjoy the typical gift ideas that come to your mind. To buy the perfect gift, it is essential to actually know a person. A basic understanding of likes and dislikes will help, but passions will guide you to a really great gift. If you cannot come to a conclusion for what to buy for a friend, you can also consult other sources for gift ideas. Following are some ideas for buying gifts for writers. Writers are passionate people. They are passionate about words and about truth. They are also passionate about their subject matter. Is there a writer in your life? By using these guidelines, along with your knowledge about that person, you can come up with an ideal gift that they will treasure. Under Twenty Dollars As suggested by the title, a beautiful pen is almost always an inexpensive and appropriate gift for a writer. Most writers spend much of their time jotting down thoughts and ideas. As they meander through their day, an idea may strike at any time. Give them a quality instrument to facilitate great thoughts. You can also include a personalized pad of paper to hold on to the brainstorms. Another great gift for a writer is a magazine subscription. A good writer needs to keep up with the type of writing that is being published. Sometimes they need a little bit of light reading to keep their creative juices flowing. Choose the magazine based on some interest that you and your friend share. Under One Hundred Dollars If you want to spend a little bit more on gifts for writers, you can start taking your gift buying to a little bit different level. For less than one hundred dollars your options open up. Books are great gifts for writers. You can buy new books in the writer?s area of interest or expertise. He will probably always be ready to expand his own knowledge base. You can also buy reference books. Style manuals are very helpful when a writer has strict guidelines to follow. Your writing friend probably already has a pretty good dictionary, but you can buy them the best one. Thesauruses and literary guides are also interesting gifts to receive. Moving away from words for a bit, a writer would also love to receive an artifact that has to do with their main subject matter. If he is a history buff, try to find an authentic coin from the particular piece of history he finds most fascinating. Under Five Hundred Dollars At the next level of gift buying, your options start expanding into more elaborate forms of previous gifts. Very old and rare books may fall into this price range. Very old or particularly good quality antiques will also be fairly expensive. Gifts for writers also often fall into the category of electronics. Good printers make the writing all that more impressive looking on the page. Software and other hardware for the computer is also a worthwhile gift for a writer that spends most of his day sitting at his computer. A nice digital camera is also a fantastic gift for a writer that wants to remember situations exactly in order to adequately describe them later. Won?t Cost you A Dime Some of the best gifts for writers won?t cost you anything. Many of the more expensive gifts are extremely practical, but the free ones can be that also. The nature of a writing career leads writers to spend a lot of time alone. A good gift is just some company. Take your friend out for dinner with a group of mutual friends. He?ll appreciate the time away from the desk. If he?s been trying to get an interview with someone, you can put the leg work in for him and schedule it. All that will cost you is some time and effort. Not all gifts have to cost money. Good luck finding the perfect one for the writer in your life.