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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.
Some Info on Those ?Get Paid To? Sites Where You Can Get Free Stuff Anyone who has spent even five minutes online is aware that there are many websites that offer free stuff, and many people cash in on hundreds of dollars of free stuff every single month. But what about taking that one step further? What if you could not only get some free stuff, but also actually get paid to get free things? It sounds impossible but actually you can make a profit on getting free things online. The catch is that you have to devote a little bit of time and effort to finding these deals and completing them, but many people find that getting paid to get free things is well worth a little time investment. One of the top places to cash in for free stuff is so called ?get paid to? websites. These ?get paid to? websites usually act as clearinghouses for all kinds of internet offers that give users the chance to make some quick cash by completing some tasks. Most of the time, the tasks you have to complete on these ?get paid to? websites involve filling out some kind of survey or submitting your contact information to a company. When you visit one of these websites, you can often click through offer after offer and complete them in your own time, racking up the cash along the way. But sure, filling out surveys is a way to get paid for doing something very easy, but what about getting paid to get free stuff? These offers also appear on these websites. Most often, you will get a free meal at a local restaurant and then get paid for submitting a report about your experience there. This kind of ?mystery shopper? deal is also in place at many big chain stores, where you may be given a gift card for a small amount to go into the store, buy something and report back about your experience. Companies use these services to test their customer service in stores and figure out what they could be doing better. So, not only will you get a free meal or a free item at a store, you?ll get paid for telling the company if you were treated well by the staff ? not a bad gig if you can get it! The way to get one of the deals is to keep a close eye on the ?get paid to? websites. There are many of these websites out there, so the best way to figure out which ones are worth your time is to look for ones that have deals on offer from big name companies that you know. Most of the times, a major company will work with one website exclusively, so you getting in with the website that has the biggest number of big name companies mean you will have access to the most valuable ?get paid to? deals on offer. Is there a catch to all of this free stuff? Well, there can be, but you can mitigate the hassle to some extent. The biggest problem with free stuff online is that you have to hand over your email address to a company who is sure to both solicit you in the future and sell your email address to other companies who will also start soliciting you by email. Cut the hassle by setting up a separate email address just for these purposes, so that your primary email address does not struggle under the weight of the spam. Also, never give out your phone number ? you can use a phony one with a 555 exchange or set up an online number that you use only for freebies. Managed properly, you can really get paid to get free stuff with a minimum amount of hassle.
Self-Publishing and Other Options Online (how to get a book published online) There?s no question about it. There is more room for more types of writing on the internet. Many people know that getting a book published for the book store shelves is next to impossible. The competition is overwhelming. Most successful writers have already achieved fame and so are able to write book after book. The unknown, though still talented writers are shut out. Publishing books is expensive and time consuming. There are only so many readers in the world. To keep the ratios between writers and readers comfortable, less than one percent of would be writers actually get published. That is all changing now. The internet is big enough for everyone it seems. It offers many more, less expensive publishing opportunities. It also gives exposure to aspiring writers allowing them more chances to impress the hard copy publishers. So, the opportunities are there. Do you want to know how to get a book published online? Is Self-Publishing Cheating? Self-publishing is certainly not cheating. Depending on what your goals are of course, it may or may not be a direction you would like to take. In the hard copy world, self-publishing is cost prohibitive. Actually getting a book into print costs more money than a typically poor beginning writer can muster. That is the great thing about the internet. It?s free. You can either start up a free website of your own and post your novel, or pay a small monthly sum and attempt to sell your writing online. By paying for a website you will be allowed to sell a product from that site. If you can write well enough to catch someone?s attention, they may be willing to pay for a download of your book. That is how to get a book published online. Just do it yourself. You circumvent the normal book publishing costs and still get some exposure. You just may luck out and get the attention of someone who thinks you could make money off of your writing. If you?d really like to hurry up the process to getting your books in print, there is another route to go. Pay to Be Published Everything is cheaper when done ?en masse?. There are book publishers that reduce the cost of publishing by running the presses all of the time. If you?d like to know about another way of how to get a book published online, this is it. With publishing companies though, you don?t have to dream about getting your book on the shelves. The online self-publishing companies require a fee ? which will be much less than if you were to try to print yourself. They use your money to get your writing into print. You have the option of publishing your own book, or for a much smaller investment, to be included in an anthology. You won?t get as much exposure as from a big name publishing company, but it will be significant nonetheless. E-Book Publishers A third road to travel if you?re wondering how to get a book published online is that of e-books. They are another form of writing that can get you the practice and exposure that you need. Instead of writing on a topic of your choice though, e-book assignments are centered on topics that a typical person will search for online. They are normally informative and how-to books. They are usually short and to the point. E-book publishers are willing to pay experienced and capable writers to create book length, researched writing. How about adding that to your resume? Publishing a book online is easier than publishing in the world of hard copy. The end result is not as glorified, but it is a step towards success in the published realm. The more experience you can get writing, the better writer you will be. As the internet becomes more depended upon, you may find yourself on the frontline of the publishing movement.