ITX Design has been providing web hosting solutions for over 10 years. We’ve dealth with our share of “disasters”, however thankfully we haven’t had any crisis situations since the 2007 Navisite migration and the fire at The Planet in 2008.
So how do you create a cost effective or cheap disaster recovery plan for your website? I would suggest using a thirdparty dns solution like dnsmadeeasy.com and point your domain’s dns to them with a REALLY low TTL – 120 seconds. The TTL stands for Time To Live and the best way to explain it is to use the example of traffic cops. Your website is at it’s current location and people visit it there because traffic cops of DNS tells visitors to go there. A low TTL tells visitors computers that they shouldn’t store the directions that they receive from the traffic cop in memory for very long. Instead they should forget how they got here and each time they access your site they should consult with the traffic cop to ensure it’s still at that same location on the web.
What does this accomplish? If there’s a serious emergency that involves downtime of 12+ hours you can setup your site on another network and restore the backup (yes you should be creating backups of your site daily). A solution like dnsmadeeasy.com and the low TTL ensures your site is back online quickly.
Here are the key components to a cheap disaster recovery plan for your website:
1.) backups – make sure you have backups of your site on your computer so you can easily restore your site on another network or server
2.) use a reliable third-party dns solution like DNS Made Easy so you can lower your TTL using servers with global dns capabilities
3.) knock on wood but rest assured that you’re prepared and capable of switching your site over to another network/server with very little propagation
Propagation is the time that it takes for the internet’s traffic cops to identify a change in location and direct visitors accordingly.