Why Don’t Web Hosts Offer Automatic Fail-over?

Mark from 45n5 and ShowYourAdHere has been having some serious problems lately with hosting, and his recent post about Failover DNS really made me think. As Mark explains:

There is a Dns Server that gets your request for a web page first.

It takes the urladdress.com and resolves it to an ip address like 132.70.433.34

Basically, that IP address is where your files, pictures, and good stuff is located, we call it the web server.

The way it should work is if the server with your files is down the dns server will just send your visitors to another server.

But that doesn’t happen. With most hosts (all that I know of,) your users just get a “Page Not Found” screen, which is very unprofessional. What you can do with services such as DNSMadeEasy is set up a failover server (with a spare server such as a regular $8/month hosting account,) and when your primary server goes down, the traffic is sent to the failover server.

With static pages that’s very easy to do with redundancy, but it’s more difficult with database driven sites like blogs (and in Mark’s case, an Ad Server.)

Regardless, why do no webhosts offer complete fail-over coverage with a remote or outsourced server? They could offer excellent (or ever 100%) uptime, and they wouldn’t be exaggerating. Yes, you can do it yourself, but customers shouldn’t have to go through the hassle of setting up a fail-over solution – that should be the job of the web host. Who wouldn’t mind paying a couple extra dollars a month for that service?

If I’m mistaken, please let me know, but I don’t know of any regular web host to offer this as a standard feature.

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