Secrets of hosting reliability

Hi again! Hope you had a great afternoon! I know I had! Anyways let’s begin! Today we will be talking about the reliability of your hosting server and how to maximize to as much as possible.

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So what really is meant by “Reliability of your Hosting Service”? Well, it’s nothing more than the amount of Uptime of your Server. Here, uptime is referred to the amount of time the Server is actually accessible to the Users. And opposite to Uptime, we have the term “Downtime” which like you guessed it correct is the amount of time the Server is down or is not accessible to the users. And being a person who is hosting a Web Server, it is very crucial for you to provide a reliable service because even if you are offering tons of processing power and loads of storage but your server is down most of the time, your users will eventually go away. Therefore it is very important that you try and keep your server online for as much time as possible.

Having said that, it is somewhat impossible to have a Server up and running with 100% uptime as there can be unforeseen circumstances or you might have to take your server down for some regular and scheduled maintenance work. Even big Web Hosting providers have a maximum uptime of 99.9%. The remaining time which the server is offline is used for Scheduled maintenance tasks. Now there are large scale professional companies. And if they don’t have a 100% Uptime then it is fairly easy to say that we being home users setting up their servers in their homes also cannot have 100% or even 99.5% Uptime as we will obviously have more problems like Power Outages, Internet Breakdown, Server failure which other big Web Hosting Companies might have taken care off.

But still, we can on our part try to make our Server as reliable as possible. The first step in doing that is to ensure that there are no power outages in your area. If Power Outages do regularly occur then it might be a good idea to get a portable generator or a small scale UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). The second step is to ensure that you have a stable and reliable Internet Connection. The next step is to work on your Backup strategies. There must be a clear cut backup system in place which makes a copy of your entire Server at least once a day and saves that on another PC or even to an external hard disk. In case your Server crashes for some reason and your data is lost, you can quickly restore your data from the Backup PC or external storage and get the Server up and running.

Another factor which comes into reliability is the Website’s response time i.e. how fast the website loads and responds. And there are two main factors on which this depends. The first is the distance between the Server and the user. So, suppose if you and your Server is in the United States and a person from Japan is trying to access it then the access time for the person in Japan will be considerably more compared to the access time for users within and around the US. So make sure to ask your clients where a majority of their Users are based. The second factor is the amount of websites hosted. Needless to say, the more load there is on the Server i.e. the more sites there are hosted, the more time it will take to access them. So be sure to put a stop to the number of Websites you’re hosting on your Server.


That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed this article. See you all next time!

P.S. And the photo is just to attract your attention – I took it last summer in the fields near the university.

Making a website hosting server at home : My Experience

Hello everyone! Hope you all are doing okay!

Well lets not waste any more time then. In this post, I will recollect all of the experiences which I had while setting up the Web Hosting Server in my home. As I have mentioned, I am a Computer Science Student and I like to tinker a lot with different kinds of technologies and that’s when I got the idea to set up my own Web Hosting Server. I read around on the internet and looked up the hardware specifications (I have an entire article on how to choose hardware for your Server in case you missed it). In the end, here is the Server Setup that I had:

  • Intel Xeon E3 – 1220 Processor with 3.1Ghz clock speed and 8MB Cache
  • Gigabyte GT 297 Motherboard
  • ECC Crucial Server 8GB Memory Module
  • Seagate Barracuda 1TB Internal Hard Disk
  • 4Mbps Broadband Internet Connection
  • Logitech K400R Wireless Keyboard
  • Logitech M320 Wireless Mouse
  • 20” Acer V203H Widescreen LCD Monitor
  • Operating System of Choice: Windows Server 2012 R2

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I know I know a lot of you may question my choice of going with Windows Server 2012 R2 instead of any popular distribution of Linux such as Ubuntu Server 14.04.3 LTS. So first of all, in case you missed it, I have written an entire article debating and weighing the pros and cons of both Windows and Linux as Server Operating Systems. And based on those weights only, did I choose to go with Windows. And I reason is that I wanted to get my Server up and running in as little time as possible and I had no prior experience of setting up a Linux Machine. If I had chosen Linux then I would have to spend an ample amount of time first trying to set up a Linux Server and then learn the Command Line interface of Linux in order to get anything decent out of it. On the other hand, Setting up a Windows Server is a fairly easy and straightforward process. Also I am very much used to the interface of Windows since I have been using Windows probably ever since I started using Computers. Therefore, I chose Windows as it was saving me a lot of time. Having said that, there’s no denying the fact that Linux truly is much more stable than Windows Server and is a lot more flexible ONLY and ONLY if you know how to use it. Probably one of my next challenges would be to learn how to set up a Linux Server and then shift the hosting service from Windows to Linux. Though I’m not sure when I’ll actually take up that challenge.

Moving on, so I bought my copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 (read my post about what’s better, Windows or Linux) and no, I did not download a pirated copy off the Internet if that’s what you’re thinking. I assembled the Hardware components, installed the Operating System and the Server came to Life! However, this was just a regular PC. To make it a proper server, I had to install all the necessary tools that would come in use. So that’s what I did and installed all the tools such as an Apache Server (absolutely necessary to run a Web Server), Mysql, FileZilla for setting up an FTP Server, a VPN and other similar range of services.

There were two problems which I faced with the Web Server.

One was that since I lived in a relatively hot and humid area, the server would heat up a lot and therefore crashed sometimes. So to counter that, I installed a proper cooling system. I wanted to save the cost of using the Air Conditioner 24×7 as that would cost me a fortune on electricity bills. So what I did was install a stylish bladeless Dyson fan near my desk as well as an efficient Lasco window fan in the window which worked as an exhaust fan. The entire setup not only got rid of all the heat generated from the server but also made the room feel much more cooler than the remaining parts of the house.

The second problem was that power outages were very common in my locality. However, I didn’t really have to do anything about that as there was a stand by generator installed in my House and the Server would start up automatically in nearly 6-7 seconds after being shut down due to power failure. Yes, that resulted in a downtime but It was very negligible as well as affordable. The last thing which I did to ensure reliability of my Server was to have a low powered PC connected to the Server via a network with Tons of storage whose sole aim would be to store the data files of the Server as backup in case the Server crashed or was breached and all the data was lost.

Also, I did not realize it in the beginning but I should not have put the server on the same power circuit that my kitchen appliances use. I have a habit of eating french fries while working on my project. I cook them at home (btw, I use a here’s the one I have at home) from flash-frozen pre-cut potatoes. So, I set up a bunch to fry and then go to my office to work. Once it is ready and the fryer timer makes a sound, I come back and bring the fries to the office. In the beginning, when my server ran at the same time as the fryer, I often ended up with dead fuses 🙁 So I had to carefully choose a power outlet to plug in my server to avoid such collisions.

Oh well, that were my thoughts went stray. Back to the topic.

Now that my server was up and running, the final phase was to pitch my service out to potential users. Now since I am not a professional Web Hosting Service provider, my best chance at getting Clients was through Free Web Hosting Services with add on packages which were obviously paid. So what I did was set up my website for Web Hosting, made a few packages such as “Free, Bronze, Silver and Gold” and went live with my service.

I did end up making quite a fair amount of money from it and I still do. However to truly get a serious amount of cash out of this, one has to invest a lot of time and energy into this and take it as a business. I didn’t set up a Web Server because I wanted to have a professional service which I could sell for Money. My aim was to learn and that’s I what I did. I learned how to set up a small scale web hosting Server in my home. And now that its been done, I look forward to my next endeavor.

It was nice talking to you all. See you all soon !

Windows vs Linux: Which Is Better For a Server

Hello again! So in the last post we left off with a review of the hardware of a server. Granted that it is very important to choose the correct hardware for your server as using under-powered or overpowered hardware will result in either your server crashing or the server being underutilized. But it is all the more important to use the correct Operating System on your server based on your needs. The two major contenders are obviously Windows server and Linux Server with further distributions in Linux and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the advantages of both of these.

Pros and Cons of Windows

Windows is a name which our generation has grown up listening to day in and day out. It has literally become a household name these days. Windows like we all know is developed by Microsoft. Unlike Linux, Windows is much easier to use and maintain. More than 90% of the people already use Windows on their personal laptops. Chances are that a person hasn’t even heard of Linux but uses Windows in their day to day lives. That’s why people are more comfortable with the interface of Windows than that of Linux. If you are a Windows user on your personal laptop or computer, you can easily set up a Windows Server in your Web Server with minimal learning effort. The Installation process of Windows is also much easier and well defined than Linux. You do not have to be an expert in Coding or anything like that in order to Set up Windows. It’s just that easy!

The Support for Windows Server is also much more extensive and organized than that of Linux. Since windows are developed by Microsoft, there is a proper support system in place for any and every queries, bugs problems etc. that occur with Windows Server.

Another factor which plays in favor of Windows Server is the large number of softwares supported by Windows. Nearly every software ever made since the history of Softwares will have a version for Windows when it might not have any kind of support for Linux or Mac OS X. So, you can be rest assured that you will never have software compatibility issues if you’re going with Windows Server. The same cannot be said for Linux unfortunately. Although, Linux tries to minimize the compatibility issue with Wine, compatibility layer software which sits on top of Linux and allows the users to run Windows Applications, the experience is still nowhere near the same as running the same software in a Windows environment.

Also, Linux does not have a very good support for .NET Framework and .ASP so if you are working with Technologies that include .NET and .ASP then you’ll probably have a easier time running those applications and websites on a Windows Server rather than on Linux.

There are obvious downsides to using a Windows Server as well. The first and foremost being that Windows is not free! The license for a copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 can cost upwards of $1000. It might sound a bit silly to consider this as a downside as softwares are usually paid but considering the fact that the Software which competing with Windows Server is absolutely free, this is a major downside of Windows Server.

Since, Windows Server is a proprietary Software, its source code is not available online. Hence, you are stuck with the features that have already been provided. It is not very flexible in that regard.

I could keep going on and on About Windows but I think we should switch to Linux now.

Pros and Cons of Linux Server

As mentioned before, Windows Server is developed by Microsoft. Linux on the other hand is developed by the Open Source Community! Yes! There is no actual company behind Linux but rather it is the entire Open Source community who over time have contributed to Linux and made it what it is today. A free and Open Source Operating System. Unlike Windows, there are a lot of Distributions of Linux. These distributions all have the same fundamental features of the Linux Kernel but have added functions or tuned themselves for specific purposes. For example, Ubuntu is used for general use, open SUSE is used for Servers and then there is centOS which is again very popular with Web Hosts and small businesses.

This brings us to the flexibility of Linux. Since the source code is available online and you can easily tinker around with the source code, you can have any feature or any package installed or added to your Linux Distro (short for distribution)in no time. This makes Linux much more flexible and stable than Windows Server as any issues which are pointed out by the members are quickly resolved by the Open Source Community and the users do not have to wait for monthly updates or patches from a company before their issues can be resolved or patched. This is the reason why Linux is much more stable and does not crash as often as Windows Server. If you have access to the code and you know how to fix it, then you can fix it yourself rather than being on call with tech support all day and wait for your issue to be resolved. Another aspect where Linux is very strong is Security. It is very hard to breach Linux if you know how to secure it properly.

However the downside to having Linux as your server especially since you’re new to Linux is that you’ll need a lot of time in getting used to Linux and its Environment. Installing Linux and setting it up is very hard and while using Linux as a Server, you will be doing most of your work in the terminal which again requires a lot of learning if you need to get something fruitful out of your server. The flexibility of Linux can only be harnessed only if you know how to harness it. Setting up, playing around and fixing Linux is only possible only when you know what you’re doing. That is why Windows is preferable if you don’t want to waste your time in managing Linux.

That was all I could say on the subject. I’ll meet you all next time. Good bye till then!

Update: Another interesting article on the subject: PostgreSQL : Linux VS Windows