7 Tips to Keep Your Business Web Servers from Crashing
Creating an online presence takes time and effort, and you do not want all that hard work to go to waste because of a server crash. For online business, their website and online presence in general can be their most valuable asset. But suffering from downtime because of server crashing can be catastrophic for your online business.
There are a number of ways you can utilize in order to ensure your downtime is kept to a minimum. Below are the tips to avoid web server crashing when traffic is spiking non-stop:
Select the right server
Before you even get started, you should consider the type and specification of web server you will need. Below are the types of web servers that will suit your business needs:
- Shared Hosting – This option saves you money but comes with a risk. You could end up suffering downtime if one of the other users overloads the server
- VPS Hosting – With this option you still share a server but have your own section of it. You are still at risk if someone crashes the server but your data is better protected
- Dedicated Hosting – You get a whole server to yourself so it is up to you to maintain it from a client side. However, chances are your server will be located elsewhere from your business and it still at risk from external issues such as heat spikes, fire or flood
- Cloud Hosting – Alternatively, you may wish to use Amazon Web Services, which is a Cloud solution. This means there is no physical server, so it can’t get damaged or overheat. However, it is still at risk from virtual issues such as a server overload or hacking
- Own Hosting – If you have the space for it, with the proper climate controls available, you can buy your own server and keep it at your premises. This means you can deal with internal and external issues as soon as they arise. For large enterprise companies, you’ll likely want to look at having two or more separate servers. One functioning as a web server, which hosts the website files, with another server used solely for databases
Do a basic check on your server
Contact your webmaster and ask to ensure that you do not have basic data caps in place with your website host. Lots of web hosts impose general data caps that limit the capacity of data transfer to and from a website. While this normally would not present an issue for regular usage, sites that expect to come under heavy traffic should manually request removal of the caps. This might require some additional expense but it will be well worth it to ensure that your user experience is seamless.
Use a “Content Delivery Network” (CDN)
This is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user. CDN distributes the load to multiple servers instead of letting your main server take the entire traffic thus making it less likely to crash.
Maintain a cool environment
Server rooms are at the heart of IT operations, and in order to prevent hardware malfunction and system failure, proper operation and setup is critical. Excess heat can especially wreak havoc for small to mid-sized business servers. For most companies, a server crash can mean extended downtime, idle employees, high stress and thousands of dollars in lost business opportunity. If proper attention is not given to your server system in your IT room, the outside temperature combined with heat generated from the machines themselves could literally destroy your server system beyond repair.
Divide your system and stress each section individually
Not all parts of your system will receive equal loads and traffic patterns. Identify different capacities and weak spots, and take proactive measures.
Set up back-up servers and locations
Crashes can happen anytime. By setting up back-up servers and locations, you can make sure you are ready to continue providing service in a very short time.
Employ monitoring software
Depending on your situation, you should be making use of server monitoring software to spot issues before they become a major problem causing downtime. Commonly used tools include NewRelic, Boundary and NodeQuery, all of which will continuously monitor your server load, even when you are away from the office. These tools will keep an eye on your server and alert you if it reaches a pre-determined load limit. This gives you time to find the issue, address it and solve it before your server crashes.