Uptime has always been important, but there’s never been a time in history where it’s as mission-critical as it is today. From business transactions to recreational purposes and anything in between, just about everything is online now.
Whatever the nature of your business, the simple truth is you can’t afford downtime. The cost is too great. Not only can downtime cost your business up to $260,000 an hour or more, it can cost your consumers big too as online work, education, and play continue to rise at rapid rates.
Why risk it?
Barring a full-on zombie apocalypse or massive EMP attack that takes the entire planet offline, there’s no excuse for an outage when redundant services like DNS Failover and simple load balancing options are readily available.
What is Load Balancing and DNS Failover?
Load balancing allows you to distribute your network traffic across two or more servers. This prevents a single server from being overwhelmed. It also improves performance and responsiveness and prevents outages. Since traffic is cycled between servers, if one server is experiencing lag or goes down, traffic will begin to cycle between the healthy resources automatically.
Failover is essentially a safety net for your domain(s) and is also one of the most simple load-balancing methods. It helps keep your networks and domains from going down during an outage by diverting traffic from a problematic server to a healthy one. Like other load balancing options, it’s all about creating redundancy.
How Failover Works
In order for Failover to work, you first need to have two or more IP addresses within your DNS records that point to at least one other server. When your records are configured for Failover, the DNS system will perform health checks.
In our case, health checks operate on three sensitivity levels (fast, medium, and slow). By default, all accounts are set to “medium,” which performs health checks every 2.5 to 3 minutes from multiple locations to ensure peak performance and 100% uptime. Sensitivity settings can be changed to reflect the needs of your specific domain(s), but medium is a safe and reliable setting for most businesses.
When a request comes through for an IP address that is down, the query will automatically be sent to the alternative server you configured in your record. If the second IP address is down and you have specified a third IP, the query will be sent to the third server, and so on. DNS Made Easy supports up to five backup web servers for Failover.
Unless you have configured your Failover to fail one way, we will automatically “fail back” to your primary server once it is available again.
We also ensure your primary server is truly down and that your backup server is functional before we trigger a failover event and make a change to your IP. Many other DNS providers change your IP before verifying the integrity of your backup server, so be sure to check on this before signing up with any provider.
Different Types of Failover and Load Balancing Techniques
There are several ways you can configure DNS Failover for your website. The good thing is, Failover is as flexible as it is powerful, so you can make unique configurations based on the specific needs of your organization. If you’re not sure what’s right for your business, our DNS specialists are always ready to help!
Failover to IP
One of the most common and effective methods is failing over to a redundant server, or from IP to IP, as mentioned above. This works well when you have identical servers or multiple internet connections in place specifically for redundancy.
Failover with Template
For web hosting companies or large organizations with multiple domains that share the same record, Failover with a template is an effective and efficient way to protect yourself from downtime.
Failover with Round Robin
If you want the ability to split your traffic between redundant internet connections or web servers, Failover with Round Robin can be configured. With this load balancing configuration, your queries will cycle between both systems equally. In the event of a failure on one connection, the other connection picks up the additional traffic.
It’s important to note, though, that with Failover to Round Robin, there is a chance that a small amount of traffic will still be diverted to the system that is down, so for mission-critical services, you may be better off with traditional Failover or Secondary DNS.
Failover with Secondary DNS
If you want redundancy at every point of failure, Failover with Secondary DNS is the way to go. With this option, you can configure a backup DNS provider and you’ll essentially have an extra set of authoritative name servers. If your primary provider experiences an outage, you still won’t experience any downtime because your traffic will be picked up by the secondary provider.
Having Failover configured alongside Secondary DNS is like your domain is wearing heavy armor and wielding an OP shield (for you non-gamers out there, OP = overpowered).
Note: To configure Secondary DNS with Failover with our services, DNS Made Easy must be your primary provider.
Not only will you have Failover and a backup provider, but servers will also learn to go to the fastest resolver first, even if the fastest resource is secondary. This is a win-win for your organization’s domain(s).
At DNS Made Easy, we offer primary, secondary, and hidden primary DNS services. We have the longest-running uptime in the industry (more than 10 years) and offer 500% back uptime SLA and still recommend Secondary DNS for all of our clients. We believe no business should have to suffer any downtime!
“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Failover with Global Traffic Director
If you use DNS Made Easy as your primary DNS provider, you can have the added benefit of pairing Failover with our Global Traffic Director (GTD). With this combination, you get the advantage of added redundancy while also being able to serve traffic based on the language and location of your end users. This provides several performance perks as well, such as faster speeds and better SEO, as you’ll have the ability to optimize your traffic
Why You Need DNS Failover and Load Balancing
If the potential cost of a single downtime event isn’t enough to convince you that DNS Failover and load balancing is essential, how about brand reputation and loss of customers?
For example, imagine you own an online retail store called Prince’s Essential Oils. You have one local store in Reston, Virginia, but 90% of your sales are from online customers year-round. Sales are rolling in, but then your DNS provider has an outage.
Humans are notorious for their short online attention spans. After a few minutes, maybe even seconds, many of your customers start searching for alternatives and find Whitney’s Wonder Oils. Whitney’s Wonder Oils’s website is online and the oils are of comparable quality and price to your oils.
You just lost who knows how many customers because of an outage and your lack of redundancy. And we’re not just talking about the sales you could have made during the outage. Some of these customers could have been or would have become long-time, “loyal” customers. Unfortunately, today’s consumers care more about speed and convenience.
Again, why risk it?
Failover and load balancing are essential for modern systems. They are effective and affordable. Still not convinced? Why not try it for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial – you’ll get access for three domains, 1,500 records, unlimited queries, one free failover record, and more. What do you have to lose?