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have a web site on two different named servers

4:58 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've just had a major server crash which required the replacement of a dedicated server.
The hosting company were particularly crap at helping with the rebuild other than giving me a incorrectly set up blank machine.

I've now got it all working again but I'd like to future proof myself.

Is it possible to run virtual sites on two different named servers running at two different locations. That way my if my primary server went down or was hit by a dos attack (something esle this world class hosting company has suffered) the sites would still be running on the second server.

Of course there would be potential problems with version control and online database entries but I can work round them, I just like to know if what I'm suggesting would work.


2:33 pm on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Yes you can - talk to your dns provider for the solutions they can provide. It will involve simple dns trickery so that if one is down, then it fails over to the otherone via dns.

That can actually be at either the software level or at the router/hardware level.

10:53 am on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Brett,

Having spoken to a my existing hosting company and the one I'm thinking or using as well, they are unconvincing vague on this.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is :-

a domain name can have a number of named servers and for the purpose of this we will have two

each of these has a different ip address

my virtual site exampel.com has the two above named servers.

When someone types in example.com and everything is going well they will get directed to the primary named server ns.somewhere.com

If ns.somewhere.com goes down for any reason (DOS attack?) then when someone types in example.com it can't find it at ns.somewhere.com so it goes to ns.anotherplace.com

In my mind that's how it should work but I have a nagging suspicion that there may be something I'm missing like for instance when I ping a web address I get the ip of the primary server

Your thoughts would be appreciated



2:13 am on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

That is suppose to be how it works.
11:52 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Your provider should be able to do this with just one domain name.

If your machines are located with them, they can fail over to a second local box using your existing domain name and public IP address. If they can't do that, they should be able to fail over the DNS entry by pointing your existing domain name to a different IP address. (If they can't do one of these for you, I'd shop around.)

8:54 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Just to validate this as a concept I have set up a virtual site on two different named servers, each version has a slightly different home page, so in the event of a switch I could tell it had happened. The problem is that without switching off the primary named server how do I test this?

I have tried suspending the site on the primary named server and it just comes back forbidden (which makes sense because the primary named server is still active)

I suppose I could do a reboot and check whilst it was rebooting but that seems a bit drastic, so before I try that does anyone have any better suggestions?

3:09 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

adwhite, I don't think a reboot will help any -

If the machines are communicating to the world from a private IP range (IE 192.168.x.x), your router needs to start handing traffic for 'www.yourdomain.com' to the backup box when the primary goes down. If you're using commercial hardware, I expect this can be automatic. If you're using consumer hardware like in a home network, you'll probably need to do this manually. I know my (cheap) routers at home won't do this automatically.

If it's a pair of machines on public (IE real, routable) IP addresses, you'll probably want to change the DNS entry to point 'www.yourdomain.com' at the second machine's IP address in event of failure. This can be configured with something like dyndns.org.

11:29 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

it's possible... our DNS currently contains 6-8 IPs pointing to servers in differnt DCs
We use nsupdate to dynamically add/delete IPs with a TTL=300 and a 3rd party for DNS hosting.
Modern browsers actually automatically try a different IP to reach the site in case a box goes down.
Much more difficult is to spread mysql DBs over several servers and to implement automatic DB failover / recovery.

You might also look into linux cluster solutions and some hosting providers also offer "cluster packages" and do the whole job for you.


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