Woops my website is down, what do I do? (Failover)

Having your website down can really cost you money!  Whether you make money from selling items on your site or you just make money from an affiliate link.  One solution is to have a failover set up.  If you rely on the income from your site a failover can be a lifesaver.  Many providers guaranty 98% up time, and probably utilize this, but if you want to be sure to have 100% uptime this is the way to go.


To set up failover you first need two locations (hosts) for your website.   My preference is that they are no where near each other.  Something like California and Europe is ideal – but may not be practical, so different parts of the country would be the next best solution.

You then need copies of your site at both locations.  If your site includes a database it becomes more complicated…  I would suggest you may want to get the help of a ‘techy’ if you are wanting a database that is kept up to date with changes.  (You need Database Replication in this case)  Where as any change to either site will cause a change to the matching site simultaneously.

Keep in mind that any change to one of the sites must also occur to the other.

Next you need something set up to switch the ‘pointer’ to the other site when your primary site goes down.  I’ve used DNSMadeEasy in the past.  DNS Made Easy watches your site and as soon as it finds it down it swaps it’s entry to the second site.  As it keeps checking, it will swap back to the primary when the site goes back up.

The reason for different geographical locations is that if your primary site is hit by a substantial failure – something like a large power outage, both sites may be affected.

Using this scenario you may still have a short amount of down time while the switch takes affect, but it should reduce the down time to a very small amount.