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What is DNS Failover? How to Choose The Right DNS Failover Provider?

As your business grows, it becomes more and more mission critical, and any amount of downtime is detrimental. You could potentially lose thousands of dollars for every minute your site is down. Not to mention, it hurts your brand and customer confidence. Don’t get nervous though, there is plenty that you can do to help prevent this from ever happening to you. DNS failover service is a must-have for any company that generates revenue from its website. Having a reliable disaster recovery plan in place can prevent negative effect on your bottom line. DNS failover is very easy to setup and the best performing option. Pretty much all the major providers today offer this functionality. For you who are not familiar with this service, this article will tell you about what is DNS Failover and some tips to choose the right DNS failover providers that meet your needs.

What is DNS Failover? How Does It Works?

DNS failover is a system that consists of two main components. The first component monitors servers or devices behind IP addresses in an effort to determine their state, e.g. up or down. Second, it uses the server state information to automatically update the IP address associated with a particular DNS record, such as an ‘A’ record, ‘AAAA’ record or otherwise. It may consist of other components designed to deliver email or SMS alerts in the event that an outage is detected or changes are made, but any successful DNS Failover solution must consist of at least the first two essential elements.

DNS failover essentially works on a two-step process:

Step 1

The first step involves actively monitoring the health of your servers. Monitoring is usually carried out by ping or Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to verify that your HTTP server is functioning. The health of the servers can be assessed every few minutes, and more advanced services allow you to configure your monitoring time settings.

Step 2

In the second step, DNS records are dynamically updated in order to resolve traffic to a backup host in case the primary server is down. Once your primary server is back up and running, traffic is automatically directed towards its original IP address.

How to Choose The Right DNS Failover Provider?

Here are some very important things to keep in mind when choosing the right DNS failover provider:

What Type of Health Checks?

Standard is an HTTP get, but if you have other protocols like HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, etc, you need to figure out if the DNS provider has this option.

Manual vs. Automatic

Some providers will give the option to provide just the monitoring portion and then allow you to either setup an auto failover, and just simply alert you that your IP is down, and then you can go in and manually failover. Sometimes companies like this feature for their own reasons. It really depends on their environment and the type of content they are serving.

Health Check Frequency

Some providers will give the option to provide just the monitoring portion and then allow you to either setup an auto failover, and just simply alert you that your IP is down, and then you can go in and manually failover. Sometimes companies like this feature for their own reasons. It really depends on their environment and the type of content they are serving.

Flexibility to Control TTL (Time to Live)

Make sure you have very flexible control over your TTL settings at the record level. This is your call, however, we don’t recommend keeping your TTL’s any higher than 5 minutes on your critical records. Only you can decide how long you can be down for. Remember, the TTL is how long your IP is cached for. So if it’s cached for 5 hours, the fastest you’ll be able to failover to the backup IP is 5 hours.

Maintenance Windows

This is not so important but a really cool and potentially helpful feature. Some companies give you the ability to schedule a forced failover. You would use this if you were planning to do maintenance of some kind and wanted to force a failover to an alternate server, while you do work on the primary.

Best and Recommended DNS Failover Solution

Today, we announced a new feature from HostForLIFE.eu: DNS Failover for Windows Hosting. Backing up your sites and making sure that your DNS service includes failover are important steps in preparing for downtime. Since DNS handles the initial transaction to your servers, it can be a first line of defense to make sure your users have uninterrupted access to your content. Unlike some other providers, HostForLIFE’s DNS failover performs health checks 24/7 to verify the availability of your website or applications and provide you with the optimal DNS failover hosting solution. In addition, managing and setting up DNS failover for the first time is quick and easy through our intuitive web interface and portal. HostForLIFE.eu offers a variety of cheap and affordable DNS Failover Windows Hosting Plans to fit any need starting from €6.00/month. You can learn more about the features and benefits of HostForLIFE.eu DNS Failover Windows Hosting in their official page.

How to Choose The Right DNS Failover Provider