HowToHosting.guide keeps up with new trends in technology and hosting practices, so we will cover an interesting topic that is gaining popularity in the sphere of web services. It is about Mirror Hosting, and more particularly, why this service is expensive and should you use it in the first place. In other words – do the benefits outweigh the expensive prices, or should you consider finding alternatives?
Before anything else, we must explain what exactly Mirror Hosting is and what it represents. If you are coming across this term for the first time, we suggest you read everything, and if you know what the core of this hosting is, skip the initial explanation and jump straight to the cost-effective overview afterward.
What Exactly Is Mirror Hosting?
Mirroring could be mistaken or recognized as a form of static form of content delivery. The possible association with a content delivery network (CDN) is as it exists as multiple copies on servers in various locations worldwide. Much like a mirror website, a CDN allows for quicker access to content from geographically different locations.
However, Mirror Hosting is a type of web service that provides clients with creating identical replicas of their website or server. The concept is simple as it applies to network services accessible via any protocol, like FTP and HTTP. Newly created websites use another URL than the original, albeit they host otherwise indistinguishable or very close copies. Such copies are usually located at different geographic regions than the main site they get content from for various purposes.
Arguments that make clients desire mirroring are to reduce network traffic, improve site access speed, ensure the website’s availability for technical or political reasons, or even provide a real-time back-up of the source website.
The main logic behind this is creating a reliable backup source that can immediately kick in if the original website becomes temporarily unreachable. That ensures no downtime and provides users with a constant working connection to the website. The mirror is updated frequently to reflect the original at all times, so nobody notices changes when visiting.
What Makes Mirror Hosting Expensive?
Mirroring as a service is not merely just a copy-paste operation that happens once, and you are set. To make it worth for you and your user base, you must make all website content readily available at another location, get everything to be updated on a frequent basis. That requires resources. Not to mention that businesses, small or on a broader scale, who use the service usually make more than one copy of their sites, including files, plugins, add-ons, code, pictures, etc.
Importantly, having multiple clones would ensure them uptime, which is worth more than having an expensive loss due to users not accessing content.
Synchronization between servers should be set at every 12 hours to be worth it. The central database must be quite similar or nearly the same as the subsequent ones. More prominent companies have at least three mirrors that ensure the download of files happens fast, at closer proximity to users’ location, at least continent-wise.
Mirror sites were heavily used on the early internet, when dialup connection was used on a mass scale, because of the lower bandwidth back in the day. Now the trend is rising again, but for another whole set of reasons. Fault tolerance is the most popular reason. Server mirroring is expensive but worth it. The expensive part is because each server has to be mirrored by an identical server whose entire purpose is to be on standby waiting to be activated if some failure or crash is caused to the originating one.
There are also specific architecture requirements that must be met by all servers for mirroring to work:
Host Must Know About the Mirroring
Host Must Place the Servers on Separate Racks
Same Operating System Must Be Installed
Servers Must Have the Same or Almost the Same Hardware
It Is Imperative that Servers Have Different Electricity and Network Sources
Host Must Use More Than One Application for the Service
As you can see, you have to plan in advance, coordinate with the Hosting you are paying, and know that constant supervision must be kept at all times on all databases and hardware involved for mirroring to be successfully implemented and worth it. Port mirroring is also of worth as will also allow administrators to analyze further a network and any potential problems that might arise.
Other settings must be set in advance in place; something happens with the central server or website; if an issue occurs. In that case, any request that is sent to the original server should be automatically forwarded to the copy server immediately. It must take its role as the successor and take all associated IP addresses from the previous working machine, including dedicated IP addresses owned by website owners.
After the original server is back online, automatic synchronization happens then and there. New changes, files, or writings of code are transferred to exist in both locations. If you think it is worth it to provide your users with 100% uptime and make your websites available all of the time without interruptions, this kind of service is for you, regardless of how big your business or sites are.
Is the Price Tag Justified and Worth Having an Expensive Backup?
You see how much work is involved if you decide on using the usually expensive Mirror Hosting service. As we stated earlier, having backup and truly guaranteed uptime are the main reasons worth for having multiple servers with equivalent content. Be aware, that there are plenty more uses of running cloned databases. The list below unveils some of the benefits making it worth your while to host mirrored content:
True and Undisputed Back-up
No Traffic Loss
No Data Loss
No Dependence of a Single Electricity Source
No User or Client Loss
Having Guaranteed Fault Tolerance
Having Multiple Locations for Data Downloads
Faster Data Transfer and Access Speed
Larger Demand and Traffic Can Be Handled at Any Given Time
So, as you can see, there are lots of benefits that many people consider to be more important than what you are paying every month for them. Such a service could be worth 40 dollars a year or as expensive as 40 and more per month. You have to consider the provider, choose a plan according to the resources you need for your websites, and what hardware specifications you will want to have less expensive pricing to have a truly productive experience.
Is it worth it? For you it could turn out that mirroring is more expensive than you think and goes over your budget as you are not ready for that step. Then you should consider implementing clustering. Clustering is the process of connecting two or more computers so they behave like a single one and is less expensive as an option. That way, you will have more resources and processing power, but you will also lose many benefits coming only with Mirror Hosting.