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The reliability of web servers

By Staff

Reliability of Servers

The reliability of your host provider’s servers should be a constant concern to you. After all, you rely on their reliability to keep your business running. How can you tell just how reliable their servers are? Follow this simple process and test it out for yourself.

         Access your host account

         Find the control panel associated with your account under “server status”

         You will find a server load value

         Refresh the page and notice that the value has changed. It is a value that calculates instantly

         Make note of the values you obtain

         Log out

         Go back and repeat this periodically, each time noting the values. You will come to realize which values are the usual ones.

Many individuals and even businesses will go along with the concept that the more affordable web host will be the best bet. This is great to consider if you are truly committed to the belief that the level of service that you get with your hosting plan has nothing to do with the amount of money that you pay. The simple truth of the matter is that this is in fact a factor that can affect the overall experience that a person will have with their hosting plan.
 
The free account is always one that is desired; this on the other hand the issue that will shut this idea down is the issue of not having customer service at any given time. This will cause a massive issue in the fact that the webmaster will have to wait for a person to respond to your request for assistance

This can also lead to a number of issues in the fact that you are not getting all of the features that you really want or need with a free account. If you are a small business looking to just get your feet wet, then the ideal plan for you will be one in which you are paying a small amount per month and getting just the basic requirements that you are in need of. This is often the more preferred plan route for a person to go with. The more that you know in advance about the price levels, then the better that the end result will be for you and your business.
This will be one of the more preferred options for a person that is looking to eventually expand their business and is in hopes of getting the needed assistance without paying through the nose in getting the results that they will need. For a larger business, there is the option of taking a much larger hosting plan to help and offset the needed features that they will require to have an effective business. This business model will allow the webmaster to take the needed steps in helping to assist a person get the much needed features to allow them the opportunity to expand their business and not pay through the nose in doing so. Even if you are not sure of what you are doing, you will be able to get a lot of positive results when you take a little time to look at all of the many options that are present for you to take advantage of.

 Server Load Values

Basically the server load value is a number in the x.xx format with values beginning at 0.00.  This number is representative of how many processes are waiting to be processed for a designated period of time. If the number remains small, it is a good sign that the server performance is working well. If the number is a high one, chances are that the server is not operating efficiently. However, the importance to you is not in the number itself but rather in how the value is interpreted. This is an area of many debates among web hosts.

Many consider a server load value of 0.xx to be an optimum value and as long as the value stays below 1.00, you shouldn’t see a difference in the performance of your website. In other words, it should not run slow. The problems arise when the server load value reaches over 1.00. This is of special concern to host providers who have a single Central Processing Unit (CPU). If they have 2 CPU’s then a server load value of 2.00 is a big concern. Although with the technology being what it is today, some single CPU’s may still perform well with a server load value of 2.00. It could be a risk though.

Keep in mind that these values are based on average server loads, nothing extreme. Remember that traffic affects server loads and that there are “peak” times of use that can bog a server down. This is when lower server values can make the difference. All servers get busy from time to time with maintenance and overuse of resources, but these things should not alter the performance of the server if they are taken care of during “off-peak” times, like weekends.

Server Load Processing

Remembering that the server load is the number of processes waiting to be processed by the CPU, all processes are not the same. Depending on the priority of the process, lowest priority processes are done last. Newer server requests are taken care of almost immediately. This sequence of processing is based on a number of factors such as how fast the pages load and if the processing will take a reasonable amount of time to complete. If they meet these criteria, there won’t be a problem no matter what the server load is.

The server load however is just one factor that is considered. Other factors include how much memory is used, CPU usage, and swap file size. Swap file size is especially important when a server has insufficient memory to run the process. The use of swap files burdens the hard drive, which causes increased usage of the CPU and results in creating a higher server load. This is bad for the server because response time is slower in processing requests. In this case, more RAM (internal memory) will be required. More RAM will eliminate the above problems mentioned and will help the server run more quickly and efficiently. The real test is how the server behaves.

Rip-offs

As a consumer you need to constantly be on the look out for host providers that are simply scam artists. They dazzle you with offerings that seem too good to be true. In most cases, they usually are. Be aware of the following when deciding on a web host.

1.      Do your homework
An overwhelming amount of terms will be thrown your way. Web host lingo that you may not have a clue to its meaning. Terms like web space, transfer, CGI-BIN, Unix/Windows and Apache, IIS, PHP, MySQL to name a few. Find out what they mean and get a good understanding of them before you make a decision. Armed with the right knowledge of these terms can go along way in helping you make the right choice.

2.      Beware of unlimited/unmetered web space/bandwidth/transfer. Cheap web hosts count on you not using much space or bandwidth, that’s why they feel that they can make the unlimited offer so easily. Once you do start using more space than they expected that you would, they will cancel your account in a heartbeat.

3.      Terms Of Service
Beware of the proverbial terms of service agreement that these hosts have. Important facts on what you can and can’t do on their servers are hidden throughout the confusing text. Some things you thought you could do may turn out to be a misconception on your part. Read these agreements carefully.

4.      Pay Attention to your Gut Feelings
After reading all their claims of service and reading their terms, go with your gut instinct. If something seems to be askew on the surface, chances are there is a deeper-rooted problem with this host that may not be so easily apparent. You have to have a good feeling about giving your business to a web host, if you don’t, keep searching until you find one that you are comfortable with.

5.      Check Them Out First

If a web host has built a bad reputation for himself, chances are that it is reported somewhere on the web. The Internet has a Better Business Bureau that is always a good source for customers to lodge complaints. Check with them about a particular host that you are interested in. If they have complaints against this host on file, they will tell you. Don’t stop there though. Check several more sources such as web host directories or search by specific host. Go to webhostingtalk.com and leave a post asking for opinions on this host. Past customers good and bad may respond to you and give you a better idea of the reputation of this host. Another source to check out is newsgroups. Simply search on your hosts name, but take the information that you find with objectivity as it is possible that the negativity that could be posted there may in fact come from other web hosts looking to disparage a reputation.

6.      Contact the Host Directly
There is no better way to try to determine the credibility of a web host that to be in direct contact with them. Find their contact info and get in touch with them, preferably by phone. You can tell a lot about them by speaking to them. If that is not possible, contact them by email. If they are slow to respond or do not answer your questions satisfactorily, be wary. These hosts can spell trouble if you find yourself in an urgent situation and can’t get a timely response to your problem. A response time of more that 24-hours should be considered unacceptable.

 

 

 

 
     
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