By in An Independent Retailers Twitterings

Does your Website Host Server have a good Disaster Recovery Plan?

Let me tell you if the answer to my question in the title is “I do not know or No” then you best act and check now!

Last Monday our Website Host server went down depriving us and more importantly our customers access to our website. Not good. Fortunately Silkstream who are our website hosts, internet advisers and supremos had a disaster recovery plan in place. Just as well because down time, as they like to call it, loses us money and can sour relationships.

Following a scare a number of years ago we discussed contingency plans with Silkstream for any malfunction eventualities in the future. A plan was drawn up and back up servers purchased. A  little like a fire drill, the plan was tested and implemented to ensure it would work, which it did in practice.

Then last Monday 26th July at 7.30 am I could not find the Havens website,  a phone call later and Silkstream were already on the case. I did not understand nor care about the technicalities but my limited understanding is that the server had a hardware failure. Within an hour we were back up and running on the reserve server with all our pages “pointing” to the reserve server – there see I am getting more technical now!

There were the odd glitches, eg we could not immediately receive emails for instance but that was soon rectified.

We were trading again with little loss, the Disaster recovery plan had worked and I would like to thank Leigh, Steve and team for their swift actions.

Within a further 24 hours we were re pointed to a new server (more technicals again!) and the reserve server reverted to back up. A bit like getting a puncture make sure that the repair happens ASAP!

Lessons to be learnt:

  • Make sure that you discuss Disaster, Contingency, Recovery Plan with your website host.
  • Make sure once it is in place it is tested.
  • Make sure your hosting company has an alert system in place for when the proverbial hits the fan.
  • Make sure the Hosting company has the capacity and resource to deal with all eventualities.
  • Understand Sod’s Law – disasters always occur at the most inconvenient times!
  • Make sure that your web hosts have access to your domain name so that they can re point the pages to the reserve server quickly without having to seek 3rd party authority – again getting technical but certainly in our instance ensured a smooth transition.

The key to all of this is to constantly evaluate the risks and protect against them. The small monthly fee we pay for web hosting is worth it’s weight in gold when things go wrong. Do not get complacent in thinking that things will be OK,  if there is no disaster plan then you will have a problem.

Last of all make sure you have a good, sound relationship and  professional, expert support as we have with Silkstream – they treat our website as if it is their own – sure makes a difference in times of need.