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Mike Friedman

A2 Hosting and Why You Need a Backup Plan

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One of the more reputable and reliable hosting companies out there came under attack by a hacker and were forced to take their servers down. They have been down for over a week now.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-server-hosting-provider-still-down-a-week-after-ransomware-attack/

If you are not familiar with them, A2 is not some crappy bottom run hosting company. They have long been considered one of the better VPS hosting providers available.

This is why you need to have a backup plan for any site you really care about. If my main business site went down, I could be back up on another host within an hour.

 

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Web Hosting

I've worked in corporate IT for years and one of the most important areas we would wargame was Disaster Recovery (DR). Most of the UK banks have a DR site which can spin up almost right away. The "secret" to good DR is working out what is the barebones you need to get your business up and running again, only focus on what you really need, the bits that make you money. So if you you have a vps that's doing link building for you it doesn't have to be up and running. Where as your money site does.

More than happy to share other pointers etc.

 

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Loved A2 Hosting. Used them for a couple of years on one site. Unfortunately, it was impacted by this event. I took it down and moved it to Siteground now.

I won't use them ever again after this.

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To expand on my previous post about DR, Mike in his post indicated that if his main business went down he could have it back up and running with another provider within an hour. To achieve this you would probably have to do the following

With DR it's critical to get the important, i.e. money making parts of your business back up asap. To do this you need to have the ability to change the DNS records for your site and have either:

  1. An up to date backup of your site you can access, that isn't held on your hosting site. In this case you can restore the backup onto another hosting provider
  2. Another instance of your site hosted else where, at the bare minimum you have the following:
    1. Hosted with another provider.
    2. In another city. ideally this should be in another state maybe on the other side of the country.

You can then update your DNS record for the site to the new location and very quickly the site will be back up and running again

In either of these cases it's absolutely critical that you don't use your hosting company as your domain registrar it's easy/convenient to have them in the same place, remember the domain registrar controls the DNS records for your site. However if the company is subjected to a DOS or ransomware attack, you are royally screwed. Your site is down and you can't change the DNS to send traffic else where.

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Anyone get hit by the Cloudflare outage this week? I had one site get in a bit of a mess.

When Cloudflare went down it reverted to the actual host. That would be fine except I did not have an SSL certificate installed there, so most browsers were throwing up warnings and chasing visitors away.

 

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On 6/23/2019 at 10:45 PM, watman said:

To expand on my previous post about DR, Mike in his post indicated that if his main business went down he could have it back up and running with another provider within an hour. To achieve this you would probably have to do the following

With DR it's critical to get the important, i.e. money making parts of your business back up asap. To do this you need to have the ability to change the DNS records for your site and have either:

  1. An up to date backup of your site you can access, that isn't held on your hosting site. In this case you can restore the backup onto another hosting provider
  2. Another instance of your site hosted else where, at the bare minimum you have the following:
    1. Hosted with another provider.
    2. In another city. ideally this should be in another state maybe on the other side of the country.

You can then update your DNS record for the site to the new location and very quickly the site will be back up and running again

In either of these cases it's absolutely critical that you don't use your hosting company as your domain registrar it's easy/convenient to have them in the same place, remember the domain registrar controls the DNS records for your site. However if the company is subjected to a DOS or ransomware attack, you are royally screwed. Your site is down and you can't change the DNS to send traffic else where.

Well we do backup daily. And also we prefer an independent domain registrar such as namesilo. Have you automated it? I mean if say one goes down then the site will be up from another hosting service.

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On 5/13/2019 at 2:24 AM, BigDave said:

Loved A2 Hosting. Used them for a couple of years on one site. Unfortunately, it was impacted by this event. I took it down and moved it to Siteground now.

I won't use them ever again after this.

Sitegorund is really great. But its expensive. I am sure that A2 will recover and learn from its mistakes, so never say never.

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47 minutes ago, expmrb said:

Sitegorund is really great. But its expensive. I am sure that A2 will recover and learn from its mistakes, so never say never.

I'm pretty pissed off at Siteground right now. Moved several sites to them in the past year. Renewals are coming up and they jacked up their prices.

Went from around $85/yr for a pretty basic shared hosting account to about $250/yr now. At that kind of price, I might as well move to some sort of VPS package somewhere.

Looks like I have some hosting migrations to look into...

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9 hours ago, Mike Friedman said:

I'm pretty pissed off at Siteground right now. Moved several sites to them in the past year. Renewals are coming up and they jacked up their prices.

Went from around $85/yr for a pretty basic shared hosting account to about $250/yr now. At that kind of price, I might as well move to some sort of VPS package somewhere.

Looks like I have some hosting migrations to look into...

Hey Mike, check out ramnode if you are concerned about prices. And for quality managed VPS I will strongly suggest Liquidweb.

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On 7/6/2019 at 12:11 AM, expmrb said:

Hey Mike, check out ramnode if you are concerned about prices. And for quality managed VPS I will strongly suggest Liquidweb.

I wouldn't care about the prices so much, but I often have clients pay for and setup their own hosting accounts. They are free to leave my services at any time. I don't want them to feel trapped. 

Problem with that is I had 3 clients in the past year move to Siteground. They are about to start getting renewal notices and see their hosting bill go from about $85/yr to $250/yr.

I'm looking at Cloudways as an option too. I like Digital Ocean, but would not recommend it for a client that isn't tech savvy because they offer basically no support. You are running your own server. But it is cheap. Cloudways gives a nice compromise between the low pricing of Digital Ocean but also providing some level of support.

 

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In that case, Cloudways is indeed a good option. You are doing the right thing. DigitalOcean is not for all.

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