Nettica – DNS Service

Today, I’m going to take a look a look at one of my favorite DNS management tools:

Most websites can simply use the default DNS / nameserver management that their domain registrar / hosting provider offers. However, for some websites where reliability and speed are crucial, a better solution is called for. In those cases, I almost always recommend Nettica as a high-performance alternative.

Although they offer other DNS-related services, the only service I have used to date would be their “basic” primary DNS service.

They don’t offer anything dramatically different from what you would get from most domain registrars, but it’s the little details that make the service worth it for me.

When you sign up for their service, you can enter a domain name into your control panel, and point it to five of their nameservers, which are geographically dispersed (four in the United States, one in London). This adds both to the speed as well as the reliability of their system.

Beyond that, they offer all of the standard DNS management tools, such as the ability to create Host (A), Mail (MX), Alias (CNAME), Text (TXT), and Service (SRV) records, as well as a few other features.

For most websites, there is no need to go with something like this, and the basic nameserver / dns management provided by your domain registrar and hosting provider will be more than sufficient. However, for those situations where uptime and speed are crucial, it might be worth it to consider going with Nettica, or a similar solution.

They have worked very well for several clients of mine with high-profile websites.

Nathan Malone

P.S. I am currently able to accept a limited number of additional clients for my PHP Development services. Interested in discussing the possibility of my handling your project for you? Contact me!

Following up on my last post about Mosso / The Rackspace Cloud, I thought it might be best to mention a few of the other competing services currently on the scene.

Although they all have different feature sets and capabilities, they all share the common element of being “cloud” in nature, in that they all have at least some ability to scale over multiple machines, to grow or shrink available server resources dynamically (or, at least, somewhat easily), and are web-based.

One of the biggest companies meeting these qualifications is the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

It is, as the name implies, offered by Amazon, and is one of the services offered by their AWS “suite” of products.

In their words…

Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use. Amazon EC2 provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate themselves from common failure scenarios.

Although they are a bit different than web hosting companies such as Mosso, there are a lot of applications that require just what they are providing, so I thought it best to mention them here.

It can also integrate easily with some of Amazon’s other services, such as their Storage service.

Another competing service is GoGrid (this one is still in Beta). While I have no personal experience with GoGrid, they look like they might be a decent service.

Yes, I know I should say something a little more profound on GoGrid. Perhaps I should sign up for an account with them for a month or two to try their service out.

3tera is another popular service. It appears that they also offer cPanel capabilities on some of their plans, something which I have often heard as a complaint against Mosso. Personally, the Mosso control panel works fine for me, but since cPanel has such a large market share, many developers often feel more comfortable using it.

Haven’t found one yet that you like? Try ElasticHosts. Based in the UK, this might be best for those with a primarily European audience, although it can certainly work just fine for sites based in the USA (or elsewhere) as well.

Finally, we come to MediaTemple, which probably comes the closest to Mosso from any of the hosting companies we’ve reviewed so far.

Personally, I have seen three websites so far hosted with them that at least partially crashed when their traffic suddenly increased dramatically.

That being said, however, this is relatively new technology, so some glitches from time to time are to be expected, and as it has been a while, perhaps they have worked out those issues by now.

Also, starting at $20/month, their hosting plans are a bit less expensive than, say, Mosso, which starts at $100/month (they both increase as you increase server usage).

Nathan Malone

P.S. I am currently able to accept a limited number of additional clients for my PHP Development services. Interested in discussing the possibility of my handling your project for you? Contact me!

Although according to Wikipedia, they weren’t launched until February 19, 2008, I first heard about Mosso (now Rackspace Cloud), a cloud computing (cloud hosting) service from a friend nearly two years ago.

At the time, I was working on a big web programming project, and despite the fact that it was on a dedicated server by itself, it was still slowing the site down quite a bit because of the sheer size of the project (the number of hits/second, the size of the database, the number of database queries, etc.).

Although I ended up not using it on that project due to the fact that I needed custom software installed on the server for this project, and they weren’t supporting it, the idea behind their hosting service intrigued me.

Since then, I have used their service for multiple projects, and have always been pleased with their reliability, scalability, and support.

The concept behind their service is relatively simple:

Instead of having one website on one server (and often having hundreds of websites on a single server), have a big “network”/cloud of interconnected web hosting servers, and have all websites hosted by that “cloud” of servers.

The benefits are many, but for most users, the primary selling points are:

1. The uptime, as well as data security, is a lot higher. This is because under a usual hosting setup, if the server goes down (has a hard drive failure, or some other issue), all websites on that server instantly go offline (and under some circumstances, data can be lost as well).

With a cloud setup, everything is redundant, so if one server goes down, the other servers automatically “take up the slack”, and there is zero downtime (theoretically, at least).

2. It is a lot more scalable. If you had a website on a usual hosting setup and you suddenly got a surge of traffic to your site, your server may or may not be able to handle the increased load.

Under a cloud setup, instead of being limited to the resources of one single server, you are limited to the resources of the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers on the “network”, so theoretically, your site traffic could increase 100 times overnight, and your site would load just as fast as it would otherwise.

These two features in particular have suited themselves very well for several projects I have worked on that either have a large traffic potential (and need access to a huge amount of server resources), or where reliability, uptime, and data security are critical.

While they certainly have their little issues with occasional downtime, these issues are to be expected with technology like this that is relatively new to the scene, and for my projects, this hasn’t posed an issue so far.

Mosso, which is currently in the process of rebranding themselves as “The Rackspace Cloud”, is, as the name implies, a “division” of Rackspace, which is known for their “fanatical support”.

As cloud computing seems to be the future of web hosting, the move toward cloud hosting and tighter integration with Mosso on the part of Rackspace seems to be a very business-savvy move, as more and more developers look to upgrade their hosting from the standard shared server setup.

The only big downside to small websites looking to create their own account with Mosso is that their least expensive fee runs at $100/month, and increases from there based on the server resources used.

However, for larger websites where scalability and reliability is important, it might be worth taking a look at.

Nathan Malone

P.S. I am currently able to accept a limited number of additional clients for my PHP Development services. Interested in discussing the possibility of my handling your project for you? Contact me!