Good Hosting Makes You Look Good
Hosting may seem invisible, but good hosting will make your site look good.
Why? Your site will be responsive, safe, and consistent. Your customers and site visitors can concentrate on the cool products and pages that you offer them. They are not distracted by bad behavior like timed-out actions.
Keeping the server performing well takes effort. Machines need to be kept running and healthy. Services need to be performed. You may not realize it, but there are folks working in the background no matter where you host. Some hosting providers do more than others.
HTN, for instance, bundles many services with its hosting including monitoring your server’s health in several interesting ways. We have automated tests in place that raise alerts to HTN staff for action if anything unusual happens.
Here are some of the points that HTN keeps a constant eye on.
- Is your server IP address on the Spamhaus Policy blocklist?
HTN monitors whether your IP address has fallen into the Spamhaus Policy Blocklist. If your IP address does fall into the list, we remove it from the blocklist for you.
Why? Because many email providers check email received against the Spamhaus Policy blocklist and may refuse to handle email from a server on the blocklist. It takes time to remove yourself from any of the ISP blacklists (AOL, Verizon, etc.), which is where your server is likely to end up if your IP address is on the Spamhaus Policy blocklist.
- Is your server up, responding and serving web pages?
HTN monitors the status of your server to assure that it is up and responsive and that it is serving web pages. If we receive an alert on any of these tests, we check into the situation and do what is needed to bring the server back to normal.
Why? Because a server with a problem that prevents it from serving pages is a server that is not able to provide any sort of website service to your visitors. Before your customers call you about an issue and you call us, we want to detect and fix such a problem.
- Is your server performing well?
HTN monitors your server not only to assure that it is up and responding, but that it is performing well. If our monitoring alerts us that the machine is swapping or otherwise responding poorly, we look at the server to assess the cause. If there is something we can readily do to improve the situation (like restart Apache), we do it. If we need to alert you to the situation, we do so.
Why? Because a server performing badly is a symptom of trouble. Maybe the trouble is unusual traffic. Maybe there is a problem with a script. Maybe the problem is transient (which means it goes away and does not need addressing). Maybe your site has something running on it that should not be there. Sometimes the root of the problem is something you need to make a decision about (perhaps you need to upsize the server).
- Are backups happening on schedule?
HTN monitors the backups that we include with your hosting plan to be sure that they are happening without problems. If a problem has interrupted a backup, we make sure it is restarted and succeeds.
Why? Because the time to find out that there is not a good recent backup is not when you need a good recent backup.
- Is the infrastructure software up to date?
HTN provides a managed server environment including managing the software updates to the infrastructure on your server (things like Apache, PHP, etc.). HTN monitors your server to be sure that all the needed updates have succeeded. If we find an update failed with an error, we go in and clear the error and complete the update.
Why? Because software updates are GOOD THINGS. They often include security fixes. A server that is running on current software is generally more reliable and plays well with others. Certainly a server with a condition that causes a standard software update to fail with an error is a server that needs some human attention.
- Is the disk getting full?
HTN monitors the amount of free space on your server’s disk. If your server is low on disk space, we alert you. In this situation, alerting you is the only reasonable action HTN can take.
Why? Because a server with a full disk will not be able to do anything useful at all. Your site will stop working. When we alert you to the low disk space, we will suggest that you delete no-longer-needed files. You might also consider upsizing to a larger server.
- Is your WordPress installation up-to-date?
HTN does a weekly vulnerability scan to check the version of WordPress running on your site. If you have WordPress installation(s) on your server, and if the WordPress installation is not up to date, we will alert you. Our alert contains the information you need to fix the situation yourself. Or you can have HTN fix it for you.
Why? WordPress is so widely used that it is a common target for hackers. Keeping the software up-to-date (including your theme and plugins) is the one biggest thing you can do to thwart WordPress hackers. WordPress issues frequent updates, in part to address security issues.
- Is your server harboring malware?
HTN (via its HTN Sucuri Scanning) scans your site several times per day looking for any of a raft of malware. If any malware instances are found, we will alert you with the details and ask your permission to have Sucuri staff clean up the situation at no cost to you. If you have opted out of the HTN Sucuri scanning for any of your domains, your site is not getting monitored on those opted-out domains.
Why? Because malware is a serious problem that can affect both your site’s performance and its safety. With our HTN Sucuri scanning service, should malware find its way onto your server, it will be identified and cleared up quickly – possibly before you are aware that something is amiss.
In all these monitoring points, HTN is using automation to continually make checks on all the servers hosting with HTN. A monitoring status panel is available to all HTN staff showing current status. Should any of the automated tests raise a critical alert, that alert is automatically broadcast to at least two HTN staff members.