Why use a 3 Tier Backup System?


We all know backups are important, if shit can happen, shit will happen, they are important both online and offline, but if you are hosting a site or several sites, its important to have a backup strategy, that's why S2R created the 3 Tier Backup System (sounds way more exciting than what it is):

1) Hosting Provider Backup System
  • Choose a hosting provider that makes backups, having RAID and high availability and failover hardware, that's all cool for performance and redundancy, but backups should be expected and not on the same hardware as the server (offsite or high end backup software is a plus), having backups from your host eases most problems and makes most disasters easier to handle, as such this is the first backup tier.

2) Offsite Backup System
  • Have a cheap vps or backup account from another hosting provider (if he also provides backups that's a plus), then use your hosting panel or rsync or whatever backup system you prefer to use to make and transfer backups to this box, we normally choose a weekly schedule for this (running on weekends when traffic is low), there is no need for daily copies, cause the goal is to have a weekly clean backup, of course we store 3 backups, so 3 weekly backups are always available on the server, the idea is to use this encase your hosting provider goes bankrupt or closes your account for some reason (nowadays its more likely than you think), and you get cut off from your first tier backups, so therefore this is the second tier backups.

3) Local Backup System
  • This one is also easy to understand its a local backup of the accounts, in my case its to my custom made backup system (2TB mirrored to another 2TB, way more than enough for my sites and personal files + Mozy Backup of all of this), similar to RAID, this is done also weekly (could be done only monthly), this is done for the simple reason of peace of mind and safety, i never needed it, but there is no such thing as too many backups and having one locally guarantees that whatever happens to your sites they will always be able to comeback from any disaster, so this is the final third backup tier.
With a three tier backup system, it might look a little paranoid, and you might take some time and money to build it, but now that its done, its easy to add new sites and the peace of mind it gives is priceless, and now i can eat right in front of the computer hahahah ^_^

List of Fast Free DNS Servers



DNS (Domain Name System) Server is used to lookout domain names to ip address, it has more purposes, but for the most part thats their function, public DNS providers are free to use DNS servers that provide that function to anyone that needs it.

So since you are online the DNS service was probably provided by you ISP as part of their system to get you online, so why would you like to change your DNS provider from your ISP to a public one?

The main reasons, in degree of importance, in my view are:

1) Security, your ISP probably uses standard off-the-shelf dns software, also DNS althogh important is not a priority, security tend to suffer first, especially when new tricks and flaws are found, things like dns cache poisoning (injecting dns records that are not from a authorative dns server), also phishing or malware or other kinds of security risks can be averted by using a stronger more secure dns provider.
2) Performance, every single time you put a new domain name, that name has to be resolved on a dns server for the domain to show up, that means performance is essential, especially comparing to your ISP dns server that is extremely close to you.
3) Control and Customize, the ability to take control of your dns, of using it to make your browsing faster or check it domains are there, if you mistyped, if there is malware on the page you want to visit, or blocking kids from accessing certain kinds of sites.



So the list here follows a different pattern since im going to check the speed of it (from 3 different locations) as well as my personal preference depending on features and overall performance:

1) Google Public DNS (Like: Speed and Standards / Dislike: None)
  • 8.8.8.8
  • 8.8.4.4
2) OpenDNS (Like: Speed and Security / Dislike: DNS Hijacking)
  • 208.67.222.222
  • 208.67.220.220
  • 208.67.222.220
  • 208.67.220.222
5) Level 3 (Like: Speed and Standards / Dislike: None)
  • 4.2.2.1
  • 4.2.2.2
  • 4.2.2.3
  • 4.2.2.4
  • 4.2.2.5
  • 4.2.2.6
4) Comodo Secure DNS (Like: Security / Dislike: None)
  • 156.154.70.22
  • 156.154.71.22

Notes:
1) the checks were made from California (USA), London (UK) and Faro (Portugal) using namebench http://code.google.com/p/namebench/.
2) i could have made a huge list, but i prefer to provide the cleanest most objective one, than a random copy paste list, so i removed lots of other good public dns providers, just cause at the time they were giving me errors and not performing normally, like scrubit dns, cisco or norton safe dns.
3) opendns would have won (just about the same performance as google public dns), but i personally prefer a dns that gives an error when it fails and doesn't hijack or disrupt sessions by pushing their search when a server is having a glitch or dns issues, but that's just me.