Hosting

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General Hosting Information

What is hosting?

A hosting service is required to enable your web site to be constantly visible on the Internet.

A host computer (or web server) contains a copy of your website that people can access via the Internet. When someone requests a page from your web site, that request is handled by the web server.

Hosting servers may also provide other services such as email. Some also have the capability to enhance your web site by using special computer languages and online databases.

So why green hosting?

As you will no doubt have figured out by now, the server that hosts your web site needs to be operational and connected to the Internet every hour of every day in order to make your website available.

Most servers are high specification machines with multiple hard disk drives that use a large amount of electrical power when you consider that they are operating around the clock. It doesn’t stop with the computers either, the data centres take even more power for control systems, lighting, air conditioning, battery backup systems, fire control systems, office computer systems and so on.

Nearly all data centres obtain their main power from the local grid supply and will more than likely be operating on the cheapest tariff they can find. This means that all these servers are using up very large amounts of electricity that has been generated from non-renewable sources such as coal, gas or nuclear power stations. Many estimates on oil reserves suggest that there is only about 40 years or so left before we run out. We need to act now to cut our usage and save this valuable resource.

By choosing to host your web site with us, you are making a commitment to the environment to protect the future of this planet. The data centres containing our servers are both powered by renewable energy. Hosting with us means that your web site is not using any natural resources for electrical generation!

How can we offer this service?

To our knowledge, we were the first and for a long while the only UK company to have an entire hosting infrastructure powered from renewable energy sources. Our hosting environment is housed in a data centre in California that runs entirely on solar energy and in a data centre in the UK that is powered by the wind.

The California data centre is located over 50 miles inland from the coast and in a rural area away from any major fault lines.

Multiple very high speed Internet connections provide connectivity and the systems are monitored 24 hours a day with corresponding support if necessary.

All our customer service systems including this web site are hosted on our servers along side our customers!

What disaster recovery setup do we have?

The US solar data centre is directly powered by 120 solar panels that are capable of generating all the electricity required by the facility. This means they are not at the mercy of the local grid supply and are capable of operating continuously even in the event of a complete local power blackout.

Energy from the solar panels is stored in a large battery bank that also acts as a line and spike conditioner. Just in case of an issue a large natural gas generator (tested weekly) will take over the load.

The UK wind powered data centre also has full power resilience with UPS and standby bio-diesel generators.

All customer data is regularly backed up to secure offsite systems multiple times per day. We also run full database dumps each night to obtain a stable copy of all database data, which is then also picked up by the same continuous backup system.

Important note: clients are responsible for their data and should keep full copies of their web sites and any associated data (e.g. databases), safe on their own systems. The backups referred to here are intended for our own disaster recovery only, though on request we can usually restore data for our clients from these backups and we would just charge for our time to do this at our published level 2 support consultancy rates.

Additional Notes

Access to the Internet is required to use our services unless you use a third party to manage your web site for you.

We do not offer Internet access (e.g. dial up or ADSL).

We do not offer Microsoft IIS hosting on Windows servers.

All our main shared hosting servers run Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Centos (which is directly derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and the industry standard Apache web server. Our vserver platform runs a custom Linux vserver specific kernel.

Across the world, Apache is the number one web server on the Internet running over 50 percent of all hosting servers making it more widely used than all the other web server platforms combined (source: Netcraft). Our servers also support all the main scripting languages (PHP, CGI, Perl, JavaScript) and many other extensions including MySQL databases.

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