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First, there is always the question of, “Where do I put it?”

A large percentage of businesses think the best deal is to keep their
website located on a server at their office. This is that old possession
problem — the irrational, compelling need to see it and
touch it. That, together with the old theory that “if it’s here, it’s
safe.” Yet in most cases, your office is probably the worst place for
your website.

Considering the bandwidth needs alone, you will discover in the near
future that a T1 in your office is not enough. You’ll run the risk of
someone in the office downloading one of those new MP3 albums while
others are streaming CNN on their desktops. The bandwidth requirements
of Internet applications continue to grow. In the future, your business
is going to add more bandwidth-sensitive features to your website –
features like streaming video or audio. Or maybe the company president
is welcoming users.

A T1 provides 1.5 Mbits (M=million) per second of data transfer
speed. The data can move in both the inbound and outbound directions at
a total combined speed of 1.5 Mbits maximum. With an ISDN circuit at
128K (K=thousand) bits per second (when both A and B channels are used),
it’s a
total of 128K combined. Repeat, a total of 128K is the total inbound and
outbound data speed combined.

Yes, it’s true that the majority of users accessing the Internet use
56K bits per second analog dial-up connections. However, every day more
people are installing ADSL and cable modem service. Many of these
individuals can make a request from your server and suck down packets at
a request rate greater than 256K bits. 1.5 Mbits divided by 256K equals
six. That’s a maximum of six people with high-speed connections that can
access your T1 office server before delays begin. Now add the fact that
someone in the office is downloading a Microsoft upgrade, large web
page, or MP3 file while someone else is watching streaming video. And
what if it’s another business using a T1? This is
likely if your business provides products and services to other
businesses.

Let’s review the basic facts. More individuals are obtaining faster
Internet access. Internet applications are becoming more bandwidth
intensive. Finally, your business is doomed to add more
bandwidth-intensive features to your website. It will, or your website
will go stale. The question is: “Are you really better off with the
server located at the office on a T1 (or slower) connection?”

The answer is usually no. Co-location and hosting are better and
often more affordable choices.

If you care about the Internet impression your business creates, the
solution is a co-located server. This is an arrangement whereby your
business owns or leases the hardware placed in a rack at a facility
designed specifically for this purpose. The most industrial of
applications, like WorldNetDaily.com, are handled by co-located servers.
Servers are owned by WorldNetDaily, and located in a facility with
high-speed fiber optic Internet connections, and plenty of bandwidth
throughput to multiple backbones.

A proper co-location facility must have direct backbone access using
a minimum of two T3 or DS-3 (45 megabit per second) backbone
connections. A T3 is equal to approximately 30 T1 circuits. These
connections must be provided by different backbone providers. The
physical T3 circuits should originate from different telephone company
facilities. The circuits should terminate on two routers configured in
an automatic mirrored fall-over arrangement. A good co-location facility
can also
provide your machine “multi-homed” IP addresses, located in the router
tables at both backbone providers. In the event the router at one
backbone provider stops working or a circuit is disconnected, the other
backbone provider will continue to route your machine’s packets.

And let’s not forget the huge battery-based uninterruptible power
supply (UPS) and generator. Yes, generator. Once the batteries run down
your server stops working. Also very valuable is someone working the
night shift in the event you need a server reset.

These are the basics required of a good co-location facility.

If your business needs are less industrial, the second and most
popular choice is a hosted website — that is, one that shares the same
server with many other websites.

The cost of a hosting is usually under $100 per month. For that, you
get all the features of a good facility that would contain co-located
servers: redundant T3s, UPS, power generator — all unaffordable
features for most businesses.

So why not host? The cost is lower and the facilities are the same.
But there is a drawback to hosting.

A single busy website on a server hosting 30 sites can slow down the
web pages of the other 29 websites hosted on that machine. And it can
happen so fast. Suddenly an ad appears in the Wall Street Journal from
one of the 29 companies that you share with. It features their URL in
huge print and the promise of a dollar for filling out their
questionnaire. Around 8 a.m. Eastern your site begins to slow down. At 9
a.m. Pacific it’s now at a crawl, and your business looks like it has a
problem. The slowdown reflects on your company, which is providing a
frustrating experience to your customers and potential customers while
they wait. People often misinterpret this as a symptom that the ISP does
not have enough bandwidth. The problem is actually the continuous number
of web page requests on that one machine on which your business happens
to reside.

A solution is to set up a monitor for your site that periodically
checks to see if the website experiences slowness. If it does, simply
call the ISP and tell them that it looks like your website is slow. They
usually monitor the machines, but your call may prompt them to identify
the computer-hogging website and move it to another machine. This may
take a few days, so for a very busy website, their next move is usually
to a co-located machine.

Nevertheless, a hosted website is still a valuable and economical way
to leverage very high-speed connections in a reliable facility. Having
your web site hosted is usually a better choice. Having your own
co-located server is the best choice. Both of these are more reliable
than having your own T1-connected server at the office.

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