More than 1 million downloads later, our WordPress plugin continues to support website owners around the globe.

When Facebook experienced a site wide outage this summer, it is estimated the company lost $500,000 in ad revenue over the half hour the social network went offline.

For publishers, overall traffic took a noticeable 3% drop.

Ouch. Naturally, outrage on Twitter ensued. While users were denied their regular dose of Facebook, businesses suffered by losing revenue.

When the world’s largest social network (and the web’s #1 source of social referrals) goes offline, there’s not much you can do other than suffer alongside it. But if your own servers go down for whatever reason, you’ll need a backup solution that ensures the reader experience isn’t compromised and revenue isn’t halted.

A Carbon Copy as Good as the Original

Nothing can substitute the digital experience you’ve carefully crafted for your audience over the years, so why try? But when the original isn’t available, a mirror image will have to do.

As first reported by VentureBeat, premium hosting platform WP Engine introduced a new service called S3 Mirror, which initially will be best used for disaster recovery (DR), as part of its latest initiative called Alpha Labs.

According to WP Engine,

S3 Mirror creates an always-on, highly scalable and secure hosting environment containing a “snapshot” of the website in a (recent) moment in time. If the primary website experiences problems for any reason, web traffic can be diverted to S3 so the site is still available.

Besides incidents like full-cluster or full-data-center failure, this is also useful if a site receives an especially large surge of traffic. Whether anticipated or surprising, whether a malicious attack or from planned PR, having an alternative mode for handling traffic of literally any size can make the difference between showing your site to millions of viewers or showing them a blank screen.

Over a phone interview, Tomas Puig, Senior Director at Alpha Labs, shared that generally, digital businesses can think in terms of revenue-per-hour or visitors-per-hour (especially for websites that deliver ads). Regardless of the metric you measure for your site’s success, prolonged outages compromise your brand. Even middle-of-the-night outages haunt CTOs’ dreams, despite their sometimes negligible impact on key business metrics. That said, Puig recommends, “buying something consistent, at very least for sake of sanity.”

All things considered, a defensive strategy is just as important as executing aggressive growth strategies for promising websites.

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For businesses, an outage can, at best, be brushed off. At worst, you land on Infoworld’s “worst cloud outages” semi-annual listicle. While you can hope for the best, the smartest companies often prepare for the worst.

Of course, it would be wise to shop around for DR services that work well for your website and fit your budget. Though their offerings differ, alternative DR providers include Rackspace, AWS, and Synthesis.

Have you tried any of these before? What are your best disaster recovery stories and tips?

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