It’s almost officially summer, but our team hasn’t let summer fun get in the way of developing more awesomeness for Hostwinds clients! This month we have two new exciting features to share with you…
First is our new Load Balancer available for VPS and Cloud Hosting that can be setup within minutes to increase your site’s performance and reliability.
Second is that you can customize your Cloud’s instances to your heart’s desire with the new ISO files.
Hostwinds Load Balancer
As a Hostwinds client, you can now easily setup a Load Balancer to ensure every visitor to your site or every customer using your application has a great experience. Note that you’ll need a VPS or our Cloud hosting to take advantage of this.
What’s the Use of Load Balancing?
Load Balancers funnel traffic through the most optimal path to access your application or site. When someone attempts to visit, the Load Balancer will send them through a Listener (a specific port), then check the Health Monitor (A check for uptime and speed) to see which Member (server) will perform the best for them.
They use multiple servers (referred to as Members in your control panel) to ensure that if for some odd reason one isn’t available, is unable to process the request or currently has a heavy workload, your visitors will still be able to seamlessly access it.
It’ll automatically detect that and reroute them, so you never have to worry about visitors not being able to get through.
You can see an overview and a helpful diagram that illustrates how this works on our Load Balancer Overview guide.
Why is Load Balancing Important?
Customers today, more than ever, expect a smooth, seamless experience. And they want it fast. They aren’t going to wait around patiently because you suddenly get a spike in traffic and your site slows down.
They aren’t going to sit and wait to place an order or use your application when it becomes unresponsive or slow due to too many users accessing it. They’ll simply take their business somewhere else that they can rely on.
Even the slightest bit of downtime can have enormous impacts on your users’ experience, which in turn can hurt your business or brand. Not only in terms of your reputation and perceived reliability, but downtime can be expensive too.
Load Balancers boost your site’s performance and give you peace of mind knowing that even during the busiest of times your site or application will be available for your visitors.
How Load Balancers Make Scaling Easier
At some point in time, it’s likely you’ll want to scale up. Your site will (hopefully!) grow over time or your app will become more popular and you’ll need to adjust as that happens.
With load balancing, it’s much easier to do this. Whether you need two more servers to support the number of users you’re getting or 20, you can do so (see how to add more Members here!)… while still being able to use one URL on the frontend. You can add them whenever you need them without ever affecting your site or apps accessibility during the process.
Users simply visit the URL you give them and they’re all routed through your Load Balancer and Health Monitor to ensure a quick, seamless connection to the server that will perform best for them at that time.
You can see how to configure your Health Monitor to your liking here.
Hostwinds ISO Control
Next up! Now you can add your own ISO files to your Volume Storage (at normal Volume Storage rates), which allows you to install whatever it is you might need.
Install an operating system of your choice, a special program or an app… whatever you need. Then you can remove it from storage so you don’t continue to be charged for that space.
In fact, whenever launching an instance, you can choose any OS you like from our large and growing library of ISO options as seen below:
Essentially, you can launch a new instance with a Desktop or Server environment and utilize any applications without restrictions.
When might this be especially useful?
If you’re a developer or systems administrator, you’re able to test different versions of common applications that may be utilizing your software. It lets you easily benchmark an application’s resource usage and speeds with different Operating Systems and test compatibility.
If you’d like to utilize an Operating System that we don’t have available in our library, you’re now able to upload the installation ISO to launch your instance from.
You can also troubleshoot issues with your server by uploading a live CD to resolve common system issues.
The many options and combinations available make the possibilities endless.
These two new features give you ultimate control over how your servers and instances are configured. And with the option of our new Load Balancers, you can ensure your visitors and customers are always greeted with a fast loading site and positive experience.
If you’re already taking advantage of any of the new features in these monthly service spotlights, please let us know how they’re helping you overcome challenges or how you’re using them in the comments below.
And if there’s something you’d like to see us add to make your hosting with us better, please let us know that too. Who knows… maybe you’ll see it in an upcoming announcement!