The advantages of a cluster IP: Higher server availability, maintenance without downtime and much more.

updated: Server products are usually equipped with a fixed IP address. This makes them and the programs and web content stored on them clearly addressable via the Internet. However, there are also scenarios in which a more flexible assignment offers clear advantages: for example, when a server is not available or when switching between a staging or live system. With a cluster IP, you can easily redirect web requests from one server to another within a few minutes and much more.

Index of contents

What is a cluster IP suitable for?

  1. Reliability through failover system
    How quickly can something go wrong with a system update or a website change? In the worst case, your site will not be available for some time. But every minute of downtime can cost you dearly, especially if you operate a well-visited website such as an online shop, a download or news portal or similar. In addition to the financial losses, you are often threatened with a loss of image, because prospects who have not reached your site may never come back.With a cluster IP, you can easily set up a failover system yourself and thus significantly increase the availability of your site(s). Should e.g. For example, if a server cannot be reached, you can redirect the cluster IP directly to another server and your website can be reached again.
  2. No downtime for longer maintenance work The Cluster IP also offers you the same advantage during lengthy maintenance work. Incoming page views can be forwarded directly to another server for the entire duration of the maintenance work. You no longer need to postpone important maintenance work or switch to nightly maintenance windows.
  3. Easily switch between development and live environmentHave you entered your website changes or set up new applications and tested the system in detail? So what could be more obvious than putting the entire system live directly and then updating the second system at your leisure? True to the motto: "Never change a running system."Figure: Development environment with Cluster IPWith Cluster IP, your development or staging environment becomes live in minutes and vice versa.
  4. The unchanging IP address - even with upgrades
    Some services or licenses are directly linked to a specific IP address. For example, if you want to upgrade or downgrade to a different server product, you have a problem. Because you usually get a new IP address with the server product.Figure: Migration with Cluster IPA cluster IP, on the other hand, cannot be changed; you only have to adapt the forwarding to the IP address of the new product.

How to set up a cluster IP

1. Order and configure Cluster IP

To order a cluster IP. Cluster IP is a standalone product that comes with its own IP address.

From your cluster IP address you can forward directly to the IP address of a server, for example. You only need to select or change the target IP of your cluster IP address in a drop-down menu via our customer information system.

Figure: Target URL for Cluster IP

Prerequisite for forwarding is that the target product is hosted under your customer number at Host Europe.
By simply changing the target IP (new addressing), you have the option of switching quickly and easily between 2 or any number of servers. You can order the Cluster IP product independently of a server.

2. Configure server for cluster IP

If you want to address a server product with a cluster IP, you must configure the server accordingly. The setup is very easy to do with the administration software Plesk.

Login to Plesk. Under Tools & Settings, select the menu item IP addresses.

Figure - Tools-Settings Subscriptions menu item in Plesk Onyx

Now click on "reload" and Plesk will automatically add the cluster IP as an additional IP address to your server.

Figure - Reload IP address - Plesk adds the new address

In the same way, you must now add the cluster IP to your second server as well, as well as to any additional server that you wish to address with the cluster IP.

3. Link web content to the cluster IP

Of course, the same web content should always be delivered when the cluster IP is called. Therefore, make sure that the same web applications, databases and data are available on all server systems that you want to address with the cluster IP address. In addition, the corresponding domain should of course also be set up on all servers.

Now you only need to link the corresponding domain with the cluster IP address. If you use Plesk, all you have to do is edit the subscription in which you have created the corresponding domain.

Figure - Change web hosting account in Plesk Onyx

First, open the subscription and click on “Web Hosting Access”. Under IP address, select the cluster IP and confirm these changes with OK.

Figure - Select IP address

If you have carried out the steps described, the server system is now configured in terms of cluster IP settings.

4. Graduation

Finally, you only have to change the DNS entry of your domain.

Figure - Configure domain - set IP address of cluster IP in Plesk Onyx

If you have already set up your server as a name server, you can edit the DNS entries directly via the Plesk panel. Choose the subscription for your domain. Click on the domain you want to edit and switch to the control panel. You can manage the entries under the menu item “DNS settings”.

If you do not use your server as a name server, you can make changes to the DNS entries of your domains via our customer information system (KIS).

To do this, go to Edit AutoDNS Domains under the Domain Services menu item and select the domain you want to edit.

Figure - Domain Services menu item in the administration area of ​​Host Europe - Edit DNS settings

Enter the cluster IP address as the A record.

Unfortunately, no cluster IPs are currently available in IPv6 format. Therefore, please delete the AAAA entries.

Tip for setting up a cluster IP for an existing system
Changes to AutoDNS records typically take effect within 24 hours. Therefore, if you want to set up the cluster IP for an existing system, you should start with setting up the 2nd (new) server. In this way, you ensure that your web content is delivered correctly for incoming requests even during the transition period (until your domain can be reached under the new cluster IP address).

You can use the cluster IP for the following products

Virtual servers from Host Europe

Root servers from Host Europe

Do you have any questions or suggestions about cluster IP addresses? Send us a comment.

Photo credits: Fotolia, License: Host Europe

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