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Quadra: our custom-designed, fully managed clustered cloud web platform

With over 20 years’ experience in managing our own network and shared hosting for thousands of websites, we’ve invested all of our experience into developing and perfecting a unique platform to deliver the fastest website speeds for hosted sites and the highest reliability. High availability hosting at it’s very best…

At its core are a series of clusters that websites share which feature a total of 16 servers per node including load balancers, finely tuned web servers, clustered SQL engines and shared filesystems combined with a fourth layer of backup systems and geo-redundant systems that act as a failsafe.

Our goal was to create the kind of highly redundant system large enterprises use for their sites, but for the shared hosting budgets of that most websites require.


Why 4×4 Quadra hosting is better?

Quadra hosting was born from a wish list we made when designing the perfect web hosting for a large e-commerce site – and we figured every site should have that power. The key was to have four of everything, working perfectly together… Four 1-10Gbps+ connections to the internet to ensure your site can be accessed quickly from anywhere in the world. Four sets of routers, four storage engines, four web servers, four SQL servers and four load balancers. What’s more, there’s 4 offsite backup layers too! The result is a system where 75% of it can fail – or be upgraded/maintained – without affecting performance at all. Zero downtime, 400% performance. And with our CDN-S addon, that power is amplified with a global network of 30 nodes serving assets (images and videos)…

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Reliability and High Availability

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One of the key features of the Quadra architecture is a bank of four Load balancers. Three of these work in unison for automatic failover protection with a 1 second switchover, and a fourth which is standalone and manual switchover in case of major issues or if we need to perform maintenance or upgrades on the load balancer cluster.

These load balancers distribute web requests (and ftp requests) to the best web server – usually distributing evenly to maintain load but also intelligently monitoring for high traffic to any particular site and isolating or maximising it’s visitors to maintain speeds for all websites in the cluster. It performs some security sentry duties too as well as allows for easy maintenance of any of the backend web servers by keeping track of load and availability.

Speed

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We carefully balance speed with reliability in our entire network, but particularly with nodes within each Quadra cluster. Servers are current and high specification, built and designed for their particular role – rather than a typical shared server often doing several jobs at once and not being very resilient.

SQL servers have super-rapid local disks for caching, super-fast memory (lots allocated as cache) and extremely high clock frequency to process all the math as quickly as possible. Web Servers need multiple processing cores so are typically the latest 40-core chips and a huge amount of ram on each server. Data disks are shared, which slows them down a bit, so we make up for it by making them the fastest SSDs and 10Gbps pathways as we can.

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The fastest and most reliable hosting platform available

Clustered SQLs

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Often, much of the “load” in a web server environment is in fetching data from databases – particularly on modern sites which heavily depend on databases like WordPress. Clustered SQLs is the ultimate way to deliver and process that data for the web servers – they all work together to share the load whilst remaining perfectly in sync – so uptime is greatly improved. Often, most downtime with other ISPs during “scheduled maintenance” which needs to happen sometimes daily – with a clustered SQL, that can be performed without any downtime at all – scheduled or not.

Backups. Then Backups of Backups.

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If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over our 20+ years of hosting websites is that you can never have enough backups. Server failure is a fact of life – and happens all the time. The key is having the backups and platform that can cope with those outages. Having multiple servers that work together help with this, as well as having multiple a storage platforms and RAID arrays.

But to ensure that we cover all bases, and are prepared for extreme outages or security issues, we keep backups, a lot of them! Snapshotting of virtual server images, duplicating those between NAS storage engines and offsite, having scheduled 90 day backups of all sites (and duplicating those to multiple locations) and 4-hourly backups of SQLs are just some of the ways we ensure we’re prepared for any eventuality. What’s more, website owners who need to revert to previous states of their website can too, so it’s nice and easy with our setup.

This highly tuned, advanced hosting platform delivers…..

  • 100% uptime with 5 second automatic failover to standalone backup servers

  • <250ms typical TTFB (time to first byte) access speeds for optimised WordPress sites and static HTML

  • <120ms TTFB measured by Google Pagespeed (headline rate which affects your page rank)

  • Combined with our fast worldwide peering and network infrastructure – some of the fastest data speeds available

  • Potential for 100 Google Pagespeed score – by providing a fast platform that’s feature rich (Gzip, Keepalive, on-board caching etc)

Our WebMate Pro hosting plans utilise the full power of our ever-improving Quadra Platform: An award-winning enterprise-grade platform, meticulously designed and managed in-house by our vastly experienced systems team with one goal: Speed and reliability. Okay, maybe that’s two.

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