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Is there a way to automatically display a notification page (some styled "we will be back soon") in case a webserver fails?

How would that work, considering the domain would have to "suddenly" display the content of a different IP address?

Also, considering that the above would not propagate to all DNS instantly anyways, which solutions are there?

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Well in most cases this is a load balancer or proxy in front of the webserver that can redirect when the server is unavailable rather than it being handled at a dns level.

You can use redirectable dns services that use a low TTL to reduce propagation times but this is more aimed at geographical redundancy than for a single server.

A much better way to solve this problem is to never need a 'back soon' message by a) make your server more reliable b) setup redundant versions of everything. Using VMs and loadbalancing this is relatively easy to do even with only 2 servers.

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James, thanks for your answer. Redundancy would be my preferred solution. Considering a redundant server on a different location/continent that's actually handling half the load I'll also need a way to keep MySQL in sync. Plus it'd be interesting to automatically serve from a European server to European visitors and to Americans from a server located in America. Could you elaborate on your suggestion or point me to relevant resources? –  user569825 Jan 28 '11 at 10:16
    
serverfault.com/q/30567/15008 –  JamesRyan Jan 28 '11 at 10:21

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