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What ISPs do the servers used to host large scale websites or companies go with? Or are they somehow directly connected to the internet?

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migrated from Feb 9 '11 at 18:13

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Everyone with a publicly-routable IP address is directly connected to the Internet. If you're not sure what that means, you may want do do some more reading. – mfinni Feb 9 '11 at 18:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Many hosts have leases with larger providers to take advantage of bigger/better internet backbones. These companies invest heavily building and maintaining fault-tolerant infrastructure. A couple examples:

  • Rackspace - a publicly traded company (NYSE:RAX) based in San Antonio, Texas with market capitalization greater than $4.6 billion dollars. They operate data centers in Texas, Illinois, Virginia, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.
  • Level 3 Communications - also publicly traded (NASDAQ:LVLT) with market capitalization over $2 billion dollars, based in Broomfield, Colorado.
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They usually get service from multiple providers so there is not one central point of failure for the website. For example you may get service from AT&T and then setup a cabinet (or cage) in a key locations within their IDC's. But AT&T might not have an IDC in Asia (I think they have them in South Korea and Japan) so you get service from a top level ISP there and setup a office or use the ISP's hosted data services.

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It depends very much on the hoster. The bigger ones will have their own AS number and IPv4/IPv6 space. These will be "Default Free" networks. What this means is that there's no Default Gateway. They will connect to a large transit provider and rather than getting a default gateway, they'll get a list of every route that the transit provider knows of.

They will do this with a number of transit providers like Global Crossing, Level3 or Cogent for example. Then their routers will look at all the routes received from the different providers and decide which which ones they like best based on different criteria, for example, the number of other AS numbers in the path. They might also connect to an IXP where they get a smaller set of routes directly from other ISPs and Web Hosters.

Most of time these days, the connections are simple ethernet over Cat5/6 or Fibre, although I'm sure there's plenty of places still using SONET and similar.

If a Webhost doesn't have their own AS Number or PA space, they will usually be either a reseller of a larger host. Alternatively they might just have a few servers in the larger hosts network. In this case, the servers will be connected to a switch which in turn will be hooked into a much more powerful core network.

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No T1 - that would nobe a larger host. I would say this is 1000+ servers, and you dont get that over a T1 by any means. – TomTom Feb 9 '11 at 19:06
Meant SONET style connections in general rather than just T1. To be honest, I've only used Ethernet on Cat6 and Fibre, hell of a lot simpler to deploy! – Niall Donegan Feb 9 '11 at 19:37

They use/have the same internet connection as you do. Here are a few differences:

  • They have a record(s) in the DNS servers that link their domain name to their IP address.
  • They usually have a static IP address (IP address that does not change).
  • They will usually use a T1 (or better) connections to connect them to the ISP for a faster connection. (which is not true with every "Webhost")
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-1. Actually they dont use the smae connection. LARGER hosts (note large scale) are an AS (autonomous system) and use BGP routing to multiple providers. This means they are also ASSIGNED their on adress space as sub-registry and do their own international routing. Minimum size 4096 or so addresses. I doubt anyone has this capabilities at home. – TomTom Feb 9 '11 at 18:25
I agree with Tom, this is not an accurate assessment. – Tatas Feb 9 '11 at 18:45
He was asking about special ways that Webhosts are connected to the internet. There is no way to connect directly to the internet. The internet is made up of MANY computers, so it would be impossible to connect directly to the internet. I was just trying to give a simple answer so that people could understand. I understand that some companies buy blocks of IP space, but you getting too detailed for such a broad question. That is just an option anyways, not a necessity. You are wrong. Obviously some people took that offensively. Also, you should proof-read your comments before posting @TomTom. – David Feb 9 '11 at 20:49

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