[LEGACY] Hotcakes License Activation in Web Farm Environments

Outdated Article

This article is outdated as of Hotcakes version 3.0 and only useful for reference.


Sometimes an online store is so successful or important that it really needs to ensure that the store is always responsive and always online.  You can accomplish higher levels of guaranteed website performance and availability using a Cloud provider like us, but when you're running an On Premise license, you may need to use a traditional web farm instead.  In this case, you'll need to have and activate a license for each web server in your web farm.


The following prerequisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:

Getting Started

If you haven't already done so, please familiarize yourself with the resources mentioned above.

License Activation in Web Farms

When you're using web farms, you're most often using at least 2-3 web servers to host your website.  Each of these servers are sometimes called web heads.  In order for Hotcakes to function fully, you'll need to have a license activated for each web head.

Accomplishing this is quite simple.  All you have to do is visit the website using the production URL, and activate on the production URL on each web head.  For example, a web farm of 3 servers might have the following URL's that you use to access them.

  • Production URL:  www.example.com
  • Web Head URL:  web1.example.com
  • Web Head URL:  web2.example.com
  • Web Head URL:  web3.example.com

In the examples above, the web head URL's would most likely only be available when viewing the website from within your company network.

The bare minimum size web farm we'd recommend for any mission critical website is 3 web servers.  Anything lower still will have expected and unexpected moments of downtime.

How to Activate in a Web Farm

Prior to your website going live for the public to see it, or during the moments where you're making it available, you'll need to activate your license(s) individually on each web head.  This is normally done using an appliance such as a load balancer.

  1. Disable all web heads from receiving and responding to traffic, except one.
  2. Visit the website using the production URL, and activate the license.
  3. Disable the currently enabled web head that you just activated on.
  4. Enable another web head that hasn't yet been activated.
  5. Revisit the site and activate the license again.
  6. Repeat steps 3 though 5 for each additional web head.
  7. If your web farm is using file synchronization, copy all *.lic files from the following folder to the same location in each webhead:  ~\DesktopModules\Hotcakes\
  8. Enable access to your site from all web heads.

At this point, your Hotcakes site should be operating in a fully functional way, without any licensing messages and with all features and functionality available.

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