Archive for July, 2011

Access Hosting

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Microsoft Access is a desktop database system that has been developed by Microsoft with small businesses in mind and can be used to create and manage small-scale standalone databases as well as the database backend for small ASP websites. Not many comparisons can be drawn between Microsoft Access and its bigger brother SQL Server because both database systems are targeting two different markets; whereas SQL Server is aimed at larger businesses that store all of their mission critical data on database systems and require scalability to ensure that they never face stability issues, Microsoft Access is aimed at smaller businesses that aren’t going to have the need for a scalable database system and are only looking at using an Access database as part of a small implementation. As is the case with SQL Server databases, in order to make the most of your Access databases in a web hosting environment you will need to choose a Windows web hosting plan for your needs as Access databases can only function in a Windows environment; this can be a disadvantage to some extent because it means that you will have to pay out more for a web hosting plan that will suit your needs. For businesses that are looking to develop small-scale websites and web applications using ASP.NET then Microsoft Access will make the perfect database accompaniment as it will allow you to cut development times, but will allow you to create a final result that will function professionally and will be able to keep your data safe and secure.

What are the benefits of using Microsoft Access?

As Microsoft Access is a desktop database system it can have many benefits to offer to beginners before they move on to using more powerful systems such as Microsoft SQL Server; some of these benefits include:

  • Desktop system – the fact that Microsoft Access is a desktop database system makes it easier to use in some cases because you are able to manage databases locally without the need for a direct internet connection to a server because the file is the database, rather than the database being served through a server service – with Microsoft Access you can download a database from your web space and make the amendments to it that you see as being necessary and then upload the database to your web space again, allowing you to keep a back-up copy of your database on your desktop so in the event that the server that your website is hosted on crashes, you will be able to recover your database and data easily
  • Cheap to implement – compared to a Microsoft SQL Server-based system, Microsoft Access databases are fairly cheap to implement because you only have to pay for a single application that won’t provide you with any limitations – with Microsoft SQL Server you have to purchase a license for the high-end version in order to be able to make the most of the application without any limitations, however if you go for a lower end version then you may have certain limitations forced upon you – however, your license for Microsoft Access will only be usually valid for one computer meaning that if you wish to use multiple copies of the application or have it on different computers then it could become costly to implement
  • ASP.NET websites – Microsoft Access can be used in conjunction with ASP.NET to aid with the development of small-scale dynamic websites that require a database backend in which data can be stored – Access is only suitable for small-scale websites because it isn’t the most scalable database platform available and so larger websites would be put too much stress on an Access database and too many concurrent connections would make it impossible for the database and website to function together properly – however, when used together you will be able to develop very dynamic and functional web applications for a Windows hosting environment.

What are the disadvantages of using Microsoft Access?

Due to the limitations provided by using Microsoft Access, there can be some disadvantages to using the application that you should be aware of prior to choosing it. Some of the disadvantages that you may come across could include:

  • Windows-only – the fact that Access is developed by Microsoft means that Access databases can only be managed on Windows desktop computer and will only be fully functional on Windows web hosting servers – this will only be an issue for you if you are using a platform for either your web hosting or on the desktop other than Windows, for example many people choose to use Mac OSX as their desktop operating system for which Microsoft Access isn’t compatible, similarly Linux is a popular choice for web hosting and an Access database won’t open in a Linux hosting environment
  • Scalability – the fact that Microsoft Access serves databases directly from the file, it isn’t the most scalable database solution available and so larger businesses looking to use a scalable Microsoft database solution should review Microsoft SQL Server for their requirements – when looking to develop a scalable infrastructure for a website that will be able to cope with load spikes, it is important for you to consider your backend database application carefully because this is going to be put under much of the stress that comes from load spikes because of the continuous requests that will be made to pull information from any databases that are being hosted.

In conclusion, Access hosting is available from any web hosting company that is offering Windows web hosting services. Although Microsoft Access may not be the most scalable database platform available, it is recommended for smaller businesses that are looking to develop small, in-house web applications using ASP.NET as they can then easily manage their databases using a desktop application. Microsoft Access isn’t the best option for managing databases that are being used in a live web environment because once you have downloaded the database and made the changes you want, a newer copy of the database is likely to exist on the hosting server.

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SQL Server Hosting Plan

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

For larger businesses that require a reliable database hosting platform that they can be sure will keep their data safe and secure, Microsoft SQL Server represents the best option possible because of the fact that the application is designed for use by enterprise-level users. As a Windows web hosting user you will also be able to appreciate the close level of integration that is possible between ASP.NET web applications and SQL Server databases, helping to ensure that any data pulled from your database by your ASP.NET website is done so securely as to ensure that the connection can’t be eavesdropped on by hackers and other malicious attackers. Microsoft SQL Server is only available for the Windows platform meaning that you will have to choose a Windows web hosting plan if you wish to have the facility to host SQL Server databases; most web hosting companies will be able to offer you a wide range of Windows hosting plans to choose from, with Windows shared hosting plans being available for those with simple requirements whilst those who wish to make the most of SQL Server hosting can opt for their own VPS server or dedicated server running Windows. Depending on your exact requirements, you may wish to check out the version of SQL Server that your web hosting plan will be provided with; although most web hosting companies have now upgraded to SQL Server 2008, there are still some web hosting providers using SQL Server 2005 for the purpose of lower-end Windows web hosting plans.

What should I look for in an SQL Server hosting plan?

There are several different features that you should consider in a Windows web hosting plan that you may be looking to use for the purposes of SQL Server database hosting, these features include:

  • Version of SQL Server being used – the version of Microsoft SQL Server being used is something that you should ask a web hosting provider before purchasing a Windows web hosting plan for the use of SQL Server hosting because different versions of Microsoft SQL Server offer different features and where possible, it is probably best for you to be using the most recent versions of software that is key to your website – most web hosting companies aim to use SQL Server 2008 which is the latest version of the software and by choosing a web hosting company that is able to offer the most up-to-date version, you can be sure that you will be awarded the best levels of reliability and security that are available for your databases – furthermore, it may also be important to review the specific edition of SQL Server that is being used as some web hosting companies choose to use the Express edition to save money under some circumstances and this can provide you with certain limitations, so you want to be sure that you will have access to a server running the Standard edition of the software at least
  • Disk space allowance – depending on the size of your website, you may also wish to review the amount of disk space that will be provided with your chosen Windows web hosting plan as the size of your SQL Server database will count towards your overall disk space usage – if your website is going to be expanding over time then it is important for you to consider a web hosting plan that will be able to cope with this growth over time or will allow you to purchase extra disk space as you require it because if you end up using up all of the disk space that you have available to you, this could cause issues with the functionality of your Windows web hosting plan
  • Support for ASP.NET – it is recommended that you ensure that any SQL Server hosting plan that you may be looking to choose will be able to provide you with ASP.NET support so that you are able to develop flexible Windows web applications around your Microsoft SQL Server databases – SQL Server databases can be integrated very closely with ASP.NET websites and will allow you to develop scalable and stable web applications that will be able to cope with high visitor loads and can be adapted with ease as you wish to add functionality to your website or web application.

Are there any disadvantages to using SQL Server hosting plans?

There may be some disadvantages to using SQL Server hosting plans, although this will depend on your exact requirements. Potential disadvantages that you could face include:

  • Expensive – for smaller businesses, the cost of using an SQL Server hosting plan when compared to a web hosting plan that would only be able to offer support for MySQL server isn’t justifiable, mainly because they will never have the complex requirements that would mean that they would be able to make the most of what SQL Server has to offer – where money is an issue MySQL Server is the best option available because it is an open source database server that is able to offer similar features to SQL Server, but at no cost
  • Windows-only support – as SQL Server is a Microsoft product, it is only available for the Windows platform, something that could be an issue for businesses that have invested heavily in Linux technologies but wish to have a taste of what Microsoft has to offer – as well as the added premium of using SQL Server because you have to purchase a license for the software, you will also be faced with the expense of a Windows operating system license.

In conclusion, Microsoft SQL Server is a highly reliable database server that can be deployed in pretty much any situation to provide you with a wide range of positive results. As well as providing you with a high level of security, which is important in this day and age when storing personal information of others and other confidential information online, SQL Server hosting plans can also offer you a number of other features that will allow you to make the most of the database platform.

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Windows Hosting Plan

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

A Windows hosting plan will provide you with a number of different features that aren’t available with Linux web hosting plans, primarily because the Windows operating system is a commercial operating system that offers a closed environment. Windows web hosting plans are ideal for the hosting of classic ASP and ASP.NET websites simply because the Windows platform is the only operating system capable of hosting these websites to a level that will enable you to make the most of them; furthermore, a majority of the backend applications that you are likely to be using to support your ASP website are likely to support the Windows operating system only, meaning that there will always be high demand for Windows hosting services. Microsoft is well known for producing high-quality, scalable server-side applications that are used by many large businesses and enterprises to power their corporate infrastructures; this enables web hosting providers to offer premium Windows hosting services with ease as their main target audience is going to be businesses as opposed to individuals. If you are a Windows web developer then you will be able to appreciate the importance of Windows VPS servers and Windows dedicated servers in providing dedicated web hosting environments; a dedicated Windows hosting environment will enable you to make the most of what ASP.NET has to offer, whilst using ASP as your scripting framework of choice will enable you to fully harness the power of the operating system along with any supporting applications that you choose to use.

What are the main technologies supported by Windows, but not by Linux?

There are several technologies that are unique to the Windows platform that are used by many large businesses as the core of their web infrastructure and as a Windows hosting customer, you can take advantage of these technologies to enhance your own web applications. These technologies include:

  • ASP.NET and AJAX – ASP.NET is one of the most advanced web scripting frameworks available, providing you with access to a number of different features and components that will enable you to make the most of the Windows operating system, allowing you to develop highly functional Windows web applications – ASP.NET is known for being scalable which is one of the most important features to consider in a scripting language when developing a fairly large website because this means that you will be able to serve your web application to a number of users, safe in the knowledge that your application is unlikely to fail – furthermore, the AJAX component of the ASP.NET framework will allow you to add additional AJAX functionality to your Windows web applications so that to end-users they appear to be sleek and well defined
  • Microsoft SQL Server – this is Microsoft’s enterprise-class database server that is used by many large organizations to power not only their website backends, but also their internal operations – Microsoft SQL Server has proven itself to be one of the most powerful database applications around and the fact that it is only supported by Windows means that there will always be a need for Windows hosting where large businesses are using this application – you can use SQL Server as the backend for your ASP.NET website with ease, safe in the knowledge that the seamless integration between the two will ensure that your data is as secure as possible when being accessed by your web application
  • Microsoft Access – for smaller implementations, a Microsoft Access database may be more than sufficient for the requirements of the web applications, but again this is a technology that is only supported by Windows servers – as is the case with SQL Server databases, Access databases can be seamlessly integrated into ASP.NET applications meaning that smaller web applications can be developed in half the time when using a less complex database structure – however, the only downside to using Microsoft Access as opposed to SQL Server is that the databases aren’t designed to be as scalable meaning that as the use of your application increases, you will need to port your Access database over to SQL Server at some point.

How can developing for Windows benefit me over developing for Linux?

Depending on the purpose that you are developing a web application for, there can be some benefits to choosing Windows over Linux when it comes to considering your hosting platform; these benefits include:

  • Secure platform – Windows is seen as being a more secure platform than Linux and indeed this is an important factor to consider if you are going to be hosting the personal information of visitors or customers – as well as standard anti-virus applications, there are also many other measures that can be taken to ensure that a Windows server remains secure and the fact that Windows is a commercial operating system means that if there are any security issues, you can be sure that Microsoft will be quick to release an update or patch to fix any issues that arise
  • Reliable platform – Windows is also seen as being a reliable platform, something that is important when developing web applications because you want to be sure that your intended audience will be able to access your website when they want to – most web hosting companies will aim to provide you with a highly reliable web hosting service these days and so in most cases you can be sure that your chosen Windows hosting plan will provide you with an acceptable level of uptime.

In conclusion, a Windows hosting plan will provide Windows web developers with the platform on which they can host the applications that they have crafted especially to make the most of the platform. Even though Windows is a commercial platform that will carry an additional premium over Linux web hosting plans, for users of Windows web hosting the extra charge is usually justifiable through the features that Windows is able to provide, but Linux is unable to. It is important to remember that you should only consider a Windows hosting plan if you have a specific need for Windows hosting, i.e. a need that can’t be met by Linux hosting plans.

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