Any Windows web hosting service is capable of supporting the highly popular Microsoft Access database system, a database application generally used as part of the development of small websites. If you have developed a website using classic ASP or ASP.NET then the likelihood is that you are going to be using a Microsoft Access database as the backend for your website; however, Microsoft Access is only recommended for small and simple websites as it isn’t the most scalable of applications – if you wish to develop highly efficient web applications for hosting in a Windows web hosting environment then you should consider using Microsoft SQL Server as your database backend rather than Microsoft Access.
What are the advantages of using Microsoft Access?
Using Microsoft Access databases can provide you with many advantages regardless of whether you are using it for keeping data in order or as part of a broader website project. Such advantages of using Microsoft Access include:
- Easy to manage – Microsoft Access databases are very easy to manage since all you require is the desktop application that will allow you to both create and modify databases – if you were to use an SQL database system then you would need to setup a separate database server and management application which would add to the time that it takes you to deploy a new database server – also with a Microsoft Access database you don’t have any distinct need for any technical knowledge as everything is put into context when using Microsoft Access
- Dynamic websites – a Microsoft Access database can be used in conjunction with a classic ASP or ASP.NET based website to created a dynamic website that can have its contents served from a database providing you with a solution that is much easier to manage – many websites are now dynamic in the way that they serve their content as this can be much more beneficial for web developers that are trying to create highly scalable systems that can be managed by many different people but also be used by many visitors at the same time
- Lightweight – Microsoft Access databases are generally light on resource usage meaning that you can use a Microsoft Access database on a Windows server that may not necessarily be of the highest specification available – Microsoft Access databases are called directly as a file when a script is loaded meaning that there is no service constantly running as is the case with Microsoft SQL Server databases, helping to save on system resource usage.
Microsoft Access can provide web developers with an easy to use and quick solution that will aid them with the development of dynamic websites that are being designed for hosting in a Windows web hosting environment.
What are the disadvantages of using Microsoft Access?
There can also be disadvantages to using Microsoft Access that you should be aware of as you may find that another database application or server may be able to meet your needs more adequately. Such disadvantages could include:
- Price – in order to be able to use and manage Microsoft Access databases you first need to own the application which is part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications – you will find that you may need to put forward quite a bit of money if you wish to purchase a version of Microsoft Office, although Microsoft Access can be purchased as a standalone application for a small amount of money – however, on top of this you will also need to consider the added cost of using Windows web hosting services
- Scalability – Microsoft Access isn’t able to offer businesses and individuals the most scalable of database hosting solutions which could cause issues in some cases where businesses require an easy to use database solution that will be able to scale along with their requirements – however, for those that require scalable database hosting in a Windows web hosting environment there is always Microsoft SQL Server which can offer a highly reliable database hosting service
- Flexibility – Microsoft Access doesn’t offer you the greatest level of flexibility as it is designed for use as a desktop database application rather than as part of a web application – for example, Microsoft SQL Server will be able to offer you a greater number of useful features such as stored procedures that will cut down the number of SQL queries that you have to factor into your code.
In conclusion, Microsoft Access is a decent solution for businesses and individuals that are running smaller websites since a Microsoft Access database won’t be the most scalable of database solutions available. If you wish to develop scalable web applications for use in a Windows web hosting environment then Microsoft SQL Server databases are going to be more beneficial for you.