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.