Posts Tagged ‘windows web hosting’

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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Why should I choose shared web hosting?

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Shared web hosting plans are designed by web hosting companies to be the cheapest web hosting service that they offer and this is reflected in the specifications of shared web hosting plans as well as the features available when compared to higher-end forms of web hosting. As is the case with most forms of web hosting, you will be able to choose between Windows shared hosting and Linux shared hosting so that you are able to purchase a web hosting plan that suits your requirements sufficiently; it should be taken into consideration that Linux shared web hosting plans are often the cheapest available from most web hosting companies and represent excellent value for money if you are on a tight budget. For a beginner shared web hosting plans are often the best option because you will be provided with full support, enabling you to focus on the task in hand which is setting up your web hosting account without having to worry about the management of the server that you are hosted on, nor the more technical aspects of your web hosting account. The cost of shared web hosting plans also means that you can get started with shared web hosting and if you find that it isn’t the right web hosting package for you then you won’t lose out too much, or on the other hand you are provided with an easy upgrade path because with most web hosting providers it is fairly easy to upgrade shared web hosting plans so that you can eventually reach reseller level.

Benefits of Using Shared Web Hosting

There are many benefits that can be had from using shared web hosting and are the reasons that as a beginner, you should consider a shared web hosting plan over anything else that may be on offer. Such benefits include:

  • Low cost web hosting – a shared web hosting plan will be able to provide you with an affordable, low cost web hosting service as web hosting providers are able to fit more shared web hosting accounts on a single server than they are accounts of any type of web hosting, allowing them to pitch the price of your average shared web hosting plan much lower than the prices of other forms of web hosting – it is a good idea to remember that most shared web hosting plans are feature-rich meaning that even though you aren’t going to be paying much, you are going to be guaranteed good value for money
  • Managed hosting environment – one of the major attractions of shared web hosting for beginners is the fact that you will be hosted in a fully managed web hosting environment meaning that you won’t have to worry about managing the server that your web hosting account is hosted on because your web hosting provider will be responsible for this, as well as ensuring that all software packages are kept up to date and that the server remains secure – this will also enable you to contact your web hosting provider’s support team if you have an issue with your web hosting account that you wish to have fixed, but lack the skills to do this yourself
  • Premium features – most web hosting providers choose to include premium features with their shared web hosting plans that will allow their customers to develop websites that have extended functionality that wouldn’t be available through other web hosting providers – such premium features may include access to additional software components that you would otherwise have to buy, or simply may be extra control panel features that will enable you to do more with your website and shared web hosting account.

Disadvantages of Using Shared Web Hosting

There are also several disadvantages to using shared web hosting that you should be aware of prior to purchasing a shared web hosting plan, primarily because you may find that shared web hosting isn’t the right form of web hosting for you. Such disadvantages include:

  • Resource allocations – depending on what your exact requirements are, the resource allocations that are included with most shared web hosting plans may be too little for bigger businesses because they can be seen as being rather limiting when compared to what reseller web hosting packages and VPS servers can offer – however, this can be justified with the point that shared web hosting plans are aimed at beginners who won’t have demanding needs and that if the resources provided by a shared web hosting package don’t meet your requirements, you should consider a higher-end form of web hosting – however, if you are unable to afford a higher-end form of web hosting then some web hosting companies will allow you to design a web hosting plan that is tailored exactly to your requirements, allowing you to specify exactly how much disk space and bandwidth you require
  • Security – due to the number of websites that are hosted on your average shared web hosting server, it can be hard for web hosting companies to guarantee the security of individual shared web hosting accounts and so it is recommended that you don’t use a shared web hosting plan if you are going to be hosting information that can be seen as confidential because if a hacker gains access to the hosting server and steals that information, you could find yourself in trouble – it is recommended that you choose a VPS server or other form of dedicated web hosting if you wish to be guaranteed a high level of security.

In conclusion, you should choose shared web hosting because it provides excellent value for money for beginners. Many shared web hosting plans are feature-rich meaning that as a beginner, you will be able to create highly functional websites from the start and can then choose to upgrade your web hosting package as your needs change and increase. You will always have a choice between Windows shared hosting and Linux shared hosting, allowing you to use the scripting languages and development tools that best match your knowledge and experience.

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Installing DotNetNuke

Monday, April 25th, 2011

DotNetNuke is a content management system available for use on Windows web hosting services. DNN is based on ASP.NET and can be used with either a Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server database, meaning that the application will only be fully functional when used in Windows web hosting environments. What makes DNN different from other CMS systems is that there is a community edition that can be used by anyone for free, but for businesses and larger websites who are looking to get more out of a CMS then there are also professional editions available that will come with additional features and will be accompanied by full support from the software vendor.

Downloading DotNetNuke

To download DNN, you should point your web browser towards www.dotnetnuke.com. From there you should select the “Download” button that is located at the top of the page.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 17.34.11 Installing DotNetNuke

You will then be presented with the following download and installation options:

  • Microsoft Web Platform Installer – if you are a server administrator and have access to your Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server via Remote Desktop then the Web Platform installer will provide you with a simpler installation path
  • Install package – this is the more traditional method through which you will download the files required, upload them to your web server and then will run the web-based installation wizard
  • Source code package – if you wish to make changes to the core of the application, you should choose his package as you will be able to modify the source code of DNN as you wish.

For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to use the “install” package. Once you have clicked the “Install Package” button, you will be taken to an external download website where your download will begin automatically.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 17.38.07 300x170 Installing DotNetNuke

Once you have downloaded and uncompressed the files, you should be left with a directory structure similar to the one below.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 17.41.20 101x300 Installing DotNetNuke

Beginning the Installation Process

Prior to uploading the DotNetNuke files to your web space, you will need to setup a Microsoft SQL Server database that you can use with the application through your web hosting control panel. You will then need to correct the connection string in your web.config file so that the installation wizard is able to establish a connection to your database.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.23.49 300x18 Installing DotNetNuke

Once you have corrected the connection string and uploaded the contents of the download to your web space, you should setup the following permissions on your virtual directory:

  • IIS user – this user account should be granted read, write and modify permissions on the virtual directory that DotNetNuke is located in
  • ASP.NET network user – this user account should be granted full control over the virtual directory.

Once you have corrected the permissions, you should navigate to the directory that you have placed DNN in through your web browser. You should be presented with the following installation page:

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.52.00 300x204 Installing DotNetNuke

There are three different installation options to choose from:

  • Custom – if you wish to customize your DNN installation then you should select this option as it will provide you with more options for the duration of the installation
  • Typical – if you want to use the “standard” configuration options used by a majority of users then this is the right choice for you
  • Auto – if you don’t want to muck around with the installations options and simply wish to install the application as quickly as possible then you should select this option.

For the purposes of this tutorial we will select the “Typical” option.

The wizard will then check that you have the correct permissions set on the directory that DNN is located in.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.54.50 300x192 Installing DotNetNuke

If you don’t have the correct permissions set, the installation wizard will provide you with instructions on how to solve this.

Next, you will need to setup the database connection so that the database can be populated with the relevant configuration information.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 19.42.29 300x272 Installing DotNetNuke

You will need to enter the following data:

  • File or database – you can choose to attach the existing database file, or if you wish to use a separate Microsoft SQL Server database then you will also be provided with this option
  • Server – this is the server on which your Microsoft SQL Server database is going to be hosted, usually the local server
  • Database – this is the name of the database that you wish to use
  • Database login credentials – you will also need to supply the username and password of the Microsoft SQL Server database user that you wish to use with the database.

Once you have completed the form, click “Next” and the database installation scripts will be run for you.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 19.45.14 300x211 Installing DotNetNuke

Once the database scripts have completed, you should click the “Next” button; you will then be taken to a page where you can setup the main admin user account for your website.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 20.00.27 300x231 Installing DotNetNuke

You will need to enter the following information to continue:

  • First name and last name – you should associate your own name with this account as you are likely to be the webmaster of the site
  • Username – you should set this to something applicable such as “host” or “admin”
  • Email address – it is important for you to associate an email address with this account in case you happen to forget your password.

You should also configure the SMTP server settings so that the application can send out emails.

It is now time to setup the main options for your DotNetNuke website, including the name of your site, so that you can begin to customize the installation.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 20.09.02 300x220 Installing DotNetNuke

It is recommended that you enter the following data to aid with the completion of the installation:

  • Full name – this is going to be associated with the admin account which will be used to manage the main website, unlike the super user account which is more important for the management of the technical aspects of the application
  • Username and password – these will also be associated with the admin account
  • Portal title – this is what you want the name of your website to be, for example it could be your business name if you are developing a business site
  • Template – if you are yet to develop your own design for DNN, you can choose to use a pre-built template.

Once you have completed the form and click “Next”, you should then proceed to click “Start Building Your New Site”. From there you will be taken to your new website.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 20.15.44 263x300 Installing DotNetNuke

In conclusion, DNN is a highly functional ASP.NET CMS that will provide Windows web developers with a reliable platform on which they can develop scalable websites that will be able to stand the test of time.

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Using the Plesk Control Panel

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Plesk is the biggest player in the Windows web hosting control panel industry and as a Windows hosting customer of Storm Internet, you will be provided with access to Plesk so that you are able to manage your own web hosting account and configure it how you want it to be. Control panels are an integral part of web hosting because without them web hosting providers would be responsible for every aspect of account management, whereas with a control panel system in place most Windows hosting customers are able to manage their account without having to contact their web hosting provider.

Logging In

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 16.45.33 300x164 Using the Plesk Control Panel

Logging into Plesk for the first time is fairly simple. Once your Storm Internet Windows web hosting service has been setup for you, you will receive a welcome email that will contain the link to the Plesk control panel as well as the login details for your web hosting account.

Upon login you will automatically be taken to the Home screen from which you can select the action that you wish to perform:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 16.50.32 300x161 Using the Plesk Control Panel

We will now go through several basic operations that you are likely to wish to perform at some point with your web hosting account and you will see how using Plesk will allow you to streamline the management of your web hosting account.

Creating an Email Account

If you wish to use email with the domain name that you are hosting on your Plesk web hosting account then you will need to setup either email accounts or forwarders depending on how you wish to use this service. For this example we’ll setup an email account.

The first step is to select the ‘Mail Accounts’ icon from the Home screen.

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 16.57.18 Using the Plesk Control Panel

You will then be taken to a page that will provide you with a summary of any existing email accounts that you have already created under your web hosting account and will allow you to perform operations of these email accounts if you wish to do so. In order to proceed with the process of creating an email account you will need to select the ‘Create Mail Account’ icon:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 17.00.001 Using the Plesk Control Panel

You will then be presented with the following form that you will need to fill out in order to create an email account:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 17.00.53 300x174 Using the Plesk Control Panel

The following details will need to be entered:

  • Mail account – this will be the name of the email address you want to create, your domain name will succeed this name meaning that “example” will become [email protected] if you are using the domain name example.com
  • Password – any email account should have a password applied to it to protect the contents of the emails that are received
  • Mailbox – checking this box will ensure that the mail account is treated as a mailbox rather than a forwarder or anything else
  • Mailbox quota – if you don’t have a default quota set then you will need to enter a custom amount in megabytes, it is important to set a quota for every mailbox so that a single mailbox doesn’t end up using up all of your web space.

Once you have filled the form out you can then click the ‘Next’ button for extended configuration options or ‘Finish’ to create the email accounts.

Adding a New DNS Record

If you are an advanced user then you may wish to add additional DNS records to your domain’s DNS file to facilitate the use of other web hosting plans or servers under separate sub-domains on your main domain name. In order to maintain your DNS zone you will first need to select the ‘DNS Settings’ icon from the Home screen:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 19.11.24 Using the Plesk Control Panel

From there you will then be presented with the different DNS entries that form your domain’s DNS zone; these are effectively the backbone of your domain name and will dictate how other servers around the internet direct users to your website and deal with emails that are sent from your domain name. In order to proceed with adding a DNS record simply click the ‘Add Record’ button:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 19.32.55 Using the Plesk Control Panel

You will then need to fill out the following form in order to create your new record:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 19.39.03 300x67 Using the Plesk Control Panel

The following details will need to be entered:

  • Record type – there are different types if DNS record with simple A records being there just to act a pointer that will map a name to an IP address, whereas MX records will dictate where email for your domain name is sent and which servers handle all incoming mail
  • Name – this will be the name that you wish to precede your domain name and will form the subdomain that will become your new DNS record
  • IP address – if you are creating an A record then you will need to map a name to an address, but if you are creating an MX record then you will need to enter a hostname rather than an IP address.

Once you click the ‘Ok’ button your new DNS record will then be created.

Creating an FTP Account

FTP accounts allow you to transfer files between your desktop computer and web space using the File Transfer Protocol, a standard that many file transfer applications are based around. Plesk, like many control panels, provides support for FTP accounts as standard.

In order to begin the process of creating an FTP account through Plesk, you will need to select the ‘FTP Accounts’ icon from the Home screen:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 20.53.20 Using the Plesk Control Panel

You will then be taken to the following summary screen:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 20.53.46 300x86 Using the Plesk Control Panel

In order to create a new account you will need to select the ‘Add New FTP Account’ icon located at the top of the page.

You will then be required to fill out the following form:

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 20.58.29 300x103 Using the Plesk Control Panel

You will need to enter the following details in order to create your FTP account:

  • FTP account name – you will need to enter a username because this will provide you with a unqiue login identify
  • Password – a password will be required to keep your access to your web space secure
  • Home directory – set this option if you want to limit the access that you can have with a particular FTP account to a certain directory rather than having access to your entire web space
  • Permissions – you may wish to create an account that will only be able to browse your web space via FTP, but you do have the choice to add read and write permissions separately as per your needs.

In conclusion, using the Plesk control panel for the first time shouldn’t be daunting because as an application it will enable you to streamline the management of your Windows web hosting account and to make the most of what Windows web hosting has to offer.

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Developing Websites for Windows Web Hosting

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Windows web developers are tasked with the job of creating websites that are specifically for use in a Windows web hosting environment, a task that is fairly specialist because as well as using proprietary technologies they also need to be well versed in the features of the Windows operating system. Developing websites for Windows web hosting requires skill and knowledge of specific applications and scripting languages, as the use of Microsoft applications and ASP.NET is common with Windows web developers and helps to guarantee good results.

ASP.NET Development Tools

13 300x148 Developing Websites for Windows Web Hosting

There are various tools that you can use to develop the ASP.NET scripts needed to form the basis of your website. Some web development applications are simply text editors that are designed for coding only, although a majority are also accompanied by a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that will allow you to develop your web application visually rather than having to rely on code.

One of the most popular applications to use for the development of ASP.NET web applications is Microsoft Visual Studio; the main features of Visual Studio and its free sibling, Microsoft Visual Web Developer, include:

  • A WYSIWYG editor is provided for website developers who may be more comfortable with developing a website visually – all of the necessary code will be created for you in the background
  • A full library of ASP.NET components will be provided so that you can simply drag and drop these into your web scripts as necessary instead of having to code them in yourself, this can save you a fair amount of time.

Another popular cross-platform application recommended for ASP.NET development is Adobe Dreamweaver, as this is also able to provide beginners with assistance with regards to implementing complex code and functions correctly.

Database Management Applications

As a Windows web developer, you have the options of Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server if you are developing a dynamic website that will be running off a backend database. Whereas Microsoft Access is a desktop database application, Microsoft SQL Server is a far more powerful database server that is targeted at websites that require a scalable database solution.

23 300x104 Developing Websites for Windows Web Hosting

The desktop nature of Microsoft Access means that in order to mange a database, you must first download the file from your web space and then open it in Microsoft Access on the desktop. However, Microsoft Access can provide web developers with benefits including:

  • Microsoft Access is fairly cheap to implement because you only need to purchase the application for yourself
  • It is the ideal database solution for small websites and beginners who haven’t developed for Windows web hosting before because the interface is fairly easy to follow and the risk of any issues occurring is minimal.

Microsoft SQL Server is a professional database server meaning that it has advance support for different data types and can be integrated into Windows desktop applications alongside ASP.NET Windows web applications. Microsoft SQL Server databases are manageable through Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio which is a free application available from the Microsoft website, although it is only available for Windows desktop computers. Additional benefits of using Microsoft SQL Server include:

  • A free version of Microsoft SQL Server is available, allowing you to use the application for free when developing small websites
  • The scalability of Microsoft SQL Server provided you with the opportunity to develop web applications that will be able to cope with high visitor numbers as well as spikes in the number of visitors that they receive.

In conclusion, developing websites for a Windows web hosting environment is something that will require the knowledge of at least one Windows compatible scripting language along with at least one database server that will run on Windows and is also compatible with your chosen web scripting language. However, by using ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to develop a website for a Windows web hosting environment, you are guaranteed full compatibility with the operating system and ASP.NET will allow you to tap into additional features of the operating system – this will be something other scripting languages won’t be able to offer.

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Anatomy of Windows Web Hosting

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Windows is the world’s most popular operating system that is used on the desktop and in the server environment. As part of its role in the server environment, Windows is widely used by web hosting companies to produce web hosting plans that offer compatibility with Microsoft applications and technologies. Along with Linux, these two operating systems form the basis of the mainstream web hosting industry in terms of the web hosting plans that are offered and the features that are available.

ASP.NET Web Hosting

12 300x128 Anatomy of Windows Web Hosting

When developing websites that will make the most of the Windows operating system, the best option is to use ASP.NET as this is a scripting framework that has been developed by Microsoft for use exclusively with Windows. ASP.NET’s benefits vary and are limited, but include:

  • You will elevated access to the Windows operating system with additional support offered for developers utilizing the full feature set of ASP.NET as opposed to creating their own controls and components
  • All scripts should simply work with IIS and Windows if they have been developed correctly, without the need for any additional modifications to guarantee full compatibility, as this can be an issue when using certain scripting languages with the Windows operating system.

Microsoft SQL Server Database Hosting

The purpose of a database server such as Microsoft SQL Server is to provide your web pages and scripts with a common location that they can all access to enable them to process the relevant data for display. Databases can be used to store information of all types so that it can be re-used again and again, benefitting websites that rely on information that is submitted by visitors.

22 300x150 Anatomy of Windows Web Hosting

The benefit of using Microsoft SQL Server as your database backend is that it is relatively simple to create a cluster of MSSQL servers that can then be used to serve your content as required. By developing an internal network that can link multiple database servers together, you are creating a fail-proof solution that is also scalable to cope with growing demand on your website.

When compared to MySQL Server, the disadvantage of choosing to use a commercial database hosting alternative such as Micrsoft SQL Server is that you have to pay for the license to use it. The cost of MSSQL Server will depend on the version of the software that you choose to use as well as how many licenses you purchase, but for the most part the cost is justifiable through the means of the reliability provided by a commercial platform and the support that is available for when something goes wrong.

Microsoft Exchange Server Hosting

Businesses looking for corporate email solutions are likely to have Microsoft Exchange Server on their list of solutions to consider. Microsoft Exchange Server is a suite of applications that provides businesses with a central email, calendaring, contact and user management database that can be accessed through various means, although for the most part it is designed for integration with Microsoft Outlook on the desktop.

The main features of Microsoft Exchange Server include:

  • Access to the “Outlook Web Access” web client provides users with access to their email, calendars and contacts on the move through any web browser removing the need for constant use of the Outlook desktop application
  • The application can be hosted either on a single server or can be scaled to include multiple servers, allowing you to tap into resources provided by SANs (storage area networks) as well as those of additional servers through the means of a clustered configuration
  • An Active Directory based user authentication system allows you to provide users with a single login that will provide them with access to not only their emails, but also any Windows desktop computer within your business.

In conclusion, the anatomy of Windows web hosting provides you with an opportunity to experience new technologies include ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to aid you with the development of your website. In addition to being able to develop newer and more functional websites, Windows is also the platform for businesses to use if they are looking to improve internal communications through the means of Microsoft Exchange Server, an application that is available as an optional extra with Windows dedicated servers.

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Plesk Hosting

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Plesk is a popular control panel available for Windows and Linux that allows you to manage your web hosting account with minimal effort, allowing you to focus attention on other factors that they may be more important to the development of your website. Plesk is a premium control panel meaning that it is able to offer you the features that may not necessarily be available with open source control panels and other equivalents; the investment here means that web hosting companies using Plesk are able to provide feature-rich web hosting services that can rival those offered by competitors. Although Plesk is available for Linux, it is more popular with those using Windows web hosting as it can provide you with a more defined level of integration with the Windows operating system than any alternatives. As well as being offered by default by most Windows web hosting companies for their shared hosting companies, Plesk is usually an additional option for those who are using Windows VPS server hosting and Windows dedicated server hosting, but in this case you will need to pay extra for the control panel. A comparison of Plesk hosting against other control panel-based web hosting services identifies that Plesk is able to provide a more stable hosting solution than its competitors.

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Shared Hosting vs. Reseller Hosting

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Shared hosting and reseller hosting services tend to be hosted on the same servers as both use a shared web hosting environment meaning that you will be sharing the resources of the server with other websites that are hosted on the server. Although shared web hosting packages are cheap, it doesn’t subtract from the quality of your web hosting experience and so you should be provided with a web hosting service that will allow you to get good value for money. When considering a reseller hosting package you should take into account the fact that you shouldn’t have high expectations of the reliability and stability of your web hosting service because you are still going to be using the same web hosting environment as a shared web hosting package. A web hosting company capable of offering shared web hosting should also be offering reseller web hosting meaning that you should be upgrade as you require without too much hassle, although this will be dependent on the web hosting platform and control panel that you are using. As with most web hosting services, you will also be able to choose between Linux web hosting and Windows web hosting when purchasing a shared hosting package or a reseller hosting package, ensuring that there is a platform available suitable of meeting your needs.

Benefits of Shared Web Hosting

There are many benefits to using shared web hosting, especially for those who are using web hosting services for the first time as they are easy to manage but are also low cost and low maintenance. Since you won’t have to worry about the maintenance of the server that your shared web hosting account is hosted on, you will be able to focus on managing your web hosting account and setting it up correctly. A shared hosting server will be managed by your web hosting company so that you won’t have to worry about needing any knowledge when it comes to the management of servers and operating systems; however, this does reduce the flexibility of a shared hosting package. The low cost of shared web hosting has to be the biggest attraction for most users because it provides you with an affordable web hosting service that is easy to use; your choice of platform will obviously affect how much you pay as will any additional extras that you have chosen to enhance your web hosting package.

Benefits of Reseller Hosting

Unlike a shared hosting package, a reseller web hosting service will allow you to create your own client accounts that you can then share with others if you are going to be hosting the websites of other people but don’t want to have to be managing them as well. Reseller web hosting services are designed to allow you to offer your own web hosting packages based on the resources that you have available with your chosen web hosting plan; most web hosting companies will provide you with access to a web hosting control panel that will allow you to add your own client accounts as required – your clients will then be able to access their own web hosting account using the assigned username and password. As is the case with shared web hosting, you can purchase Windows reseller hosting packages and Linux reseller hosting packages meaning that if you want to start your own web hosting business, it is easy to offer packages on both platforms. Although some shared web hosting services do allow the hosting of multiple domains, a reseller hosting package provides this feature in a way that is more organised and easier to manage.

Resources

The resources available with a shared web hosting package will be much different to those assigned to a reseller hosting service, simply because a reseller hosting package is typically an upgrade over a shared web hosting package. For the most part a shared web hosting service is to help you get started with web hosting so that you are able to upgrade when needs be without being prevented with too much of a challenge; the resources reflect this idea as you won’t be able to store too much in your web space, but there is enough disk space available to cope with the hosting of small websites. If you require a web hosting package that is hosted in a shared environment that can offer you resources greater than a standard shared web hosting service then a reseller web hosting package will be the way forward for you; even though a reseller package is designed for multiple domain hosting, there is nothing to stop you from hosting one website that you can then assign all of your account’s resources to so that you end up with one account that has a large amount of resources to use.

Support

Any good web hosting company should offer the same level of support for shared web hosting customers and reseller web hosting customers as they are going to be sharing the same servers. As a reseller customer, your web hosting provider may be able to offer support to your customers as well which could be an added advantage as it will remove the need for you to deal with enquiries generated by your customers. As a shared hosting customer you may not always receive a high level of support as shared hosting isn’t always the main focus of all web hosting businesses.

In conclusion, shared web hosting and reseller hosting services both share the same common hosting environment and are aimed at the lower end of the web hosting market rather than the higher end. The cost of shared web hosting makes it attractive to those who are using web hosting for the first time because it means that they have nothing to lose if they find that they require a more powerful web hosting service; the price of a reseller web hosting package will also be attractive for those who may be considering starting their own web hosting business.

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Windows Hosting vs. Linux Hosting

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Windows and Linux are the two most prominent platforms in the web hosting industry and although some web hosting providers specialize in one platform, a vast majority choose to offer Windows and Linux web hosting services. Both platforms offer very different features, although they also share some features meaning that in some cases web applications are able to function on Windows servers as well as Linux servers. Either platform can be applied to any form of web hosting which helps to ensure that whatever your requirements are, you can select the appropriate form of web hosting that will be running the operating system that you require; for example, whilst Windows and Linux shared web hosting services are available, you can choose to have any version of either operating system installed on a dedicated server – both forms of web hosting are at opposite ends of the scale and market. Depending on what you expect of an operating system, it may be a good idea to consider a specialist web hosting company that will allow you to make the most of the operating system’s features; by doing so you will be able to make the most of your website and develop a system that will be able to provide you with a high level of uptime.

In terms of pricing, you are probably going to find Linux hosting to be more suitable for your requirements than Windows web hosting. As Linux is an open source operating system, web hosting providers can charge low prices for their Linux web hosting services as the overheads are rather low – the only cost that they need to consider is their own hosting costs, although in some situations they may be using additional commercial software such as control panel software. Windows on the other hand is a commercial operating system meaning that any Windows web hosting package is going to be slightly more expensive than a Linux web hosting service of a similar specification; however, this shouldn’t put you off using Windows web hosting as Windows has features to offer than Linux will be unable to offer you. The main idea is that the Windows operating system is targeted more at businesses that wish to make use of the enterprise level features that the operating system has to offer, whereas in terms of hosting, Linux is a more consumer-orientated solution.

The technologies that each platform is able to support are the main difference and are usually the factors that can affect the decision on which platform to use. Linux and Windows can both offer a wide variety of similar services; for example, PHP hosting and MySQL hosting are possibilities on both platforms as both technologies are available for Windows servers and Linux servers. However, there are applications and technologies that are also platform dependent meaning that they will work on one operating system, but not the other. A good example of a dependent application would be Microsoft SQL Server as it will only run on the Windows operating system thus meaning that if you wish to use MSSQL databases, you can only choose a Windows web hosting service. There are also applications that are specific to Linux distributions only; i.e. the cPanel control panel, a popular choice of many web hosting companies, will only work with Linux servers.

Both operating systems can also offer different levels of uptime and reliability due to the way in which they function, although you still need to consider that the hardware available will have an affect. Windows servers are usually restarted every time a new application or software update is installed and all of these restarts cost uptime meaning that the downtime can rack up over time; however, any inconvenience here can be avoided by changing the way in which Windows servers are managed. Linux on the other hand is much more forgiving when it comes to software updates and application installs meaning that you won’t usually need to restart the server, thus causing less downtime over all. The hardware available can also be an issue in some situations as low specification servers are always going to be more susceptible to downtime as it won’t take much to overload them; for this reason you should always consider a server that can provide you with slightly larger resource requirements than what you actually require.

In conclusion, Windows hosting services and Linux hosting services both have their own benefits and one of them will suit your requirements depending on what your needs may be exactly. As a business you will want to choose the operating system that can offer you the highest level of uptime in relation to what your needs may be; however, you may need to make some compromises if you have a tight budget that leads you to choosing Linux hosting over Windows hosting.

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Benefits of Windows Web Hosting

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The alternative to Linux web hosting is Windows web hosting, although Windows web hosting services are generally more expensive than Linux web hosting services due to the commercial nature of the Windows operating system. Windows hosting services are aimed at businesses that have larger web hosting budgets and have a specific need for Windows web hosting as a majority of the features of Linux web hosting services, such as support for PHP and MySQL, are available on most Windows web hosting servers. Microsoft offers a wide range of server-specific applications that are only compatible with Windows servers that are targeted at larger businesses meaning that if you wish to make use of one of these applications, you won’t really have any choice but to consider a Windows hosting server for your requirements. Windows web hosting services are ideal for the hosting of websites that have been developed using classic ASP and ASP.NET; these two scripting frameworks have also been developed by Microsoft meaning that if you wish to use either then you will only be able to consider Windows web hosting for your requirements as your web pages and scripts won’t function correctly on any other web hosting platform.

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most scalable database hosting platforms available and is used by a large number of companies to help power both their internal infrastructures as well as their websites. As a database server it is only compatible with Windows servers meaning that if you wish to create a highly scalable website using Microsoft SQL Server, Windows web hosting is going to be your only choice. However, this can be a benefit to using Windows web hosting as Microsoft SQL Server is capable of coping with high loads and load spikes very well meaning that it is ideal for use in a situation where your website receives a large amount of traffic.

If you wish to use a database system that isn’t as complicated as Microsoft SQL Server but can still offer you a good number of features then Microsoft Access is probably going to be the right database application for you. Unlike Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access is a desktop database application meaning that you will need to purchase the desktop application in order to be able to create and manage Microsoft Access databases. Databases created using Microsoft Access should only really be used in situations where there isn’t the need for a scalable database hosting configuration meaning that you should only use Microsoft Access with smaller websites.

The support for classic ASP and ASP.NET is another benefit of using Windows web hosting as it means that you will be able to make the most of what the Windows operating system has to offer to Windows web developers. Although the ASP.NET framework is the only one of the two that is still actively maintained, classic ASP is still used by a large number of web developers for certain purposes meaning that it is important to retain Windows web hosting services that can offer support for classic ASP and ASP.NET web pages and scripts. However, it should still be noted that additional scripting languages can be used on Windows web hosting services including PHP and Ruby.

If you choose to use Windows server hosting, including Windows VPS server hosting and Windows dedicated server hosting, then you will be able to choose from a wide variety of server-specific corporate Microsoft applications that will be able to enhance your business. Such applications include:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server – this is the enterprise collaboration system offered by Microsoft to allow businesses to streamline how their employees communicate with each other and to provide employees with a better way of managing themselves – in order for Microsoft Exchange Server to function you will need to have your own Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server, although if you are a larger business then you may wish to consider a cluster of servers as the answer to your requirements since by doing so you will be able to create a high-availability and scalable email hosting system for your employees
  • Hyper-V – if you are going to be using the latest version of Windows, Windows Server 2008, then you may wish to make use of Hyper-V to create a virtualized hosting environment – virtualization is an important step is making your IT operations more streamlined and cost effective as it will reduce the amount of hardware you will require by consolidating a number of servers into virtual machines on a single server and is becoming common place with larger businesses that want to cut down their spending.

Microsoft’s server-specific software products are targeted at larger companies that are not only able to afford them but can also justify the hardware requirements that are needed to ensure that the software is able to perform properly.

Windows web hosting services are also some of the most up-to-date available with Windows Server 2008 offering you some of the latest and best features available in the web hosting industry. Windows Server 2008 bought with it IIS 7 which is the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s hugely popular web server product; similarly, new features were also introduced such as Hyper-V which allows for the creation of virtual machines of any platform for use on Windows servers.

In conclusion, Windows web hosting services are able to benefit many businesses that have a specific need for Windows web hosting through the means of the applications and services that are classed as being only available for Windows. When choosing a Windows web hosting service you may at first be put off by the costs associated with them, but although Windows web hosting may be slightly more expensive you will find it to be worth it in the long term if you have a specific need for Windows web hosting. If you are unable to justify the cost of Windows web hosting then the only other option that you will have is to change how you work so that a Linux web hosting package can accommodate your needs.

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