Finding a Cheap Asp.Net Host for Web Hosting

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Well I’ve been looking at various Asp.Net hosting plans that past few weeks. I never realized just how many cheap asp.net web hosting solutions there where out on the net. Needless to say I have been spending a lot of times on these various Asp.Net Hosting company’s web sites and I’m now more confused than when I started. I’m not going to mention any direct names as I’m sure most of these hosting companies offer good solutions.

The problem I have is its hard to decide. The hosting company I am currently on is very good, but I want to launch a new site for my wife so I want something that gives decent performance for DotNetNuke applications and I would also like to install a copy of community server in another site. So I definitely need a MSSQL server enabled account with the ability to host multiple domains. This is not always easy to find at an affordable price. I need to keep the cost cheap since these are pretty much hobby type sites and I only try to earn enough to pay the hosting fees with the advertising on the sites. I don’t think my wife is going to let me put any advertising on her site so I need something that won’t break the bank.

I’ve also found several cheap asp.net dedicated hosting plans that I may consider, but I will need to generate a lot more traffic before this is feasible. There are a lot of companies which offer various asp.net hosting web solutions using a dedicated hosting or virtual private server, but most of these only allow one MSSQL database per account. This does not really work if I want multiple applications running in the same asp.net hosting account. So I guess I’m stuck with a shared hosting solution until I can build up enough traffic to pay for my own dedicated host that offers multiple MSSQL databases. The problem here is most are not a cheap hosting solution and I really don’t want to get into paying a lot of money ever month for hosting these hobby sites. Well the search continues.

DotNetNuke versus Sharepoint Portal

I ran across a blog post today that I can’t believe I have missed Bil Simser put together a fairly decent comparison between the functionality of DotNetNuke and Sharepoint. While Bil points out that both have their own strengths and weaknesses it would seem that DNN came out on top in most areas. Really the only section where DotNetNuke lost out is in the area of Office integration. I’ve been playing a little with SharePoint Services for a couple of weeks now and I totally agree with him on this point as the Office integration is very useful and pretty well thought out in SharePoint. In DNN it is just not there. I have not even seen a third party module or private assembly that provides this functionality although that does not mean one does not exist as I’m constantly finding new modules for DNN that I did not know about previously.

The one point I would make is there just does not seem to be a lot of resources out there for SharePoint either in the web part area or in themes. As someone who jsut recently started looking at SharePoint I have found the examples out on the web lacking. I can find quite a bit of information from vendors who will sell me a webpart but good documentation with examples of how to create one does not seem to be around. Now this may be that I have not just asked Google the correct question yet, but I still have not found a lot of info on how to program webparts.

Overall, Bil did a great job here and while he may have gotten a little of the history wrong his comparison is solid. You can read it for yourself at  http://weblogs.asp.net/bsimser/archive/2006/01/31/437023.aspx

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DotNetNuke Opinions

I get asked a lot about my opinion on DotNetNuke as a Content Management System. Overall I think DotNetNuke is a pretty good application, but I would not really refer to it as a content management system. I see these systems as having some workflow logic that will allow a company to create web prescience that will allow them to grow the business in a productive way. DotNetNuke can provide some of this and as a way to set up a quick and dirty web site its great. DotNetNuke can also allow you to become your own web host and do DotNetNuke Hosting, but it does not natively have workflow capabilities built into the system.

There are some modules out there Like Content Builder or Enterprise forms that provide some of this capability, but its not built into the system, so any module you may utilize is not going to give you true ability to have an approval process for your content. This is very important for most organizations as there are usually different departments that are involved with publishing new content to the web.

A few years ago it was mainly up to the webmaster and developers as to what went on the web, but now that is a lot different. The web has now been seen as a money maker and a lot of businesses only earn revenue through their web prescience. Even if the company is not attempting to produce revenue form the web, they do use their web prescience to create branding. I’ve heard of companies that advertise on web sites where they never expect to recoup the advertising costs through sales, but they consider getting their name out on sites that may entice the type of individuals that are in their market segment to just see their branding logos and possibly will remember the brand later.

I personally think this trend will continue and more and more advertising dollars will find its way onto the web. This will especially become important as Web 2.0 becomes more prevalent. As Ajax and more interactive web applications become the norm on the web, it is going to be increasingly difficult for companies to draw traffic, especially for content type sites as their will be a lot more competition for the visitors to continually return to sites. As this trend continues then workflow will become more important for a wider range of web sites.

Soon being able to effectively divide the work between the members of your various employees will be needed for a lot of web sites which is not really needed now. I think this is even important for the individual web master who is just trying to meek out a meager existence on the web. Being able to effectively lay out your workflow and manage the content on your site is very important since most individual web site owners only work their sites on a part time basis. Being able to produce content and deliver that content in a controlled way helps these webmasters effectively use their limited time and to still produce quality content. This will keep the web masters interested and hopefully earning a little money which will entice them to keep creating content. I personally enjoy reading content from these little websites more than I do from the conglomerates. After all the little guy gives honest opinions and usually does not have another agenda to push. That way you get other views than you may just get from a vendor about how particular product may perform.

My opinion is that DotNetNuke should implement this as soon as possible. I think workflow is on the roadmap for DNN and I’m sure once that happens then the solution will be a jam up solution. I’m ready for this feature and seeing DotNetNuke become a true Content Management System and become another reason for people to implement this premier Asp.Net open source application.