Choosing a Windows Web Host Is Difficult - It's A Jungle Out There

UPDATE: I added 2 more hosts to my short list

A friend of mine is looking for a host for his website. His website is old school, with a bit of original ASP and, now, SQL Server 2005 (it was....gasp....SQL 7 until I converted it).

Anyway, his requirements are light. Not a lot of traffic. Not a lot of size needs (e.g., the database is < 100 MB). But given there is a data need for inventory management and entry, I need to be diligent on helping him choosing the proper host.

I think for my friend, a shared host will work just fine. Other than the possible security benefits and control, I cannot justify the cost of going VPS (and certainly not dedicated).

But it is a jungle out there trying to choose the best web host. Trust me, I had a lot of heartache choosing my current host.

How do you know which one to choose? Reputation is actually my number one factor, even over cost (well, to be fair, I know when the cost is outrageous). The problem comes when there are multiple companies with good reputations. Then how do you pick?

Here is my short list of possible hosts:

I actually have put one of those ahead of the other 5, and am planning to try them out. I won't say yet who that is because I want to give them a whirl first.

But, I would appreciate any recommendations from you on who to choose or avoid, especially from my list above. Anecdotal evidence would be most welcomed. First hand accounts are the best aides to decision making.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance


Microsoft Shares Source Code to the .NET Framework

I saw this on Scott Guthrie's blog yesterday (I must have had a brain freeze for leaving him off my blogroll): Releasing the Source Code for the .NET Framework Libraries

This is good to see. And this is great news for software developers. For this post, let's leave out the obvious technical reasons as to why this is a good idea for .NET software developers. Releasing the .NET Framework source in and of itself is to me, maybe surprisingly, really not the biggest news. We have been able to "view" the source code for a while now (thanks Lutz!) -- although, being able to "step" into the .NET Framework code in the debugger is huge!

Let's instead focus on the business perception reasons. Microsoft has been slammed by many a person for being the 800 pound gorilla, an opportunistic monopoly, the evil empire, the company that pretends to care about software developers but doesn't, <insert your Microsoft slam here>. Many of these come from the open source community. While Microsoft isn't releasing the source to Windows or Office to the world, the .NET Framework is hardly a flash in the pan. I mean, they are integrating the .NET Framework and all of its siblings and underpinnings into many cash cows, including Windows. With this release, Microsoft is taking a huge step to fully understanding the importance of the software development community. I see this as just one of many steps that Microsoft is going to take in the future to make it real easy to have software developers target .NET, Windows and/or Microsoft technologies in their development --- one semi-bold prognostication I have (and others do too) is the *full* .NET Framework on the Mac, not just via Silverlight.

This alone won't change many of the "gorilla" perceptions that people think about Microsoft, but it's all about baby steps, and I think the baby is beginning to at least toddle around now.

Oh, and to those that think the licensing is bad....it's nothing that isn't expected. All it is really saying in a nutshell is that you can view the source code but can't modify it. That is perfectly reasonable. Microsoft is not a purely open source company, and won't be, so this licensing allows exactly what the intention of the announcement is -- for you to view the source code during your development process.