Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Choosing a ColdFusion Web Host

Choosing a ColdFusion Web Host

So you need a ColdFusion Web host. Typically, your first question would be: "Who do I choose?" More important, I believe, is the question: "Why am I choosing?" This statement may not seem relevant until you look at the "whys" of choosing a ColdFusion Web host.

There are many things to consider. What type of site will you need hosting for? Will your focus be mainly business or personal? Are you launching an e-commerce or online store? Maybe even a corporate presence site? What are your predictions for visitor traffic? What features will you need to successfully deploy your site? These are just the basic things to consider. So let's start at the top of my "why" list.

ColdFusion Version
Existing sites may depend on a certain version of ColdFusion Application Server. There have been many changes to existing tags as well as added features between ColdFusion 4 and ColdFusion 4.5. If your site has been coded for ColdFusion 4, you may have to make code changes (depending on which tags you use) if you choose a host that offers only ColdFusion 4.5. You can view the complete list of new features at ftp://ftp.allaire.com/kbftp/Cold-Fusion/new.htm. In addition to the tag and feature changes, there's a difference in the way ColdFusion 4 and ColdFusion 4.5 use server resources. Occasionally a site that ran fine on ColdFusion 4 will consume more resources on ColdFusion 4.5. If you haven't developed your site yet, compare the differences in ColdFusion 4 and ColdFusion 4.5 to see which is right for you. Note that ColdFusion Application Server 4 is no longer offered by Allaire, and therefore Allaire support may be limited.

Database Needs
There have been many great articles in ColdFusion Developer's Jour- nal and other resources about choosing a database, so I won't venture into that territory. Whichever database you've chosen, your host must offer it and be fairly knowledgeable in supporting it. Along with the choice of database comes the choice of version. Bear in mind that with the release of a new version of a product, support for the previous version becomes limited or obsolete. If a problem arises with the database at your web host and they can't get support for the product, you may face making this decision all over again. That can lead to extended downtime and/or more expense.

ColdFusion Functionality and Custom Tags
Will your site need the use of CFFile, CFDirectory, CFContent, or some of the other "high risk" yet powerful tags in ColdFusion? Many shared hosting providers don't offer the use of these tags as they present a security risk on the server. Suppose a user decides to use the tag CFFile to locate, then delete, important files from the server? Disaster! Also, consider whether your site will use any custom tags. Although you can use any .cfm custom tag by placing it in the directory that will be calling it, there are many useful and timesaving CFX custom tags available. A CFX tag is a Windows component (.dll), which must be registered in the ColdFusion Ad-ministrator before use. If either of these features is important to your site, you'll need a host that will provide them.

Server Platform
Along with the above considerations, the server platform is especially relevant for an existing site. Which platform you choose depends on your personal choice, whether your site is already developed or you'll be developing it from scratch, and the database you plan to use. The ColdFusion Application Server software has been tested with several platforms: Windows (NT or 2000), HP-UX, Linux, and Solaris.

Pricing
Pricing will affect your decision depending on your budget, the features you want/need, and the hosts you investigate. Some hosts offer rock-bottom pricing because their plans and/or resources are rock bottom (i.e., low dollars for low features). Does the host offer a variety of plans? What bandwidth do they offer? What are the transfer limits and disk space allowed? If you have more than one domain, will you need additional accounts? Do they have a money-back guarantee? How much do they charge for setup fees? What type of payments do they accept (ACH check draft, invoice, credit card)? Do they offer discounts for prepaid lengths, such as three, six, or 12 months? These are all options you must weigh depending on your situation.

DataCenter/Server Room Specifics
When choosing a host, an important consideration is the equipment they use and the environment in which it's kept. Many larger hosts utilize a data center, where the servers can be kept in a building separate from the offices. Some hosts use an isolated area commonly referred to as a server room. If your site is mainly for fun, the following points may not be as important. But if your site is mission-critical, say, an e-commerce site your business depends on, then the answers to the following questions should weigh heavily in your decision.

Questions to ask about their data center/server room can include the following:

  • What types or brands of servers are they using?
  • Are environmental controls in place, such as temperature control, static reduction, and moisture elimination?
  • What fire prevention/suppression plans do they have?
  • How do they handle power failures?
  • What type of physical access security do they have in place?
  • How often are backups performed?
  • What is their overall disaster recovery plan?
Support
Another factor in your decision concerns support. What type of support are you mainly concerned with? E-mail? Telephone? Live chat? Will you need support after business hours or on the weekends? What type of support does your prospective host offer? Do they have a toll-free telephone number? How long is their average response time? Are customers given honest, easy-to-understand explanations if there's a problem? What level of knowledge does the host require of the support team? As with each of these choices, individual needs will be your deciding factor.

E-Mail
When you think of e-mail choices, you must think beyond your current needs. E-mail can be an ever-growing part of your application. Does your prospective host offer your own domain e-mail addresses? Will you need mailing lists or auto responders? How about a catchall or default account? Does your prospective host offer a web-based administrative interface? Will you be able to easily create additional e-mail accounts, aliases, or forwards? What brand of e-mail server software are they offering?

Other Application Needs
In addition to ColdFusion, do you have other application needs? Do you plan on using ASP, CGI, Perl, or even PHP? If you'd like to use any Java-based applications, your host must be able to support those as well.

SSL/E-Commerce
If your application does any type of credit card information gathering or processing, you'll need a secure connection. That's where SSL (Secured Socket Layer) comes in. This protocol encrypts the information from the browser to the web server and back. Without this security in place, you may lose a substantial amount of business due to concerns about credit card fraud. If you need SSL you can purchase your own certificate, which is usually linked to your domain name. Some providers offer a shared SSL certificate. Basically this is a certificate that was purchased by the host for all users on the server to use if they desire. There can be differences between a shared SSL and a domain-specific SSL in your site's secure url.

Now that we've gone over many of the "why" questions, let's talk a little about the "who." When you've gathered the answers to your "why" questions, you'll then have a list of prospective "whos." When comparing each host, you should research the following info as well.

Experience
How long has the host been in business? How many users do they have? Do they have any testimonials available? Do you know anyone who's currently hosting with them? If so, what has their experience been? Search through the different Web host rating sites for comments about the prospective host, such as superiorhosts.com, hostindex.com, webhostdir.com, tophosts.com, or any of the many host review sites. Also take into consideration any partnerships or alliances they have with software producers, such as Allaire, Microsoft, Compaq, Cisco, or Sun. These partnerships/alliances can keep a host well informed about the products they offer and can usually ensure they have adequate product support if they need it.

Now that you have a good list of questions to consider when choosing a host, the next step is to compare the features you need, the questions you have, and the plans each host has to offer. This may seem like a daunting task and you may feel pressured to "just choose one." Remember that if your business or your client's business depends on the site, you must choose carefully. Taking the extra time before making a choice can save you time, money, and frustration down the line.

More Stories By Stephenie Hamilton

Stephenie Hamilton is the senior ColdFusion administrator for CFXHosting. She has been involved in the development of an advanced shared hosting environment that allows access to the ColdFusion Administrator and many other features not found in a typical shared environment.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...