Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

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

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
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
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, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...