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The qualities of the Best DotNetNuke Hosting Provider

As DotNetNuke gains in popularity, the number of hosts that can support this framework has become astronomical. The field of choice is dizzying and one can easily get lost trying to pick the perfect host.

For many years now, I have been a DotNetNuke professional, I have heard all kinds of stories and come across all types of hosts, the super helpful, the DNN all knowing gods, the cheap, the reliable, the “down all the time”, the “there is a fee for that”, etc… There are many different qualities a DotNetNuke user should look for in a host and it is possible to find a host that suits the requirements of a DNN without having to spend an arm and leg.

What makes a good DotNetNuke Host?

Well let’s look at the requirements. DotNetNuke will only run on a Windows/IIS environment as it requires the ASP.NET framework. There are a number of hosts that offer mixed Linux/Windows hosting however a host that offers both types of plans will usually have more experience with Linux than Windows and the applications that run on it.

A more focused – Microsoft only offering is therefore preferable. Companies with proven track records using and deploying Microsoft technologies will ensure performance, reliability and security for DotNetNuke web sites.

Secondly, DNN calls for a SQL backend database. Most hosts will include at least one database in their plans, however not all SQL hosting is created equal. Hosts should offer at least SQL 2005 in their plans, the SQL servers should be dedicated and use properly selected hardware for a database server.

A common misconception is that DNN requires large amounts of SQL disk space, I have run all types of DNNs, and unless I am storing large images, videos and other large items in the database, its size will be minimal, usually under 100MB. The most common reason for unusually large databases is that the database has a setting called “recovery model” set to “Full”. In most cases this setting is not needed and changing it to “simple” will greatly reduce disk space usage.

The next requirement is disk space and bandwidth. These requirements should be estimated but they will fluctuate. Considering what type of DotNetNuke is being designed should help anticipate these resource needs. For example, a portal designed for a media business might need to publish high res images, video presentations, etc… hence the requirement for disk space and bandwidth would be much greater than for a simple informational DNN.

Luckily most hosts allow upgrades/downgrades of these resources. Plan flexibility is therefore essential and a host should allow disk space and bandwidth upgrades/downgrades as well as plan changes without charging fees or forcing account moves.

Do I have to worry about support? The simple answer is yes. Although DNN is easy to use due to its modular structure and the fact that no programming skills are needed to operate one, a knowledgeable support staff is essential.

How can one determine if the DotNetNuke hosting support staff is any good?

Get an account! No, the blurb on the Web Site indicating how great the support team is, isn’t evidence. Most hosts these days offer money back guarantees, allowing customers to test the features and support. A simple way to test support would to “break” a DNN installation (more on how to break a DNN later…). Even the best support department can’t have the answer to every issue that will arise with a DNN, however how they handle the problem, the advice provided, how far they will go to help and how quickly should be a strong indicator of what to expect in a production scenario.

Hosts should also offer nightly backups of all services provided as well a providing customers a method to perform their own backups, this is especially important with DNN as sometimes a simple change can result in catastrophic results and the only way to repair may be a restore of a backup.

Ultimately, things like uptime, additional features, performance will usually vary based on how much the DotNetNuke Hosting plan costs. The value you put on a DotNetNuke web site should correlate with the sum of money spent for DNN Hosting.

What Is DotNetNuke?

, affectionately known as DNN, is an open source (VB.NET), ASP.NET-based, content management system used to create easy-to-use, updatable, customizable, and secure content management portals for Internet and intranet use.

DotNetNuke is quickly becoming the open source industry standard for scalable portal deployments on the Microsoft platform. The exponential growth ( over 450,000 registered users ) is a testament to the fact that the application satisfies the broadest set of customer requirements and has the most innovative and committed management team. DotNetNuke's capabilities have been driven by community feedback and market demand.

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DotNetNuke provides automated content management capabilities and tools to maintain a dynamic and 100% interactive data-driven web site.