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Redesigning Reality with Microsoft WebsiteSpark

by Graham Huber on November 18, 2009

Microsoft Website SparkWhen James Joyce inadvertently named a fundamental constituent of quantum physics 24 years before its discovery, he probably wasn’t considering the impact of his prose on the future abstractions of theoretical reality. Or maybe he was.

Fortunately, scholars of the future will surely be less conflicted about Microsoft’s latest offer for your web development business. Listen up, Muster Mark, because this may just be the Spark you’ve been waiting for.

If you felt your fledgling web development team was missing out last year when Microsoft launched BizSpark to help new start-ups (or its complement program DreamSpark, for students), we’ve got some good news for you: Microsoft has just launched WebsiteSpark, a new flavor of their innovative assistance programs for the precariously-funded.

Conceived with web developers and designers in mind, Microsoft’s WebsiteSpark program will empower your company with the necessary tools and support you need to succeed with your business, at no cost to you upfront.

Microsoft’s goal is to provide professional tools and services to your small business free from the financial burden that might normally prevent you from employing these top-end offerings. Microsoft will front the cost of offering you the full power of its tools to help your business. For real!

While it may be hard to believe in recent times that some corporations are still out to do some good, WebsiteSpark is a savvy move for a company facing competitive heat with an earnest motivation to support your business. With Microsoft on your side, this offer is a compelling deal.

Let’s look at what you get.

Website Development Solutions

wwwFor the design and development of websites, you’ll get up to three user licenses (plus the full, unrestricted software for download, of course) for:

  • Visual Studio Professional
  • Expression Studio 3 (1 user)
  • Expression Web 3 (up to 2 users)

So far, so good. What else?

Server Solutions

Here’s what’s on the table for you to deploy your own server and hosted solutions:

  • Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2008 Web Edition

The Website Spark program grants you licensing for up to four processors on a dedicated or virtual server.

Of course, you’ll need an actual server to host, which is normally prohibitively expensive to set up and maintain. As a Web Professional, your strength is probably in designing and developing websites, not in managing servers.

Fortunately, with the WebsiteSpark program you can get up to 3 years of Virtual Dedicated hosting that is fully maintained for you, with all the latest updates and security patches. This allows you to focus on what you do best, without the worry and hassle of maintaining your server.

Support and Developer Networks

To sweeten the pot even more, Microsoft has also bundled the program with unlimited access to its support and development networks.

For the duration of the program, you’ll receive access to online training and managed support newsgroups via MSDN {}, boasting an active community of over six million registered participants.

Promotion of your business services to new clients and customers in Microsoft’s Marketplace and Partner Solution Profiler, a Microsoft Partner Network resource linked with searches for technology experts via

You’ll also have the opportunity to develop connections through Microsoft’s Network Partners and Hosted Partners, which Microsoft describes as “an entire ecosystem that can provide a wide range of technical and business resources for every Web professional need”.

Break something? If you run into trouble, Microsoft will be there to help, with two professional “get-of-jail-free” support incidents that grant you an emergency bail-out with live real-time assistance when you need it most.

But wait, aren’t all those “free couch” offers really just a delayed interest scam?

It’s true that you pay nothing for all this goodness upfront for up to three years, while reaping all the benefits of Microsoft’s development tools, platform technology, and server products — not to mention unlimited access to Microsoft’s extensive technical support teams and affiliate networks.

So what’s the catch?

Upon graduation from the program, you agree to pay a one-time $100 fee for participation in the program. But that’s it. Really.

Yes, but what’s the real catch?

None. Just $100, at the end of the program. Other than that, all this is yours for nada.

Thank a competitive free market, kids. This offer really is a fantastic solution for qualifying developers. If there’s a catch besides the modest exit fee, it’s that your business must first qualify.

In order to eligible for the WebsiteSpark program, your business must:

  • Have fewer than 10 employees.
  • Build websites for others.
  • Launch a new site within 6 months of using the program (to continue eligibility).

(If you’re building your own website, your business is probably considered a startup, and might be better suited for Microsoft’s BizSpark {} )

I’m sold, where do I sign?

First, you should sign up as a Web Professional for the Microsoft WebsiteSpark program.

Once you are registered with WebsiteSpark, you should speak with a representative at to see how your sites can be deployed on your own Virtual Server Hosting account. I hear they are just waiting to hear from you!

Related posts:

  1. Virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V
  2. Microsoft WebMatrix & Hyper-V VPS: The Perfect Pair
  3. offers a great range of Microsoft SQL Hosting Plans including a Free Starter Plan!
  4. Microsoft SQL 2008 Beta
  5. Microsoft TechEd 2010: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tips & Tricks


JustCurious March 16, 2010 at 3:07 AM

I’m not sure they did much different with their newest version.

Rusher February 9, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I didn’t realize James Joyce coined the word “quark.” Another reason to be impressed by him.

WrigleyF May 25, 2011 at 7:56 AM

A one-time-only fee can hardly be described as a catch!

PotsNPans July 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

The competitive free market works another wonder!

silkysmooth August 31, 2011 at 7:48 AM

hey, if microsoft wants to front any of our business costs for us, far be it for me to ask any questions.

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