Web content management is key in making sure that your business not only presents the most polished, effective Web presence to the public, but that it also has a functional intranet system as well, one that lets you share documents, manage portals and easily collaborate on large projects. One key tool used by those running a Windows server environment is SharePoint, which allows you to access a broad variety of features and can replace multiple Web applications for your company. While often hosted on a shared Web server, many companies are now finding it useful to move their SharePoint hosting to a Windows VPS environment for maximum benefits.
Released in 2001, Microsoft’s SharePoint is a Web application platform that is meant to centralize your Web development and content management needs, instead of requiring multiple systems to perform the same job. The “SharePoint Wheel” is used by Microsoft’s marketers to describe the functionality offered by the program, and includes abilities such as site provisioning with no prior knowledge, central content storage, and a robust search functionality. The SharePoint platform is updated frequently, and the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or SharePoint Foundations 2010 version of the application is available for free with a Windows Server license. SharePoint is also part of the cloud hosting initiative Microsoft is currently involved in, and is a part of Microsoft’s Business Productivity products and Microsoft Office 365. It is also possible to use SharePoint as a Web development application, in addition to managing content on your website, as well as to add customized “Web parts” such as portlets, widgets and gadgets to your site.
Standard SharePoint Installations
The most basic way to use SharePoint is as part of a shared server. SharePoint is able to support multiple organizations in a “server farm” environment, and if your CMS needs are minimal, or you have little need for document sharing or collaboration, this can be a viable way to access SharePoint’s functionality without having to spend too much. As an Intranet portal, this platform is extremely versatile, and a shared Web hosting option is an excellent way to get the feel for SharePoint and what it can do for your business. If, however, you find yourself in need of a more robust Web presence or have a specific goal in mind – for example the development of custom web-parts and applications using the .NET framework – you may wish to consider upgrading to a SharePoint VPS.
Benefits of a Basic SharePoint VPS
A SharePoint Services VPS offers a number of benefits over a shared hosting solution, starting with the amount of resources that you will be allocated from your provider. In the case of a VPS hosting solution, you can choose the amount of hard drive space and RAM you would like, and can then install whatever set of applications you prefer. For example, 4 GB of RAM is recommended for any developer installation of SharePoint, something a shared web host will not be able to offer.
A VPS provides a clean space to install a version of SharePoint, which means it can function without the possibility of interference from other programs. In addition, you will be able to have a greater number of users collaborate on a project at one time without being limited to the lower bandwidth constraints of a shared server. It is also important to consider that a VPS can provide enhanced privacy and security for critical applications that you are developing. As a portion of larger server, your slice of a VPS will act as though it is completely independent from other users on the server, and security will be provided by the hosting company in the form of a 24/7 monitored service, helping to ensure that no unauthorized access is made to your files or any of your SharePoint documents or Web pages. Add to this the ability to upgrade your SharePoint VPS for more space or memory as required and on the fly and a Windows SharePoint VPS can offer a large number of advantages if you are looking to develop apps, collaborate on projects or index a large amount of material.
Shared Web Hosting for SharePoint is an excellent way to take advantage of the basic functionality of this Microsoft program at a minimal cost. If you need to move into the arena of development or extensive collaboration, however, a SharePoint VPS hosting solution may provide the best benefit for your cost.