Free Windows host – freeasphost.net

If you are just dipping your feet in .NET or if you are on an extreme budget you can get free .NET 3.5 hosting from freeASPhost.net. You get .NET 3.5 200MB of storage and 2000MB of transfer. You get a MySQL DB but not MS SQL (which excludes the use of most .NET starter kits.) To get a MS SQL DB you will need an upgrade or a different hosting provider. Free Windows hosts are pretty rare given the cost of Microsoft products. If your needs are modest it might be the host for you.
[ad#post-banner]

Recommended Web Hosts for Starter Kits

I am only going to speak from personal experience here but the two best hosts for asp.net that I have used are discountasp.net and ultimahosts.net.  I currently have all of my sites over at ultimahosts.net because they were a better value for me.  As an additional bonus ultimahosts.net will instantly set you up with a free trial account so you can make sure they work for you before you commit to a hosting plan. While quite inexpensive, I had nothing but problems with 1and1.com and godaddy.com and the price discount was not worth the headache.  That being said if anyone has had good success with either one of those hosts or any other host for that matter please chime in with your thoughts.�

How to Get Your Starter Kit Launched on a Web Host

The most common problem for the novice Starter Kit user is moving their site from their personal computer to their web host.

A common stumbling block is the database configuration.  When you run the StarterKit on your personal computer a database file is created in the App_Data folder of your site and everything works fine. When you move the site to your web host this database will not work for you.  You are going to have to copy the information from the database on your personal computer and replicate it to your Web hosts SQL Server Database either through a backup and restore proceedure (which is the way I like to do it) or through running a script against the hosted database.  Check out the steps below for the details.

I am assuming you have your site up and running just fine on your local machine and here are the steps to move to a hosted environment.

Basic Steps:

1) Get a web hosting account.  You already have one you say?  Great, but all web hosts are not created equal.  Not to knock anyone in particular too much but some of the large (and inexpensive) web hosts (godaddy, 1and1, etc.) make it a challenging to get your starter kit to work.  In particular, some starter kits such as CSK and Club Starter Kit 2.0 among others require that you have a full trust rather than a medium or partial trust environment on your Web host.  This is not going to be something that you can change – either your host provides it or they do not.  There are several hosts that specialize in .NET hosting (such as discountasp.net, Ultimahosts.net among many more) and they will make your life much easier when you want to go live with your web site.  It is up to you but you may be able to save yourself a lot of time and anguish by researching which web hosts work well with your particular Starter Kit.  In addition, many of the hosts that specialize in .NET hosting have an option in their control panel where they will automatically install a blank Starter Kit into your hosted space.  Now this is not going to help you if you have already customized your Starter Kit locally but if you are just now getting started there is no easier way to get live on the Internet.

2) Create a blank SQL 2005 database on your Web Host.  The exact steps to do this are going to vary by Web Host by will be accomplished from your online control panel.  Be sure to write down the name of the database you created.

3) Create a user for that database on your Web Host.  Again the exact steps are going to vary but it will be accomplished through your control panel and you will need to write down the user name and password you created.

[Read more...]