How to Select Excellent FrontPage Web Hosting
If you're like many internet users, you likely installed Microsoft Office and became enticed by the productivity suite's web design application. FrontPage, as it is known, is a great way to design and build websites without having great technical knowledge or a deep understanding of how internet programming languages work. However, designing a website with FrontPage means that your host must have "FrontPage extensions" support on their server if everything is to upload correctly and display properly.
When considering a new web host to work with your FrontPage design, there are several things to keep in mind.
Current FrontPage Extension Versions
FrontPage extensions are a proprietary Microsoft technology that links FrontPage to web hosting servers and ensures that users can automatically upload their web page designs right from the application itself, rather than interfacing with the sometimes confusing array of FTP file transfer programs that can cloud the process and confuse most basic users.
However, like most Microsoft technologies, FrontPage extensions come in several versions that line up with releases of the actual Microsoft Office suite of applications. Therefore, when you're looking for a web hosting plan that supports this technology, you will want to verify the version of FrontPage extensions that they offer. Typically, that means you'll be looking for FrontPage 2000 or 2002 extensions, as earlier versions are generally not supported and the technology has not been developed since the early 2000s.
The web host's support of this feature should be advertised in the general hosting comparison list on its website -- where it also addresses support for things like PHP, Perl, MySQL, and Fantastico applications. If it isn't listed, you can certainly inquire as to whether not it is supported -- but many hosts who leave it out of their feature list do so deliberately.
FrontPage Security Issues
Some hosts have opted to drop support for this technology which is more than nine years old in its latest iteration. That's because the combination of http protocol file transfers and a CGI-based backend technology led to numerous security flaws that compromised web servers and allowed malicious hackers to take over websites and entire dedicated servers with the technology installed.
These issues have largely been addressed by Microsoft in updates to both the FrontPage extensions implementation as well as the FrontPage software. Those fixes, however, have not allayed concerns that the technology poses a risk to web hosting operators; many hosts have simply decided to lower their risk of exposure to malicious hacking attempts, and have removed the technology.
Other Aspects of Front Page Webhosting
As is always the case with web hosting, it's important to make sure that your prospective host supports the other technologies that power your website as well. That means you'll want to check on their supported versions of things like PHP, MySQL, and Perl. Microsoft FrontPage users might be more exposed to Windows-based servers, so they'll want to make sure that technologies like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL are supported.
While not widely used by FrontPage users themselves, some parts of the FrontPage extension architecture do plug into other Microsoft technologies in more advanced applications. It's good to pair Microsoft website development software with the full range of Microsoft-based server architecture for the widest range of features and available compatibility with everything the company offers its internet-inclined customer base.
If the security risks of using Microsoft's proprietary FrontPage extensions architecture don't scare you, then feel free to seek a robust web hosting plan that supports the technology. It's a truly excellent way to develop your website, and it will allow you to get up and running faster than any other method of web development.
Just remember to keep a close eye on the other features your host supports and promotes, and make sure that your hosting plan can grow with you in case you decide to leave the confines of FrontPage and develop your website in new ways.