SharePoint Hosting. As Easy As It Seems?

Within a week of me mentioning SharePoint a customer I'd not heard from in years has been back in touch and asked if I'm interested in doing some SharePoint work for them. Read in to that what you will.

One of the questions they asked was "Do you have a server you can demo it on?". The answer was "No, but I'll get one".

First thing I did was Google "sharepoint hosting" but nothing stood out and nothing seemed to fit the bill. Then it dawned on me. Surely all I need is a basic Windows hosting package, atop of which I can install SharePoint Server? Is my thinking correct? Any tips?


    • avatar
    • Erwin
    • Wed 16 Jun 2010 07:11 AM

    Well, yes, you probably can.

    You'll need (want) to create separate accounts for the components that make up SharePoint, like for the application pool, for the SQL server, etc.

    So as long as you have full control of your windows hosting (e.g., you have full admin access to the 'box'), then yes you could set up a SharePoint server on that environment. A shared hosting package is not going to work though as they usually share the IIS instances and that's not going to work with SharePoint.

    Depending of what you want to do, a pure demo box could in theory run on the same machine (most developers do that in a virtual machine) that runs SQL Server, an AD server, IIS 6/7 and WSS3.0/SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint 2007/2010 (the latter depending on what you need). If you pick SharePoint 2010 your hosting will have to be a 64-bit platform, e.g. Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit.

    There are licensing issues popping up though with public facing SharePoint sites, as you need a CAL for every user hitting the server. Don't ask me for details about that though. I try to focus on development instead and steer clear from that part of SharePoint ;-)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 16 Jun 2010 07:34 AM

      Hi Erwin. Long time! Another reader back that I'd assumed lost a long time ago. Always nice to see.

      Thanks for the advice. Your saying I "probably can" will do for to get me started.

  1. Hi Jake, have you checked this?


    Looks like Microsoft provides a demo sharepoint server . It need WIndows 2008 I think.


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 16 Jun 2010 08:47 AM

      It would take as long to download all those RAR files as it would to build it from scratch. Or possibly not. I'll know soon...

  2. A Technet subscription might be a useful tool at this point, Jake. It's mostly geared towards Admins but it's the cheapest way I have found to get software for getting started learning. I used it to get Server 2003, 2008, Sharepoint and Infopath all up and running for some demos. Really easy to do it all on a VM as Erwin suggested.

    Active Directory is something I'm not super swift with yet, but Technet helps there a lot. I think the student rate was $249, normally $349 for a year. You might find it on sale... they offered me the student rate to renew but after I had learned what I needed for the time about SharePoint, I didn't need it any longer. The magazines that come with it are a useful resource, however, to keep handy as reference.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 16 Jun 2010 08:46 AM

      I've got a Technet subscription. Don't get any magazines though ;o(

    • avatar
    • Jan
    • Wed 16 Jun 2010 04:20 PM

    There was a virtual machine package from MS that you could use for a server, but that will probably not work for a demo, but ok for development. Then for the demo you can have a look at the Amazon Web Services, it is very interesting to see how flexible you can setup a server there. I have not yet seen a complet SP image but several Windows servers with SQL are waiting.

  3. Is your windows 7 install 64 bit?

    If so you can get a sharepoint foundation 2010 development environment on it with a bit of messing around that works very well.

    You can also put Server 2010 on win 7 but it's a resource hog.

    I've just put foundations on 7, and all works fine.

    Go 2010, not 2007, it's a very different, and much better beast.


    is a good install guide, though 2010 is out of beta now so use the real thing.

    http://www.alpesh.nakars.com/blog/preparing-for-wss4-installation-on-windows7/ filled the gaps...You have to fiddle about a bit with prerequisite installers and other stuff to get it to work on 7.

    Sharepoint foundation 2010 is a free download.

    • avatar
    • Rishi
    • Wed 16 Jun 2010 08:07 PM

    Hey Jake,

    I would suggest check "Amazon EC2" for hosting your own SharePoint environment for demo purpose and you may use Microsoft virtual server for development , though I prefer installing in VMware.

    * Install VMware

    * Install Windows 2003 server and enable WSS

    * Install and configure Office SharePoint server 2007 ( Check if SharePoint 2010 is available )

    * Install SharePoint designer and InfoPath forms

    * At the end don't forget Visual Studio .

    By doing this you can get some command over SharePoint administration.

    • avatar
    • Alastair Grant
    • Thu 17 Jun 2010 03:25 AM

    Hi Jake,

    Hope your well. You can check out the Microsoft BizSpark program for the software.

    Also the guys (Rex and Alan) at http://www.2020media.com are very accommodating.

  4. Problem with most shared sharepoint hosting is that you don't get access to the backend "12 Hive" which restricts the amount of development/customisation you can do. For example you won't be able to install the fabulous 40 apps that require admin rights. SP2010 takes a good leap forward on this with the introduction of sandbox solutions.

    • avatar
    • Adam
    • Thu 19 Aug 2010 02:12 PM

    It depends on how tech savvy you are. I'd feel more comfortable if you had implemented SharePoint before, but if you're willing to take the leap more power to you. Our company uses FPWeb for our Sharepoint hosting, mostly because we do a lot detail work that would just be too time consuming to do in house. They also have a few tutorials on their blog that might help you after you get things setup. Good luck!

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