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CFX-Advanced VPS Hosting from CFXHosting
A flexible and cost-effective hosting solution

There comes a time in the life of almost every developer when he or she needs to host a Web site. Unfortunately, not all of us can have a T1 running to our basement with a dual-processor Pentium 4 running our site. No, we developers - and businesses - must look elsewhere for help. Unless you have a lot of money, that typically means you'll be part of a shared hosting environment.

In a traditional shared hosting environment, your Web site will be one of perhaps hundreds running on the same server. You won't get access to the ColdFusion Administrator and don't even think about playing around in the operating system. Disk space and data transfers are limited, and additional data transfer rates can quickly raise your monthly fees.

Many advanced developers and small-to-medium companies often feel restricted by shared hosting environments, but the next step up - buying dedicated servers - is often out of the question. VPS hosting can help bridge that gap.

New Options from an Old Friend
CFXHosting, one of the leading ColdFusion hosting providers, has added another item to its menu of options: CFX-Advanced VPS Hosting. VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, and it is so virtual you won't be able to tell the difference from the real thing. And for $189 a month, you won't even try to look.

Unlike traditional shared hosting environments, VPS hosting allows you full access to your virtual server from Terminal Server, access to the file system, and access to the Microsoft Management Console. You can even reboot your virtual server when you like.

How is this possible? CFXHosting uses their own software to allow multiple instances of an operating system on the same physical server. This allows you to have your own operating system that is shared by no one else. An individual physical server will never have more than four customers or operating system instances installed.

The configuration comes with 3GB of disk space free for your data, 40GB of data transfers per month, 256MB of dedicated RAM, and one static IP address. You'll also get free support for the first 60 days, with six free support incidents per month thereafter.

Impressive Software Support
VPS hosting supports a number of different software options, starting with Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 Servers at the core, running either ColdFusion 5.0 or ColdFusion MX (6.1) Professional. All Macromedia Studio MX products are supported, including the newest member of the Studio MX family - Macromedia Contribute. Since the operating system is yours alone, you get full ColdFusion tag support (with the exception of CFEXECUTE and CFREGISTRY), as well as the ability to use any CF or CFX custom tag you wish to install. You can even use ColdFusion RDS to access your code.

If you care enough about your site to pay for VPS hosting, chances are you'll want a database more robust than Microsoft Access. That's good, because Microsoft SQL Server can be set up for you. With SQL Server and ColdFusion control, you can create as many databases and data sources as you like. And of course, Microsoft Access is supported as well.

You'll also get 50 e-mail aliases, e-mail forwarding, and catchall e-mail addresses. The server is WAP, CGI, VBScript, and Java enabled; ASP support is optional. You even have access to XML Web services and the raw data logs.

Monitoring Your Site Traffic
Included in the VPS hosting package is LiveStats Statistic log analyzer (see Figure 1). This product offers some cool features, such as the ability to analyze your Web traffic in real time and to see who is currently on your site. The interface to LiveStats isn't quite as nice as WebTrends, but since you have the ability to install software on your virtual server, you have the option of installing it yourself.

Uptime Guaranteed
One nice aspect of CFXHosting is their 99.9% uptime guarantee. If for any reason your Web site is not available for HTTP access by third parties, you'll qualify for a credit. In fact, if the uptime falls below 89.9%, you'll receive a full credit for that month. Of course there are a few restrictions, like war and insurrection, but I think I'll take my chances.

First-Rate Hosting Facility
Worried that your site isn't safe in a hosting environment? You needn't be with CFXHosting. While it is impossible to guarantee against all hackers and probes, the Cisco Secure PIX Firewall between your site and the rest of the world will certainly help you sleep better at night.

But not all attacks come over the network; your site isn't safe if the physical location at which it is stored is not safe. But again, CFXHosting has it covered. Between 24/7 security personnel, video cameras, electromagnetic access cards, and biometric hand scanners, you can be assured your site is physically safe. There is also a redundant power grid so the center will stay up even if an entire power grid goes down. The temperature and humidity of the facility is closely monitored and the FM-200 Fire Suppression system will kick in, in the unlikely event of a fire.

Backup and Restore
Unlike many developers who sometimes neglect to make backups of their precious applications, CFXHosting has a high-speed, high-volume backup system that backs up every server in their network, though these services will cost you extra. Daily and weekly backup options are available, with the setup and monthly fees dependent on how much data is being backed up. These fees can quickly exceed your monthly hosting rates, but if your database contains rapidly changing, vital information, it may well be worth it.

À La Carte Add-Ons
Backups aren't the only additions you can make to your service. You can also purchase additional Web space, additional bandwidth, additional SQL Server space, custom-name servers, and support incident blocks. Again, these extras can quickly add up, but since they are all billed on a monthly basis, you only have to pay for them when you need them.

Getting Started
The process of getting set up for VPS hosting is very simple and fairly quick. At press time, there was a 30-day free trial period, after which there is no obligation to continue, however, many customers choose to. To get started, fill out the free trial form and you'll be contacted by CFXHosting within 24 hours. After answering a few questions, their install team gets to work setting up your environment. Setup takes between 3 and 5 business days, depending on their current request load, and can even take as little as one business day. After that, you are ready to go.

Sign Me Up, Scotty
VPS Hosting is certainly one of the best alternatives to restrictive shared-hosting environments and dedicated or colocated servers. With the ability to control the operating system and software and to administer ColdFusion and SQL Server, you'll forget that you don't have your own server. The peace of mind in knowing that you are the only one who has access to the operating system on which your code resides is very important as well. If you are looking for a flexible, yet cost-effective hosting solution, VPS Hosting from CFXHosting is the way to go!

Product Information
CFX-Advanced VPS Hosting from CFXHosting
P.O. Box 22789
Louisville, KY 40252-0789
Phone: 866 CFX-HOST
Fax: 502 568.3934
E-mail: feedback@cfxhosting.com
Web: www.cfxhosting.com

Test Environment
HP Pavilion zt1180, 1.2GHz P-III, ColdFusion MX, 512MB RAM, Windows XP Professional, MS SQL Server 2000

Pricing
After a 30-day free trial, the monthly fee is $189. There is also a $189 setup fee.

Product Snapshot

Target Audience
Developers and organizations looking for a better alternative to the restrictions of shared hosting environments without the costs of a dedicated or colocated server.

VPS Features

  • ColdFusion Administrator access
  • Terminal services and Telnet access
  • SSL Secure Server available
  • 3GB manageable disk space
  • 40GB data transfer included
  • 256MB dedicated RAM
  • Ability to host up to 50 Web sites, including 10 free domains
  • 100MB Microsoft SQL Server 200 database space
  • Unlimited DSNs
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime
  • 24/7/365 support
Supported Software
  • ColdFusion 5.0 or MX Professional
  • Windows 2000, 2003 Server
  • Macromedia Studio MX
  • LiveStats Statistics
  • Real Server/Windows Media
  • Custom tags
  • ColdFusion RDS
  • Custom software installs
About Selene Bainum
Selene Bainum is a software architect at INPUT.  She has been a ColdFusion and SQL developer for over 10 years and runs www.webtricks.com.

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