ASP Web Hosting

ASP or Active server pages is a very dynamic server-side scripting language. Server side scripts are small codes that run directly on the web server and create the web pages. Generally used to create websites that are user friendly and interactive, it is also very good at accessing databases, connect HTML pages and create web applications. The databases that generally go hand in hand with ASP are MySQL or Microsoft Access.

Currently there are two versions of ASP. ASP Classic which is the original and ASP.NET the successor. However, the term ‘ASP’ is used for the ASP Classic version only. Both these versions are very popular. Websites like Yahoo Music, Newegg etc. were created on ASP.

ASP works with Microsoft’s IIS – Internet Information Services. Microsoft has also provided with well integrated tools for developing, debugging and general maintenance of ASP code.

Important Components of an ASP Script

ASP scripts mainly comprise of the Request object, Response object, Server object, Application object, Session object and Err object.

Request object:
The request object reads the data that was sent by the client’s browser.

Response object:
The response object is like the opposite of the request object. It sends data to the client. This could be anything including the text on a web page.

Server object:
Allows the server to connect to the databases, filesystems etc.

Session object:
The session object will store variables belonging to a particular visitor. Hence, each visitor will have their own session object.

Application object:
Unlike the session object, the application object stores global variables.

Err object:
The Err object takes care of the errors arising in programs.

ASP Hosting

ASP Hosting needs a Windows based server. Once you have ASP Hosting you can utilize the ASP scripting language to create all the interactive websites that you want. However, most web hosting providers use Linux for web hosting by default. This is much cheaper and has many other advantages over using the Windows server.

Windows based servers require more investment from the hosting providers. As a result they are more expensive to use for the clients. Hence, ASP Hosting should be chosen only if there are specific needs of the client that a Linux cannot address.

The main reason for choosing ASP Hosting would be if you are already using Microsoft products like Office Suite and Exchange Server for your website. In this case ASP would be more compatible. Also a Windows based server will be needed if you use software like Visual Studio, MS SQL etc.

As we know there are multiple web hosting provider companies for ASP hosting. They each have their own packages and features. Each applicable package should be considered while making the choice of an ASP Hosting provider. The most commonly recommended hosting provider is Bluehost, GoDaddy, and InMotion.

Advantages of ASP Web Hosting

  • ASP is very powerful business development tool currently preferred by many corporations big and small
  • Many corporations already use Microsoft applications and tools
  • Most employees are already trained in Microsoft programs so the companies end up saving on training costs
  • Most large companies use Microsoft databases
  • Windows based servers beat Linux servers in software compatibility. There are a large number of useful software compatible with Windows as compared to Linux.
  • ASP.NET makes it easy to write code for very complex applications
  • The maintenance of ASP.NET code is also fairly simple. This is mainly because the source code and the HTML code work together.
  • Both ASP and ASP.NET work with multiple languages. Hence, you get to choose the language that best suits your needs.
  • ASP.NET applications are kept safe and secure by Microsoft itself
  • Provides much better performance
  • Like other server side scripts, the code is executed at the server level before it is sent to the browser
  • ASP runtime closely monitors all the processes involved in the working of a script.

ASP and ASP.NET

ASP and ASP.NET are both frameworks that can be used with different language options. ASP primarily restricts programmers to VBScript and JavaScript. ASP.NET provides more options. Most popular one being C#. Other languages that can be used are Ruby, Python, Java and VB.NET.

Compared to ASP.NET the users will find websites running on ASP to be much slower. As ASP.NET supports languages with object oriented functionality it can be used to create more complex and faster running websites. Webpages created with ASP have the .asp extension. Whereas, .aspx extension is used for ASP.NET webpages.

Converting web pages from ASP to ASP.NET is generally not required because support for ASP is still available. However, even if one decides to do the conversion it is fairly simple and there are many resources available for guidance in the task.

Alternatives to Using ASP

Java and PHP are considered the best alternatives to ASP. However, Ruby and Python are newly becoming popular. PHP is still the best option for beginners as it is considerably easy to learn and has a big user community available for support.

ASP Frequently Asked Questions

What is ASP? What does it stand for?
ASP is a server side application framework or scripting language. It is open-source and produces dynamic web pages. ASP stands for Active Server Pages. This scripting language was designed and built by Microsoft for development of web sites, applications and other web services. The original version of ASP is ASP Classic. It has now been superseded by ASP.NET.

What is a server side scripting language?
A server side scripting language is a language that is used to create programs that run on the web server and create the required web pages. These web pages are the ones that the website visitors see. Most of the times these involve interaction with a database. Server-side scripts are completely processed by the server instead of the client. Hence, by using server side scripting languages customized content can be presented to the website visitors.

Is server side scripting important for all developers?
The answer to that will depend on the kind of work the developer in question is interested in doing. Most developers can do all their work without using server-side scripting. If the developer is using a content management system (CMS), the scripting part is already done and the developer just uses the application. However, occasionally all developers and non-technical do find some use of server-side languages. Thus, they are useful tools to have around even if they aren’t used frequently.

Is ASP a programming language?
No ASP Classic and ASP.NET are both frameworks used for programming. They can be used with any suitable programming language. ASP Classic that is the predecessor of ASP.NET has limited options like VBScript, Perl and JavaScript that can be used. ASP.NET has a lot more choice. It is mainly used with C# and VB.NET while Java, Ruby, Python, C++, Lisp and PHP are some of the other options available.

Are there any tools available for development in ASP?
Yes, as ASP is a Microsoft product there are many tools made available by Microsoft for development, debugging and managing the versions of ASP.

What are the alternatives to using ASP?
The most commonly preferred alternatives to ASP are Java and PHP. These days Python and Ruby are also gaining popularity in the world of web development. Generally, beginners or newcomers to web development start with PHP because it is easy to learn.

Does ASP require any particular server?
ASP is generally used with the IIS server. IIS runs with Microsoft Windows.

Does ASP work only with Windows servers?
No, although it is not very common to use ASP with Linux servers, there are some solutions available to make this possible. Sun Computer Systems previously created an emulator of ASP Classic called ChiliSoft ASP. Also, there is Mono which is an under development .NET framework tool set. A part of Mono called mod_mono is a module that allows users to serve ASP. However, issues such as the cost, reliability and compatibility make IIS server the best option for ASP users.

Will it be required to convert ASP classic pages to ASP.NET eventually? Also, is this a very tedious procedure?
That will not be really required. There can be issues only if you use some third party components. Also, with any kind of updates there is always a chance of problems. If at all you end up needing to convert ASP Classic pages to ASP.NET it is quite an easy procedure. There are detailed guides provided by Microsoft that can help you through it.

Is it very expensive to use ASP?
Yes, it is generally more expensive to use ASP. This is mainly because ASP is used with IIS server that runs on the Windows platform and requires more resources. Hence, in general you can expect to pay around 20% more if you opt for a IIS server instead of an Apache server. This cost goes further up if it is a dedicated server plan.

Is it possible to run ASP on a Linux server?
Yes, it is possible to run ASP on a Linux server. However, as ASP.NET is a Microsoft product, the Windows server is its ideal option.

What are the benefits of ASP over other scripting languages?
There are many advantages of using ASP. Most importantly – it provides better performance, applications are safe and secure and ASP.NET majorly reduces the amount of code required. Other than that, ASP.NET pages are easy to maintain and as the source code is executed on the server it provides a lot of power and flexibility to the web pages.

What are the important components of an ASP script?
The main components of an ASP script are the request object – allows data to be read that was sent by the client server, response object – can send information to the client, server object – allows connections to databases, application object – stores global variables, session object – stores variables accessible only to a single visitor and the err object – allows for management of errors.

ASP Resources For Beginners

ASP is considered one of the most coveted skills for programmers today. Anybody considering a career in web programming will definitely benefit from having ASP as a point on their resume.

Many resources available online help beginners in starting out or gaining expertise in ASP and ASP.NET. Namely: