When developing a dynamic website, you will need to use a database system as some sort to power the backend of your website as the dynamics of such websites are based on the principle of using a database to store all of the information related to the website. There are a number of different database applications for you to choose from, your choice of which will be affected by a number of factors including the platform that you are using as well as the scripting language that you are using to develop your web applications; you will also find that database systems can be fitted into separate categories, with database servers being designed to meet the requirements of larger corporations that are running busy websites and desktop database applications being designed for smaller implementations. Windows and Linux support a number of different database applications, some of which are cross-platform meaning that you will be able to use them with both platforms; prior to developing a website, it is important to make sure that your selected web hosting package will be able to support not only your website, but your database as well – any web hosting company should provide detailed information about what they provide with their web hosting plans. It is important to be sure of the differences between particular database application and servers so that you are able to make a choice that will suit the architecture and intended visitor numbers of your website because you want to make sure that you don’t end up choosing a system that isn’t able to support your website properly.
What database systems are available to use with web hosting?
Although the database systems offered by web hosting providers will differ between each company, there are several mainstream database servers and applications that you can be sure will be available including:
- Microsoft SQL Server – as a Windows web developer you will require a reliable database platform on which you can develop scalable web applications and Microsoft SQL Server will be able to meet your needs in this area – SQL Server is designed to offer larger businesses a secure and stable database platform on which they can host the databases needed to support their internal and external applications, whether they be web- or desktop-based – most Windows shared web hosting plans will provide you with the facility to host at least one Microsoft SQL Server database, but if you wish to host an unlimited number then you will need to consider either a Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server for your hosting requirements, but this will provide further cost as it means that you will also need to invest in your own Microsoft SQL Server license – it should be noted that Microsoft SQL Server databases will only work with Windows servers and not with Linux servers
- MySQL Server – like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL Server is an SQL-based database server designed to meet the needs of larger organisations, the only difference being that MySQL Server is an open source application meaning that it is free to use in any medium without any limitations – unlike MSSQL Server, MySQL Server is a cross-platform database server that is available for Windows, Linux and Mac so regardless of the OS that you are using for your hosting requirements, you will be able to use a MySQL Server database – as a web developer it may also be worth noting that MySQL databases can be used in conjunction with an array of scripting languages, allowing you to build up experience of these different languages whilst being able to stick with a database system that you know
- Microsoft Access – if you are a Windows web developer looking for a simpler solution to MSSQL Server, then you can always consider using Microsoft Access for your needs as this will provide you with a very simple desktop interface through which you can setup and configure your database – Access databases are also a lot simpler to setup with web hosting accounts as it is simply a case of uploading the database file to your web space as opposed to having to setup the database through your web hosting control panel first, allowing you to develop and test your web applications locally first.
Why should I use a database system with my website?
Using a database system with your website will allow you to develop a dynamic website when used in conjunction with a popular scripting language, such as PHP or ASP.NET; some of the benefits to doing this include:
- Easier to maintain website – if you use a database to store all of your website’s content, then the management process will be made simpler because you can then build a web interface through which you can add and remove content from your website without the need to continuously upload new pages to your web space when you have modified them locally
- Expandability – website’s that have been developed using a database are a lot easier to expand than static websites because it means that you can pull the existing content straight from the database as opposed to having to copy and paste it in from other pages on your website – when you are running a busy website it is highly important for you to add new functionality to ensure that you are able to give your visitors something new – the same can be said for design as it is always important to add new design features to your website, and this will be simplified with the use of a database driven website.
In conclusion, database systems are an integral part of many websites as web developers shy away from using static designs in favour of a plan that will allow them to maintain their websites on a more constant basis to keep the content fresh. All database systems have their advantages and disadvantages, which makes it important for you to do your research to ensure that you choose the correct database server or desktop database application for your needs.