Hosting Tutorial & Guide

SQL Server Express V.S. Web Edition in Shared Web Hosting

updated on Oct 13, 2016
SQL Server Express V.S. Web Edition in Shared Web Hosting Yes, people think about that web hosts can offer SQL Server Express edition for ASP.NET web hosting. Because it's free and it can significantly help web hosts cost down from the expensive SQL Server database, and eventually the people can get the reasonable price of the ASP.NET web hosting. But there are still very good reasons that the experienced and well-known web hosts don't follow in this way. They provide SQL Server Web edition for better scalability, performance and reliability although it's a bit more expensive.

At first, according to Microsoft, SQL Server Express edition is NOT permitted to be used in a shared hosting environment under Microsoft licensing terms, so web hosts that claim to offer SQL Express are doing so illegally. You can view the term on page 14 of the following document from Microsoft website: SQL Server 2008 For Hosters Whitepaper.docx.
SQL Server Express Edition Is Not Permitted in Shared Hosting

Secondly, SQL Server Express was designed as a personal database and has its limitations, has security issues, and potential for high server resource usage in a shared hosting environment. Because Microsoft strongly recommends web hosts to not support SQL Express within a shared hosting environment (see the blog post of Microsoft about Express edition). It's why that you will be hard pressed to find a reputable shared host that supports SQL Express.

Thirdly, the SQL Server Express engine creates a SQL process for each IIS worker process. In our testing, each of this SQL process eats up a minimum of 30MB. Once you start loading some tables and perform some queries, the SQL process can easily use up to 80 to 100MB of memory. Since many websites hosted with its unique application pool, the server may run out of memory very easily. And it's the main cause of why the notorious reputation about the reliability of the cheap ASP.NET web hosting.

Fourly, the web edition performs better because the SQL Server Express edition doesn't make use of multiple CPU cores. As usually there are hundreds of websites hosted on the shared server, the concurrent processing capacity is quite important for the whole web hosting system, but it's the bottleneck of the SQL Server Express edition.


With the consideration on the budget, we think SQL Server Express edition is more fitting to the VPS or dedicated hosting rather than shared web hosting in fact. The limited one CPU core and up to 10GB data size are totally enough for a website with less than 10,000 page views daily, especially most of the websites enable caching now. The SQL Server Express edition just has more uncertainty on the shared web hosting. And also, ASP.NET web hosting with the commercial SQL Server database are usually 2 or 3 times more expensive. We have given two ASP.NET web hosting plans as following, one for SQL Server Express edition and another for SQL Server Web edition.
DiscountASP.NET Hosting DiscountASP.NET is an experienced and high quality ASP.NET web hosting provider. Unlike most of other web hosts, DiscountASP.NET only provides shared web hosting based on Microsoft solutions. Their ASP.NET web hosting is a bit more expensive at $10/month with additional 3 months free. And the SQL Server Web edition database charges another $5/month. But it's much faster and more reliable than the cheap web hosting absolutely. It provides either Windows 2008 or 2012, with support to all Microsoft technology including all versions of ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, Silverlight. DiscountASP.NET has won numerous awards from publications such as Visual Studio Magazine, .NET Developers Journal, ASP.NET PRO Magazine, DevProConnections Magazine and the CodeProject in past a few years. Read more about DiscountASP.NET.
Host4ASP.NET ASP.NET Hosting Host4ASP.NET provides a cheap ASP.NET web hosting plan at only $2.95/month with an 40% discount by using this promotional link. It includes unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB disk space. It's using SQL Server 2012/2014 based on Windows 2012 R2. The web host supports all latest Microsoft technology, including ASP.NET 3.5/4.0/4.5/5, ASP.NET MVC 2/3/4/5/6, Silverlight 5 and more. Read more about Host4ASP.NET ASP.NET web hosting.

(* Some parts of the article picked from the conversation with Mark Medina, the Marketing Director of DiscountASP.NET)