Microsoft introduced WebMatrix as a free and lightweight IDE for web developers back in 2011. During the 2011 //BUILD conference, Microsoft introduced WebMatrix v2 beta. I remember that, because I was there too – on stage to announce our free WebMatrix v2 beta hosting sandbox.
I personally thought WebMatrix was a useful tool (when you didn’t have Visual Studio or didn’t want to install Visual Studio). Whenever I was on a computer or laptop that didn’t have Visual Studio and I needed to do some website work or show someone something on their laptop, I usually ended up installing WebMatrix.
But all good things must come to an end.
In early August, in the Microsoft IIS.NET WebMatrix forum, it was announced that there will be no more future development work on WebMatrix. So the last version is 3.0 and there will be no more updates and no more bug fixes. Since Microsoft introduced Visual Studio Code – a new free cross-platform IDE, they are pushing developers to transition to that tool now.
At DiscountASP.NET and Everleap, we support WebDeploy and will continue to host sites developed with WebMatrix, but for developers who rely on WebMatrix, you will need to make the transition to a new tool in the near future.
It’s installed and available right now on all of the IIS8 servers. If you want to use Core but your site is on an IIS7 server, we can migrate you to IIS8. Just let us know.
The only known issue at the moment is deployment only works into your root directory. We’ve let Microsoft know that there’s an issue deploying to a subdirectory, and we expect that they’ll fix that in a future release.
We’ll be publishing some posts soon on developing with ASP.NET Core 1.0. Stay tuned.
I’m pleased to announce that SQL 2016 hosting is now officially available as an add-on option. Some of the new enhancements include temporal tables, query store, stretch database, and native support for JSON.
SQL 2016 can be selected when ordering SQL service through Control Panel. All the backup, restore, attach MDF tools are available as well.
This is a premium spam filter solution that will not only keep your inbox virtually free of spam, scams, viruses and phishing, but also comes with a powerful management portal, where you can review your email logs and easily set up whitelists and blacklists. You also get daily quarantine reports.
This service will store a backup of all your clean incoming emails that go through the SpamExperts system. Your email archive is stored in compressed and encrypted format on redundant cloud servers in the cloud.
Microsoft has been updating their partner program and raising the bar for the Gold Partner level every year, so we in turn have been making investments annually to meet the requirements of the Gold Partner level. We believe that our partner status is a differentiator and truly demonstrates our commitment to stay on top of Microsoft-related technologies.
Maintaining a strong relationship with Microsoft is one of the things that helped us launch Everleap, our ASP.NET cloud hosting solution, and ensures that DiscountASP.NET remains the premiere .NET host for developers worldwide.
We are aware that ASP.NET 4.6 was officially launched back in July 2015 and typically we are quick to update – but this particular update took us a while to get in – so I wanted to let you know what was going on.
When ASP.NET 4.6 was officially released we had every intention of getting it on to our hosting platform but during our testing phase we saw reports coming out about bugs found in ASP.NET 4.6 with recommendations not to install it in production. Since ASP.NET 4.6 was an in-place update, rather than a side-by-side install, we opted to be cautious. There were some patches and workarounds released to address some bugs – but we did not want to rely on patches and workarounds on our production hosting platform. Therefore we decided to wait until an official update, which came as ASP.NET 4.6.1 in November 2015.
We’ve been using the Windows update and our regular monthly maintenance window to install updates, so in November we expected the latest update to appear in the monthly update, just like other minor versions in the past. However, in the case of ASP.NET 4.6.1 – it wasn’t in Windows Update. We don’t know what goes on within Microsoft as they QA new updates, but if ASP.NET 4.6.1 wasn’t cleared for mass distribution, we figured that we should wait until it made it into Windows Update before putting it into production servers. We thought approval for mass release would come soon – but that was not the case.
Finally, a little over a week ago, we saw that ASP.NET 4.6.1 made it into Windows Update but it was only available for Windows 2012 R2 server. For our Windows 2012 platform, we have a mix of Windows 2012 and Windows 2012 R2 servers. So we updated all of our Windows 2012 R2 servers with ASP.NET 4.6.1 during February’s maintenance window, while our Windows 2012 servers remain at ASP.NET 4.5.2.
It did take us a while to update to ASP.NET 4.6 but when it comes to our production servers that power our customers websites, we want to be careful when making updates that could potentially cause problems for customers.
If you ever want to target a newer ASP.NET version that is not on your current server, please contact our technical support team and we may be able to move your site to the server environment with the ASP.NET version that you want to use.
Here’s my list for 2015.
- Retired Windows 2003
Microsoft announced a while back that Windows 2003 support was ending on July 14, 2015. We launched our hosting services back in 2003 with its foundation on the newly released Windows 2003 – so we had a lot of customers on the O/S and we also had some of our back end infrastructure on Windows 2003 as well. We didn’t want to wait until the last minute to try to deprecate Windows 2003 servers so we actually started working on customer migrations two years ago! We started helping with voluntary migrations and then switched over to migrating sites manually one by one…about 6000 sites. We finally finished up early July, right on schedule. Ray gives the inside scoop on how we retired Windows 2003 – it’s a good ‘behind-the-scene’ read.
- Launched CloudBackup solution
A great example of a hybrid hosting service, we launched a solution to help automate off-site website and MySQL database backups where the files/data are stored on the Amazon cloud. The service includes an intuitive web-based portal to manage backup scheduling, versioning and restorations. And the backup solution starts at $1.75/mo. More information on CloudBackup here.
- Enhanced CloudBackup with automated MS SQL backup
One of the things the original CloudBackup solution lacked was a solution for backing up MS SQL databases. Automated SQL backup has been a big ‘ask’ from customers for many years, so we enhanced the solution to back up SQL 2012 and SQL 2014 databases. (And fear not, we are working on SQL 2008 backups which should be coming just around the corner! Stay tuned for announcements.) As a bonus, we also slipped in Blacklist Monitoring. This is where we continually monitor Google and should your site ever become blacklisted due to hacking activities, we’ll immediately suspend the backup schedule so that CloudBackup doesn’t continue to backup your compromised website files and databases. With the Blacklist Monitoring feature, customers should be able to get to their clean backups more easily and not have to wade through useless backup copies. More information on CloudBackup here.
- Launched ASP.NET 4.5.2 hosting
Keeping up to date with new ASP.NET versions is becoming more important as Microsoft announced that they will only support the last two minor versions. So we updated both our Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 hosting platform with ASP.NET 4.5.2.
- Launched Shared and Managed TFS 2015
Microsoft launched TFS 2015 so we launched both Shared and Managed TFS 2015 hosting in both the US and UK datacenter locations. The newest version of Team Foundation Server finally allows the renaming of team projects. Other enhancements include the ability to display bugs in the task board and quick code editing through the web portal. More info on TFS Hosting here.
- We migrated our Data Center location
We needed more breathing room in our data center, so we moved locations within our USA-based data center to a larger space. This was no trivial task. It took a lot of planning and we moved hundreds of servers.
- Enhanced the control panel with a PHP version chooser
For our hosting services we do focus on ASP.NET hosting but we also realize that many .NET developers use PHP applications, such as WordPress. To strengthen our PHP hosting service, we introduced a PHP version chooser that works similar to our ASP.NET version chooser tool.
- Expanded SiteLock services with Trueshield CDN and Web Application Firewall
We launched a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service through our partner, SiteLock. This service will cache customer content (both static and dynamic depending on the plan) in edge servers located in over 25 data centers around the world and also includes features like content minification and image compression. The CDN service increases the website speed as visitors can pull content off servers closer to their location. The enhancement also includes a Web Application Firewall service to help prevent hack attempts and exploits, especially targeting popular open source apps like WordPress, DNN or nopCommerce. Because millions of websites use the SiteLock service, they “see” the signatures of common hacking attempts so they can stop such activities dead in its track before the malicious traffic hits your site on our servers.
- Launched Managed SQL solutions at Everleap
Yes, this item is a feature that is not at our DiscountASP.NET brand, but I include it here as an example of an upgrade path for customers that need larger SQL storage, or customized SQL database solutions, or customers needing many smaller SQL databases for a SaaS application. We cannot accommodate such SQL requirements at DiscountASP.NET but with Managed SQL hosting at our cloud hosting brand, Everleap, we provide a solution for special SQL needs. Here is more information on Managed SQL hosting at Everleap.com.
- Renewed our Microsoft Gold Partner status
We successfully renewed our Microsoft Gold Partner status for the 10th year. I know, I know, I keep mentioning this every year. But it is a big deal because it’s getting harder to maintain every year and it’s an investment on our part that many other hosting providers are no longer keeping up with.
Thank you for making it through this long post and we look forward to an exciting 2016!
Have a happy and safe holiday.
With Managed TFS you get your own instance of Team Foundation Server on a private VM that is not shared with any other customer. Since you’re on your own private VM, we can offer server-side customization that is not possible with our Shared TFS hosting service. And on top of that, the solution is fully managed. You can concentrate on your software development and we’ll take care of all the TFS infrastructure, security updates and patching.
As with our previous Managed TFS 2013/2012/2010 service, with Managed TFS 2015 we offer both the TFS Basic and TFS Full configurations. TFS Basic includes source control and task management just like our Shared TFS – but the TFS Full option will add SharePoint and Reporting.
If you’re interested in a Managed TFS Hosting solution, please contact us for a quote.
If you’re not completely sure if Managed TFS is for you, you can first try out our Shared TFS hosting for 30 days free for up to 5 users. You can test it out before you commit to a Managed TFS solution.