In this age of the PHP and ASP.NET driven web, one language that is often forgotten is Cold Fusion. Most new web developers have not even heard of this language or know what it is when in fact Cold Fusion is one of the simplest and fastest languages to develop in on the web. One of the reasons why Cold Fusion as a language is not so popular online is because it is hard to find good hostingfor Cold Fusion applications. Cold fusion hosting is much more expensive than regular PHP or ASP hosting and there are not that many choices. In this article we will look at some of the main features to look for when searching for this kind of hosting and take a look at some hosts who offer Cold Fusion hosting.
The first thing when looking for Cold Fusion hosting is to see what version of the Cold Fusion server the host is offering. The latest offering from Adobe(since they bought out Macromedia) is ColdFusion 8, so if you are starting from scratch, you will want to find a Cold Fusion host that fully supports Cold Fusion 8. If you have older applications that run on Cold Fusion 7 or lower, you will want to check compatibility issues and go with a host that offers the highest compatible version of Cold Fusion with your scripts. While new versions should be compatible with old versions, backwards compatibility is not always 100%, so you should check to see what works and what does not.
After making sure that the host has the version of Cold Fusion that you want, the next thing you’ll want to check up on is the quality of their hosting server and their client to server ratio. For something like Cold Fusion hosting you’ll want to be hosting on at least a dual core server, if not a quad core server with at least 4GB of RAM. For a Dual-Core server, try to find a host that has under 75 accounts per server and for a Quad-Core host, a host with less than 130 accounts per server. This may seem very low when compared to the hosting industry average, but for Cold Fusion hosting, it is recommended that you get put on a server with a high allotment for server resource(CPU/RAM) usage. The reason is not that Cold Fusion is inherently less efficient and creates more load on the server than PHP or ASP, but rather has to do with the kinds of customers that look for ColdFusion hosting.
Someone looking for regular PHP hosting is likely just going to run a blog or small personal site that does not take up much space and bandwidth at all. However, someone looking for a much more expensive Cold Fusion hosting package is likely a serious developer who is developing large applications that will eat up at least some CPU and RAM power. Because of this, the average user on a Cold Fusion hosting account will probably use several times the CPU/RAM power that an average person on PHP hosting would use. If you are afraid of CPU/RAM jams that will stop your site because of other users or are afraid of getting suspended because your account is simply eating up too many resources, you should seriously consider getting a VPS(virtual private server) or adedicated server and installing the Cold Fusion setup yourself. You should also closely monitor the server load on the host you are thinking about and pick a host with a low average server load for best performance.
Besides server specs and server loads, technical support is of the utmost importance in Cold Fusion hosting. The Cold Fusion host you are considering should have 24/7 technical support and response times of less than 2 hours or you should not be considering them because there are hosts that do offer this. A 24/7 toll-free support help line would be a big plus for any Cold Fusion host as that assures you of at least getting an answer quickly. To gage the quality of a host’s technical support staff, you need to go around to forums such as webhostingtalk.com and ask members there about the host you are thinking of. Cold Fusion is a special niche in web hosting and there are only a few known companies so chances are that a lot of people at the forum will have either used or are using the company you are considering. These people are your best source of information for the performance of a certain host as they will tell you about both the strengths and weaknesses of the host you are interested in. You may also receive discount offers from the many hosts that lurk around in the forums hoping to pick up a couple of extra clients. Reading web hosting review sites is also a good way to uncover more about a host but is not as good as forums because many of the big web hosting review sites are directly owned or sponsored by the hosts themselves and will present bias views.
The final thing to look for in a Cold Fusion host is price. Price ranges wildly on a Cold Fusion host because hosts offer different features. Cold Fusion is often paired with MSSQL or even at times Oracle instead of the popular MYSQL. If a host is offering one of these two databases types, then the amount of database space you are given is a key factor in determining which host you are going for as MSSQL and Oracle database space tends to be pricey.
Prices for Cold Fusion hosting range from at little as $10/month to over $100/month depending on the features that come with it. When looking for intense Cold Fusion application hosting, look to pay about $.5 per every gigabyte of bandwidth used or more for quality hosting. Remember that the Cold Fusion server and setup is not free unlike PHP/MYSQL so the hosts initial costs are far greater for Cold Fusion compared with PHP.
Now that we have looked at the key points of Cold Fusion hosting, lets take a look at a few hosts that offer Cold
1. CFD Dynamics – CFD dynamics is a solid Cold Fusion host that offers the BlueDragon platform which combines the power of CFML with .NET to give you more development options. Plans start at $19.99/month and includes 200MB of space and 5GB of bandwidth. The plan also comes with 25MB of SQL server space and is good to run with MYSSQL, MSSQL, or Access. However, note that you only get 1 ODBC system DSN connection. Their hosting supports Flash remoting, Java applets, ASP, and .NET development frameworks. If you are looking for a serious environment to start your development in a variety of languages, this is not a bad choice. If you plan on growing, CFD dynamics can go all the way up to 1GB space and 20GB transfer and possibly more to accommodate your needs. These people also offer dedicated server hosting if you happen to outgrow shared hosting.
2. Host My Site– Host my Site offers Cold Fusion hosting starting at $19.95 with 4GB Hard Drive Space and 240GB monthly data transfer. In terms of price per space and bandwidth, this is probably one of the best you will find for Cold Fusion. The plan also supports ASP.NET and ASP..NET AJAX and includes a 150MB MYSSQL 5 database with the plan. There is also a higher plan for $27.95 which has 8GB of space and 360GB bandwidth with a 600MB MYSQL database and a 600MB MSSQL database. This company also has perks like Amazon gift cards, Google search bonuses, and more when you sign up for their hosting.
3. Intermedia Cold Fusion Hosting – Intermedia provides Cold Fusion MX 7 hosting and guarantees 99.9% uptime and 24×7 technical support. The starting price is a bit higher than other Cold Fusion hosts at $39.95/month if paid yearly and $45.95 on a month-by-month term. The plan comes with 3GB webspace and 70GB of bandwidth so the price to space and Bandwidth ratio is not bad. Your hosting also comes with a domain and a dedicated IP address. Besides that the plan supports ASP,CFML tags,ActiveX components, VBScript and Jscript along with 400MB of MSSQL server disk space. For people who want to do E-commerce via Cold Fusion, an SSL certificate is included and Paypal merchant is supported by default. There are options to add Miva Merchant and other E-commerce features if desired.
These three hosts should give you a good start to look for Cold Fusion hosting. Do not limit yourself to this list of hosts as there are many other Cold Fusion hosts out there. Remember to go to hosting forums and read many reviews on the host before you pick and only pick one that has good pricing and quality technical support and supports the platform that you need.