When it comes to hosting your FileMaker solution, there are a lot of options out there. You can host it yourself onsite, you can host with a service, or you can explore FileMaker Cloud. Let's assume that you've decided the hassle and costs associated with hosting your solution yourself are too prohibitive and you've decided to host with a service.
Now you're looking at plans. There is shared hosting and dedicated hosting and concierge services for FileMaker Cloud (not discussed in this blog, but follow this link for more info).
Shared hosting is the most economical option available on the market and very appealing to a lot of people looking to host their FileMaker solution.
In order to figure out if shared hosting is the right option for you and to help you choose between our Starter or Professional Plan, let's start with a few questions:
First: What version of FileMaker Pro is your solution currently running on? What version of FileMaker Server are you currently using and what version of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server do you want or need to be on?
Okay, that was technically three questions, but they are all important.
Our shared hosting plans support FileMaker Server 11-14 and FileMaker Pro (client) 7-16. The compatibility chart below details what FileMaker Pro versions are available on the different FileMaker Server versions.
If don't want to or don’t need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 15 or above, a shared hosting plan could be perfect for your needs.
Second: How many files do you want to host (and how big are your files)?
The Starter plan is ideal for one file and up to 1 GB of data. If you need to host more than one file, the Professional plan supports up to five database files and 5 GBs of storage.
Third: Do you need FileMaker WebDirect or FileMaker Go connections?
If yes, you need to go with the Professional plan. Our Starter plan does not support WebDirect or Go connections.
If you want or need to be on FileMaker Server 15 or higher, you need to go with dedicated hosting.
We offer four plans (Micro Team, Small Team, Medium Team, and Large Team - henceforth referred to as Micro, Small, Medium, and Large) designed to cover, accommodate, and service a wide variety of needs and requirements.
Let's review some of the factors that go into deciding which plan is the best fit for you.
1. File size
Each plan allows you to upload up to 125 database files, but the size of your files is a determining factor in deciding which plan is right for you.
Our dedicated hosting plans offer varying quantities of disk space to accommodate the overall size of your files. Our Micro and Small plans have limited storage. If the files being hosted are too large, it becomes difficult to provide redundant backups without incurring additional costs.
If your files' total sizes are less than 5 GB, you are probably okay going with the Micro plan. With 60 GB of disk space available, anything larger than 5 GB becomes too big for the standard backup routines that are included with the plan.
What if your FileMaker files are just a little too big for the Micro plan? Then the Small plan should work for you since it can host files up to 10 GB. With either of these plans, you can also purchase additional blocks of 100 GB for $20 a month.
If you have files over 10 GB, then you may want to consider a Medium or Large plan. These servers can hold files up to 150 GB - giving you lots of room for your FileMaker file and even external data too.
What kind of performance do you need and what do you intend to do on your server? If you plan to run continuous routines or regular audit systems, you are going to want to opt for the Medium or Large plan. With more RAM available, these plans are better equipped to handle complex processes that won’t result in lag.
Interested in learning more about FileMaker performance when hosting? Check out this video Marc Larochelle, our CEO, did:
Depending upon how you use your solution, you may need a lot of bandwidth. Several things can determine if you need unlimited bandwidth:
A. if you work with a lot of interactive containers
B. if you plan to regularly download data to your local machine
C. if you use custom web publishing
D. your backup is going to Dropbox
All of these use a lot of bandwidth, so we'd suggest our Medium or Large plan.
If you use your solution more for regular data entry and as storage for historical documents that you are not downloading daily – you'll be fine with a Small plan (or maybe even a Micro).
4. Number of FileMaker users / WebDirect access
Here are two more things to consider.
Do you have less than 10 FileMaker Pro users? Look at the Micro Plan. Anything over 10 users, your options are wide open with the Small, Medium or Large plans.
While all plans support FileMaker Go access, only the Small, Medium, and Large Team plans support FileMaker WebDirect access. If you intend to have more than 10 users connecting to your solution via FileMaker Go or you want to use WebDirect, also stay with any plan above the Micro plan. The Small, Medium and Large plans come with 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM, respectively – which is needed if you intend to have a larger number of users connecting remotely.
Each of our dedicated plans have a robust backup schedule. Your ideal plan will depend on your backup needs.
The Micro and Small plans keep a daily backup for 7 days. At any point, your oldest backup will be from one week ago. Additional backups or DropBox storage (for archive purposes) may be requested for an added cost.
If you need more longevity on your backups, you can consider a Medium or Large plan. These plans hold backups for up to one year.
Both plans (Medium and Large) include twice daily backups completed at 12:30 pm and 1:00 am. These daily backups are kept for one (1) week. We then run weekly backups that are kept for one (1) month and monthly backups that are kept for up to one (1) year. For redundancy and disaster recovery, all backups are stored on a 1 TB external drive and a daily backup is uploaded to a dedicated folder on Dropbox (see #6).
If you are considering creating your own backup schedules, we highly recommend the Medium or Large plan. Additional backups can be costly on the Micro or Small plan, due to the fact both are running on AWS. AWS charges per GB of space, as well as bandwidth usage.
Do you want your backups available via Dropbox and do you want the ability to access a Dropbox backup up to 365 days later?
Dropbox is automatically included with Medium and Large plans. Dropbox is available with our Micro and Small plans, but it does cost extra. With Dropbox, we can provide you with backups that are up to 365 days old. Dropbox also allows for more redundant storage of your backups.
7. SSL Certificates
We include a wildcard SSL certificate with all of our plans. If you would like a customized SSL cert for a custom domain name or other requirements, this options is available for an additional fee.
One last piece of advice. Before contacting a hosting provider, you should know:
1. How many users you will have using FileMaker Pro, Go, and WebDirect.
2. How many files you want to host, as well as the size of those files.
3. What version of FileMaker Pro and Server you plan to use.
If you're interested in hosting your solution with us, give us a call today (760-510-1200) and talk to one of our hosting engineers. We'll discuss your requirements and specifications and get you on track with exactly what you need.