In The Mix

As a SharePoint architect I have the business behind me and the Developers and IT Pro on my shoulders.

SharePoint Hosting vs Owning July 27, 2008

Filed under: SharePoint — fmuntean @ 3:45 pm

Now that the SharePoint have matured we see and get asked about Hosting of SharePoint outside of the company.

This post is to show some of the differences between having your SharePoint hosted outside the company using a third party provider and having it installed inside your company.




  • No hardware required.
  • No worries about licenses.


  • Monthly payment
  • Usually only the WSS level
  • No integration with external systems as AD, Exchange, File Shares, LOB applications
  • Poor integration with Office Client applications.
  • No access to Central Admin.
  • Only one Site collection.
  • No alerts or email integration
  • No possibility to install custom code or web parts.
  • Use only of the available site templates.
  • WebDav access restricted
  • Limited users access
  • Limited Public access
  • Limited storage


  • Inside the Firewall
  • Any level of SharePoint
  • Integration with your AD.
  • Full integration with internal LOB Applications.
  • based on business need
  • Receive alerts and send e-mails to lists.
  • WebDav access.
  • Enterprise Search
  • Multiple Web Application and site collections
  • Can install any custom code, Web Part, and site template.
  • Full integration with Office 2007 client applications.
  • Can scale up to meet you needs.


  • Need hardware.
  • Install and Maintenance resources needed.
  • License


I would recommend the use of Hosted SharePoint to get the taste for it but for real needs I recommend owning it.

As a note both Microsoft Search Express 2008 and WSS 3.0 licenses are included with Windows 2003. So if you already have Windows 2003 you are just one step away from owning it.

I see only one good use for SharePoint hosting and this is when you are using SharePoint Farm publishing for Internet sites. For more info on this drop me a comment.

If after reading this you still want to check and see if hosting SharePoint meets your needs check this link:


3 Responses to “SharePoint Hosting vs Owning”

  1. Hi Florin,
    Couple of things to pick up on your post which I am puzzled about with your response(s) and have responded to provide further clarity.

    I note some of your comments don’t seem to differentiate between WSS and MOSS application, i.e. you seem to be indicating its one platform, when in reality it is two, in particular your comment about Search.

    I think in summary, it should be noted that you can host everything on WSS/MOSS externally that you can do as if you owned it. It is at the end of the day, a server environment which is made accessible to your users via the internet (secure or otherwise). The arguments aren’t necessarily one of hosted or owned, but more of budget, risk and culture change – hosting your ‘data’ outside of your own premises is often a harder ‘change’ than it is technically.

    That said, the ‘Shared Service’ (basically a multi-tenant environment) offered by many ISPs often is just a single site collection per customer and this does have some limitations by your original response and my response below will I think give others a complete picture. But, as my response below states, there are ISPs out there that will provide much more…

    Hosted – Con (My Response)

    1. Monthly Payment – Not sure why this is a Con? Plus you can pay upfront for a year normally, if you’re worried about expenditure/budgets.
    2. WSS level only – Not true, there are several hosting firms that will do MOSS as well now…
    3. Arguably if you have dedicated hosted WSS/MOSS environment, you can perform integration to you backend systems. Granted, not possible with ‘Shared Service’ which many hosting firms.
    4. Office Integration: – Unsure why you say poor integration with Office – which elements don’t work for you?
    5. One Site Collection – True for many hosting firms, but also true you can buy dedicated WSS server environment which allows as many Site Collections as you like (within the capacity/best practice guidelines).
    6. No Alerts/Email Integration – Untrue, you have the ability to put in your email address on all hosted options be that single site collection or dedicated server. Outlook will also sync to the document library/lists also and make them offline.
    7. Install custom code/web parts – True for Shared Services, but not so for dedicated WSS/MOSS environments that you can host/procure.
    8. Site Templates – True for Shared Service, but not so for dedicated hosted WSS/MOSS servers.
    9. WebDav Access – This is available on Shared Services and of course dedicated WSS/MOSS servers, so unsure why this is here as a Con.
    10. Limited User, Public and Storage – Again, unsure why this is here. Most ISPs will allow you to ramp up the amount of users,(even unlimited users) storage and public access is a configurable element you put into the design upfront when considering anonymous access.
    11. Central Admin – True no access in Shared Service, but you do when you do dedicated WSS/MOSS
    12. I would say a minor Con is for most deployments you need separate login (unless you buy dedicated kit and connect your AD networks)
    13. I would also say another Con is the potential internet ‘pipe’ between your organisation and the internet could be a constraint also and needs investigating/testing.

    Hosted Pro (My Response
    1. Affordable ‘Software as a Service’ that does not involved capital expenditure
    2. Ideal for producing cost effective collaborative environments between staff and customers, suppliers and clients alike, without the need to open up existing networks.
    3. Full integration with Office suite
    4. Backup/DR taken care off as part of the monthly/annual fee
    Owned Pro (My Response)
    1. ‘Inside a firewall’ – this is/can be the same for Hosted…so not really a Pro
    2. ‘Based on business need’ – not sure what you mean here?
    3. Provides one platform for the creating, publishing of content to staff and external users

    Owned Con (My Response)

    1. Need additional hardware for extranet access (for both WSS and MOSS)
    2. Need expensive (Circa $40,000 for external connector license for MOSS, for example)
    3. Need greater support resources to be able to configure, install and support the platform (MOSS and WSS)

    Hope the above makes sense and important to be clear, hence my response, on what you can do from a hosted perspective.


  2. Hi Andrew and/or Andy,

    I see that you are a with a Hosting company for SharePoint. Maybe would have been worth to mention this in your comment.

    I am on the other side where I need to offer a working solution for a business need and found out that there are a lot of limitations when it comes to having your SharePoint hosted.

    Your comment just pointed me to the fact that I forgot to clearly define what SharePoint Hosting means for me.

    I do not consider SharePoint hosting the situation where you get access to the server itself where the SharePoint is installed. This for me is just server hosting and you own SharePoint as you have full access to it.
    Even in this situation I see some limitations when trying to integrate internal LOB application with SharePoint as there is a firewall in between.

    By SharePoint hosting I mean the case where you get access usually only to a site collection and no access to the server itself where the SharePoint is installed.

    Now I want to respond to some of your notes:

    1. Monthly Payment: WSS is included with Server License so there is no extra cost to install it. However you are true that for the Public internet sites an internet connection License for SharePoint is needed.
    2. The office integration limitations are because of authentication, usually Form Based Authentication.
    3. WebDav Access is restricted by some hosting companies due to Form Based authentication.
    4. Now on you comment about opening ports in the company firewall, I would argue that there already needed port is open, and I am talking about port 80 (for http) or 443 (for https). This is more secure than opening the ports required to integrate the hosted server with you internal AD or other LOB applications.

    Florin Muntean

    Maybe I should post in the future a comparison between some SharePoint Hosting companies that give a free trial.

  3. I read your posts for a long time and must tell you that your articles are always valuable to readers.

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