Hosted SharePoint options: Quite the bang for your buck for small companies or solo entrepreneurs
September 28, 2006
When most small companies read about SharePoint Services and all it can do for them, they may be wondering how they can afford such a great tool. After all, small companies (even ones with a single person) need to collaborate with team members, partners, customers, etc. just as much as larger companies do. Usually, they don’t have the kind of infrastructure in-house that’s needed. They may not even have a server, depending on the size of the company. That’s where SharePoint hosting companies come in. For an incredibly affordable $20 a month ( a typical price, but you’ll need to shop around ), the small company and solo entrepreneur can get a SharePoint Services site with unlimited users, unlimited sub-sites, and 1GB of space. These specs and prices will vary between the different hosting companies, so again…shop around. In a nutshell, a hosted SharePoint Services site is a rented SharePoint space on someone else’s server. Your data will be there and not in-house. If you are OK with that, then it’s a great solution for the majority of folks out there needing this type of functionality. Many hosting companies offer several package options. There are limitations administratively. For example, you will not be able to install 99% of the web parts out there, free or otherwise, as the majority of web part installation usually requires installation on the server…and it’s standard that you will not have permission to do this. The hosting company that I use has already installed over 60 custom web parts for us to play with and use. They have also already installed a ton of custom templates to utilize. If you have a problem, you’ll submit a help ticket, so you will want to make sure that whatever hosting company you select has a nice support system in place for their users. I found a nice list of SharePoint hosting companies listed at http://wss.collutions.com/pages/VII%20-%20Documents%20and%20Web%20Sites.aspx. Look at FAQ 03 for the list. It’s not all encompassing, but it’s a great start. You might want to google “sharepoint hosting” to find more.
Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the type of functionality that SharePoint Services can offer. The resources are out there…just waiting for you.