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Can I Use Microsoft Access to Connect to an MS SQL Backend on a webhost?

I have a Microsoft Access desktop frontend app that is connected to an SQL Server Express backend on the same PC. This works properly with the caveat that every user with the frontend app must connect to the LAN. I would like to move the backend online so that users (employees) will be able to use the frontend from any location; all they'll need is an internet connection. I will also want to create a few web pages that clients can use to access some of the data. The clients won't be writing any data; just reading.

Presently, I have a copy of the backend hosted online at HostGator. However, there is a requirement to whitelist every IP address that wishes to access the database. The problem is the users of the frontend desktop app  will have their respective internet IP addresses assigned via DHCP and so I can't whitelist in advance. In testing, the Access app connects fine when I whitelist but doesn't connect if I use an IP address that isn't whitelisted.  I don't mind whitelisting to be able to use SSMS.

Is what I am trying to do possible with a webhost? If not, what services do you recommend?

PS: I was able to create an ODBC connection on HostGator but the server address is 127.0.0.1    - this is a local host. Is there anyway to use this connection from withing Access?
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Theo Fitchner
Asked:
Theo Fitchner
2 Solutions
 
Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)PresidentCommented:
You can do what you want, but performance will not be great.

Access apps are typically not developed with true client/server in mind.

The main issue you have at the moment is your hosting...you'll need to find a hosting company that will let you control the setup.   If HostGator didn't require the whitelisting, you'd be good to go.

Jim.
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Eric ShermanAccountant/DeveloperCommented:
The only way around that is to host the web server yourself.  That may not be an option for you but worth considering.

ET
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Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
At least at Amazon (AWS) - haven't checked at Azure - you can assign access from Anywhere to your public IP address at AWS:
AWS/gustav
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Armen Stein - Microsoft Access MVP since 2006PresidentCommented:
Yes, lots of web hosting services don't require specific IP whitelisting.  Find one that will host SQL Server without it.  Even SQL Azure can be run wide open by using a range of 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.

I agree with Jim that you might not like the performance.  Access needs to be optimized for using SQL Server, and even more so when it's over the internet.  I wrote a slide deck about that - it's called Best of Both Worlds at our free J Street Downloads Page:

http://www.JStreetTech.com/downloads

It includes some thoughts on when to use SQL Server, performance and security considerations, concurrency approaches, and techniques to help everything run smoothly.

Cheers,
Armen Stein
J Street Technology
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Theo FitchnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks you guys. You were both very helpful. I didn't know Azure could accept that whole range.
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