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Babak SekandariFlag for United States of America

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Need advice choosing a web host for eCommerce I can build combining code with drag/drop

I want to build an eCommerce site that has payment systems and features like QR codes.

My background is in ASP.NET C# coding using SQL Server as a backend. I have experience with JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, Bootstrap, etc.

I want to avoid WordPress because that uses PHP and MySQL which I find to be frustrating/boring.

Ideally, I'd like to begin with a drag/drop editor and then enhance it with code as opposed to using only code (if that's possible).

I found this HostingAdvice page:

https://www.hostingadvice.com/best/asp-net-hosting/

But that doesn't answer all the questions I have such as with QR codes and whether, if it comes with an https security certificate, if the drag/drop site can be enhanced with code or I'd need to start over, etc.

Your opinions and prior experiences are greatly appreciated.

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Okay, that’s good to know about the QR codes.
I’m also glad you told me about liquidweb.com because I do have a little bit of Azure background.
HostGator and GoDaddy and some others have ASP.NET. I just don’t know if they will allow combining drag/drop with code the way WordPress allows. For example, Orchard Core and Ubraco are CMS systems built on ASP.NET, but I know very little about those so far and I don’t know if I can use those with HostGator or GoDaddy. Other .NET based CMS systems include DotNest and DNN Platform. There are so many options and combinations, I don’t know where to begin.

I played around with WIX today and it was frustrating. I could have built an entire site in the time it took me to find out how to add some check-box options and then realize that the conditional tool doesn't have any way of picking 3 out of 4, or 2 out of 3, or whatever.

Here’s some more background: I’m building this site for a friend. After I’m done, I might be able to find customers who need sites so I can work for myself instead of working for somebody else’s company.
With coding, I figured I might be able to fill a professional space that non-coders aren’t able to address when I pick up more clients. I'm just not sure where to get started that offers the choices I'm looking for.

Any host that has the required features will work, including the ones you mentioned


https://docs.umbraco.com/umbraco-cms/fundamentals/setup/requirements

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As I started to read through the documentation, it seems very complex and a lot of work. The front end looks like it uses Angular. Are you experienced with that? If so, great otherwise that is an entire learning curve. I am also not seeing where it is drag and drop  https://umbraco.com/explore-umbraco-benefits/intuitive-editing-experience/#content


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It looks like it has a lot of good features if you want to have a headless cms and have fine granular control. But if you are looking for something easy, like drag and drop, I don't know that is the case. 


My advice is if your role in this is to sell products as  your business and you also happen to be a good developer, it is still not worth it to create a site from scratch like this. You need to put your energy into easily creating content, updating products, managing the business / customers. Trying to create the site and manage it is going to take you away from that. 


However, if your role is a developer for somebody else, and you want to maintain tight controls on things, separate the back end from the front end and be regularly involved with your client that has a lot of money to spend on your time, this could be a good option for that.



I've had a chance to play around with GoDaddy and GatorHost:
Both of them use Plesk for asp.net framework version 4.8. Umbraco requires much higher standards (.NET 7, for example).
Also, both hosting companies require you to create the website on your own machine and then FTP upload it to Plesk.
So, if I did find a hosting company that could handle Umbraco, would I download it and run it in Visual Studio, and then FTP to the hosting company because I didn't see anyway to run Umbraco on either Godaddy or Gatorhost even if they did have higher versions of .NET

Before you go any further, are you 100% sold on using Umbraco?  This seems like a robust product and shared hosting may not be a good choice even if godaddy did have .net 7.  For what it is worth, any of the members here generally have nothing good to say about godaddy as far as being a web host. The other issue is their sql servers are shared and I found that slowed things down for something other than a personal site. 


So first, download Umbraco and set it up locally on your own PC. Download IIS and MSSQL server if you have not done so already. Make sure that this is what you want before getting deep in hosting.


Now that you decided that is what you want and you can see your hosting needs will be a little more advanced, look for a VPS which is a slice of dedicated hosting or use cloud based hosting. Either option will act like dedicated hosting and allow you to add the version of .net you want and you will also add mssql separately. Typically Web version of MSSQL is $35 to $75 per month depending on the host/service. That will be on top of your hosting charges. Expect to pay $100 to $200 per month.  I have been using https://www.liquidweb.com/ for over 12 years because of the service. You can find less expensive services, but when you add up all that you get and the assistance, it is worth it.


My gut feeling is Umbraco is not what you are looking for if you need drag and drop. It seems more like a developers CMS.  Test it out locally and see what you think before putting more effort in t his.



Before you go any further, are you 100% sold on using Umbraco?  
No.
All I want to do is to do here is to find a good place to put my ASP.NET code.
I don’t really understand what it Umbraco is. A CMS? I don’t understand what a CMS is. It seems to me like you’re saying I’d use it instead of a host?
My main purpose here is to find a good hosting company. Whether I use a CMS or not seems like something farther down the road.
I don’t know what VPS is.
As for cloud hosting, are you saying I could use Azure instead of a hosting site like GoDaddy?

Let me clarify what I’m trying to do: I have been a .NET C# programme for many years. A friend wants to start an online business and has asked me to create the site for him (QR codes, payment system) etc.
I figured that after I make his site, I can make other sites for other people.
If I can get my hand on a good host, I can program anything I want. But so far, WIX doesn’t allow basic conditional logic in its drag/drop design (WIX is all flash an no substance). GatorHost has horrible support and their site doesn’t work right. GoDaddy uses Plesk which uses .NET framework 4.8 which to me is ancient.
I just need a good place to do my ASP.NET MVC Core coding with a SQL Server backend, QR codes, and the ability for payments. In four days, I’ve found nothing suitable. Instead, I’ve just been pulling my hair out with GatorHost support.
I'm going to look into liquidweb.
Here's an update.
After many, many hours with customer support on several hosting companies, here are my findings:

Hostgator is the worst of any I've checked so far. Their customer support is very slow and unclear.
Furthermore, when I click on "Launch Plesk" it gives me a warning that the connection is not secure. I had to get a link from customer service to get a secure connection.
Also, their answers to my questions involved links to instructions that didn't pertain to what I was asking.

Godaddy is not as bad as hostgator, but still very bad.

Wix had good customer service, but their drag/drop could not do basic conditional logic. They're all flash and no substance.

 https://www.liquidweb.com/  has the best customer service so far. Their VPS is expensive, but I might try it anyways.


Wix is actually pretty powerful. I wouldn’t discount it. It is not a .net platform. It will be the easiest for you to get started.


I have worked with many hosts and have not found anything close in support to liquidweb.


It sounds like you are experienced with .net but perhaps not as a web developer. That is going to be frustrating for you during the learning curve of HTML, CSS and JavaScript…and creating a responsive page.


Generating a QR code is easy and can be done using an online tool, plug-in or JavaScript library. Forget about that for the moment and concentrate on what you need to make the site.


no drag and drop will do anything but static. What you can do is drag and drop your multiple conditions and then manually enter your logic using JavaScript.

If the site is for selling items, you should also look at shopify.com

Hi Scott,
Thanks for your help.
ASP.NET Full Stack web development is most of what I've done. While I've worked with JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc., ASP.NET comes bundled with Bootstrap which helps create responsive pages easily.
I tried WIX with the help of one of their customer reps and it was frustrating. For example, we couldn't even get it to do a simple 3 out of 5 choices logic. He finally said that it couldn't be done without code to which I thought, I might as well do the whole thing with code.

I'm building this first site for someone else. The site has customers fill out a questionnaire and based on their responses, get a specialized service.

At this point, I'm not wondering what technology to use to build the site. It will definitely be in ASP.NET since that's what I'm good at. The question is, who will host it? So far, it looks like liquidweb's VPS is the best solution.
I'm going to count that as the right answer.

thanks
The suggestion for liquidweb was the best answer. The only solution I haven't tried yet is an attempt to use a cloud based platform like Azure.

That is a good choice as far as hosting. When you have issues like getting you started and server issues, they are very responsive. They accept phone calls, chat or email. There are many times where it is easier to just call and knowing that the person that takes the call is able to handle 95% of the issues without having to get somebody else involved makes it easy.


You said  you didn't know what a CMS is. It stands for Content Management System. It would be very similar to how you post content here on EE with additional options of course. The main idea is to make it easy for anybody to add content and not have to worry about knowing HTML.


If the person you are building the site for will not be adding content on a regular basis, as a developer it can be easier to take a static site and wrap your logic around the elements to use your database. You can pick out a template like those from https://themeforest.net/category/site-templates and just replace the content with your own. 


When I know the client will want to update just a few things on a regular basis, I have created an admin area for them what contains a list of each page, click on it to get a wysiwyg box using tinymce or ckeditor. Provide just basic input options like you have here on EE and an option for uploading an image. This keeps the page structured. If they are going to be adding a lot of content on a regular basis, what you can create on your own will be too basic and that is where a CMS that is already built will make your life easier. 


For a CMS, in addition to Umbarco, look at https://www.mojoportal.com/ and https://www.dnnsoftware.com/ to determine what is best for you. Another option is Kentico but that is priced for the enterprise. If you do go the route of building out your own, you may be familiar with Progress/Telerik.  KendoUI has some good UI options where you can choose if you want to use jquery/pure js, vue, React or Angular. You can license without the .NET wrapper or license the version with the .NET wrapper. You can use it without, and just supply the data on the back end as an endpoint.


Good luck!