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10/14/2014 9:28:45 AM
Putting Access Databases on the Web
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Facebook Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on Google Plus Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost

 
textI've been getting this question a lot lately: "How can I put my Access database online so other people can use it?" There are several different things you can do to put your database online, depending on who your users are, what kind of security you need, how much work you want to put into development, and what you want the end-result to look like.

Option 1: Access Front-End, Hosted SQL Server Backend. If all of your users are working on desktop PCs (or laptops) with Windows and copies of Access, then I recommend using an Access database front-end file (a database that contains your forms, reports, code, etc.) attached to a SharePoint or Microsoft SQL Server to get the data. I cover how to set this up in Access Expert Level 24. The benefit of this method is that you get to use your actual Access database as it is now, and you can just move your tables up to SharePoint or SQL Server. Relatively easy. The down-side is that distributing updates to your front-end can be a bit of a pain. You have to send them new Access ACCDB files when you make changes. Not terribly hard. Your end users need a copy of Access installed, but you don't have to BUY Access for each of them. You can just get the FREE Access Runtime Edition. I find that this is the BEST solution available for teams of users (employees of a company, for example), but it doesn't make a good public-facing option. Best of all, SQL Server hosting through companies like GoDaddy is real cheap. You can get set up for less than $10/month.

Option 2: Access Web App. If you want your team of users to be able to access your data from a variety of devices (phones, tablets, Macs, etc.) then you can create an Access Web App. This is a database that resides completely on the SharePoint / SQL Server and provides you with an interface that you design that runs completely in a Web browser. This is OK for REAL SIMPLE databases. The technology is still in its infancy, so I wouldn't plan anything too elaborate as a Web App, but if you just need a simple customer/order/contact lookup system, this works fine. Yes, I'll be doing a seminar on this in the near future. Yes, you can make an Access Web App public-facing, but it's not very useful as the data is READ-ONLY to the public. You can use this, for example, to browse a product list.

Option 3: ASP Web Site. The third option is to create your own web-based database using ASP (Active Server Pages) and a back-end database (which can be in Access or SQL Server). I teach how to do this in my Access Web Database Seminar. This is the ONLY OPTION that I recommend if you have a database that needs to be viable for PUBLIC use. Every other option on this list is only good for trusted groups where your users have usernames and passwords to log in. If you need to be able to collect public data on your web site, or let users to your site view data, then THIS is the only option I recommend. My web sites are all built using ASP and either an Access database or SQL Server for the backend storage.

Then, of course, there are a million different types of remote access solutions. If you only have one user at a time who needs to work remotely you could set up Windows Remote Desktop or VNC. If you have a few users and a Windows Server you could use Terminal Services which is like Remote Desktop for multiple people (you'll need server licenses, of course). And there are a million different third-party "remotely access my server" programs out there.

My Recommendation: if it's a group who can use PCs with Access, and you want the FULL capabilities of the Access desktop application you've spent a lot of time building, then go with option 1. If people need to use phones/tablets, and your data collection needs are REAL simple, go with option 2. If your database needs full-scale PUBLIC access, with user account creation, logons, shopping carts, and the works, you pretty much need option 3. Personally, I use option 3 for just about everything that I do because I love to program in ASP. It's fast, easy (for me), and secure. But that's just my opinion.

UPDATE: I've also heard from a lot of people who just want to be able to access their Access databases remotely while they're on the road. If this is the case, all you really need is some kind of remote-access software. I personally use TightVNC. It's easy to use, relatively simple to set up (you need to open a port in your router firewall, but if you are building Access databases, you should be able to follow their instructions to do that) and there are client applications for PC and Android, so you can even access your database on your phone or tablet. I use this solution myself when I'm on the road if I need to get into my Access database to check customer service or orders.

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Keywords: access web database
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from Bernard Goah @ 6/13/2016
Thanks a million Richard.
You are truly the best I must admit.
I have watched your videos and I am not well grounded in MS Access.
I can pretty much build any database in MS Access using ERD.
I am trying to help a school system in a small district in Liberia West Africa track their students enrollment and registration. They want to be able to have a central location such as a SQL dataset of MS Access database where the Educational Officer is able to track students records but through a website. That means they want to enter data from all school in the various towns and access the data at a central location such as a SQL database or MS Access database.  I have not tried to build ASP Website yet. They have MS Access on their various windows machines.  
Could you please let me know the cost of merging MS access with ASP.   Where can I find a video tutorial that will help me do this?



Reply from Alex Hedley:

See this Blog post

Web Databases Seminar
ASP Courses
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from Solution @ 2/6/2016
Simple. i have a webserver in he company NOT IN THE CLOUD OR INTERNET.
i want to share my access aplication so can user inside the network only can work on it.




Reply from Alex Hedley:

You could just use a file server and create a split db. See this blog post on methods.
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Web app to Access Comment from Yasser @ 11/25/2015
HI Richard, let me tell you that you are the best, sharing this level of information for people is outstanding, God will reward you well as you are really helping humanity,

My Q, am totally new to access, just used it before where i was not the D, so i want to develop access for my company as we have more than 1000 Employees and we are working with Excel mainly where I want to create a better system to work with like access but really can not make my mind about desktop or web app as it seems now its better to have a web based program or app to store data and much easier, Which road should i take??


Reply from Alex Hedley:

Web Access is still quite young and not as feature rich.
If you have access to a SQL server you could store the data there and link to MS Access Front Ends
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from Angelika @ 11/5/2015
If I have a database that is made to be a desktop type of database can I easily put it on the web or do I need to make a new web database and transfer all of my tables and stuff onto this new db and then hook up with a server?


Reply from Alex Hedley:

Have you used any VBA or are there just Macros?
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Splitting Multiple Users Comment from Michael H @ 11/4/2014
Hello Richard, We are an insurance agency with a growing group of agents. I would to split the front end from the back end(which will most likely need to SQL server for multiple users. My questions is, is there a class set up for User Login where they can only see their data and no one elses?? Each agent will have there own customer info, etc. The basic reports and user interface will be the same.


Reply from Alex Hedley:

Combining the Secuirty Seminars you will be able to achieve this.

The main Security Seminar covers how to lock it down to only curtains users and roles.
Once you've split the db and put it up into SQL Server following X24 you can use methods in Access to lock it down.
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from Larisa K @ 10/17/2014
I waiting for your "Putting access databeses on the Web" seminar.
Do you have any idea when you can start working on this?  Thanks you!


Reply from Alexander Hedley:

Hi Larisa, Options 1 and 3 are already available, were you wanting option 2?
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from Warren G @ 10/16/2014
Hi Richard- Do you have a timeframe when you will be doing courses on option 1 and 2?


Reply from Alexander Hedley:

Option 1 has already been covered in Access Expert 24

I'm sure option 2 is being covered soon.
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Putting Access Databases on the Web Comment from jim @ 10/14/2014
what is the difference between ASP classic and ASP.NET?


Reply from Alexander Hedley:

Hi Jim,
ASP Classic uses VBScript to talk to webpages.
ASP.NET is the new way to create webpages using either VB or C#.
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