Easily Share Your Microsoft Access Database Online
This is Richard Rost from Access Learning Zone. I've recently teamed up with Access Database Cloud to provide a fantastic way for you to share your Access database online, over the internet, with your team with almost zero setup work.
In the following videos, I will explain how it works, why this is a great solution for most people, and what you need to do to get started. I'll also show you how to set up your database and get up and running.
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One of the questions I get asked all the time, almost daily, is "how can I share my Microsoft Access database with my co-workers over the Internet?" Well, there are a lot of different solutions available. I generally recommend a solution based on your needs.
First of all, a lot of people tell me they are trying to share their Access database using Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. Do not do this! That's a big no no! Access databases will not work reliably over these file sharing services. You will corrupt your database. Very bad. I love Google drive. I use it all the time myself, but don't use it for an Access database.
If your team is already online using SharePoint, then you can migrate your tables over to SharePoint lists. However, this method does involve significant setup work to get your tables transferred over, and you may have to make significant modifications to your database front-end to get it to work right. I've got an hour-long SharePoint Seminar that covers how to do this, but again, I only recommend it for organizations who are already setup and using SharePoint.
Another option is to upgrade your back-end tables to SQL Server. This is a great solution for anyone who wants to have a public-facing database. If you want to distribute a locked-down front-end to your suppliers or customers, or even attach your database to a web site, SQL Server is your best bet. However, this solution also requires a significant amount of time and a steep learning curve. Again, I've got a 4-hour seminar dedicated to this.
If you want to be able to use your Access database remotely without making any changes to it, and you don't mind leaving your office computer running 24/7, then you can use a remote desktop solution to log in to your computer remotely. I personally prefer Google's Chrome Remote Desktop. I use this myself when I'm travelling. I've got a free lesson that explains how to set it up.
However, this is really only good for one user at a time. You can't share the database unless it's already shared on your office network, and even in that case all of those users would need to leave their PCs running. This is fine for a single user remote solution. However, if you've got a whole team of people that need to share an Access database, there's a better way.
Access Database Cloud
Introducing... Access Database Cloud. This is an online service specifically tailored to Microsoft Access users who want to set up a shared solution so that your entire team can work with your database remotely, 24/7, from anywhere in the world. As long as you've got an internet connection, you can share your Access database.
Access Database Cloud is essentially a remote virtual PC that is set up for you and your team. Each person will get their own unique virtual desktop. You simply copy your Access database up to the remote PC and it will run right in your web browser. If you've got a database that you want to share with multiple users, you just split the database, put the back-end file in a shared folder, and give each user a copy of the front-end file. It’s that simple. Then you're all sharing the same database, remotely, from anywhere, using your web browser. This also means you can use almost any device too: cell phones, tablets, laptops, you name it.
Why am I recommending Access Database Cloud? As I mentioned earlier, I get asked for help with this all the time. Especially with the global pandemic, more and more people are working from home. The need for a way to use an Access database remotely has never been greater. There are other solutions available, such as Sharepoint or SQL Server, but these solutions involve a lot of work. People have been bugging me and bugging me to find an easy solution that requires little to no setup. Well... I found one. Access Database Cloud is the easiest solution that I've found for someone who wants to just take their database, put it online, and get to work without spending weeks migrating to another platform.
Now, if you've been one of my students for any length of time, you know that there have been very few products or services that I have recommended over the past 20 years since I've been online. Something has to really impress me to get my endorsement. So when I was initially looking for a solution, I contacted the folks over at Access Database Cloud, told them what I was looking for, and they set me up with a free trial account so I could play with it. I spent about 2 weeks setting up a shared database, running it through the ringer. I was actually trying to break things and see if I could bypass security. Nope. My database ran great. I had zero problems during my two week trial. Their customer service people were very helpful anytime I had a question. I was very impressed. So, I decided to offer this as a solution to my students.
Now let me tell you a little bit more about Access Database Cloud and their service. I'm going to steal - I mean - borrow - Some stuff from their web site. First, as I mentioned, you can use this service anywhere. The office, home, job site, travelling, even at the beach. As long as you have Internet service, you can use your database.
You can use your database on any device. I was really impressed with how well their interface worked in my web browser. You can use it on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or even your phone. It works on Windows, Android, and, yes, even Apple devices. I've got lessons to show you how to redesign your interface to fit any screen. All of your employees can use your Access database simultaneously, just as if you were all working together in the same physical office. I tested this myself. It works perfectly.
As I mentioned before, this is the best solution available for someone who wants to share a database online and not have to make any changes to it. Yes, all you have to do is copy the database file up to a shared folder and everyone can start working with it right away. Of course, there are some "best practices" things that I recommend you do, such as splitting your database into a front-end/back-end solution and properly securing everything (and I have classes to show you how to do that). But using Access Database Cloud is just as easy as sharing your database on an in-house, local area network. Much easier than setting up SharePoint or SQL Server.
The folks at Access Database Cloud were kind enough to give me a free demo to set it up and test their service so I could see how well it works for myself. I even got an email from the founder and CEO, Joe Richardson. Now I thought they were doing this for me because they know that I'm a big shot YouTube Access superstar. Imagine how surprised I was to find out they do that for everyone. And here I thought I was special. Ha ha. But seriously... Schedule a free live demo for yourself. You'll see just how easy it is to set up a database. I'm putting together a step-by-step tutorial on exactly what you need to do to set your database up on Access Database Cloud. Look for that on my web site at the link shown.
Now when you set up your account, there are a few ways they can configure your cloud computer. You can either get it set up "barebones" with no extra software besides Windows, or they can set it up for you with the free Access Runtime Edition, which is fine for using your database online, or they can set it up with the full Microsoft Office. You will have to provide your license for Office when you open it for the first time. I recommend getting your account set up with Access Runtime. This way everyone can use your database without paying for extra copies of Access. If you want to make changes to the design of your database, you just do that locally on your PC and then upload the new front-end. If you're not familiar with how to use Runtime, check out my free video on it.
A lot of people are concerned that their database will run a lot slower online. In fact, in my experience, the opposite was true. My database actually runs faster over Access Database Cloud than it does even in my own office. That's because when you use a shared database on a local file server, all your data has to travel over the wire from your server through the LAN to your PC. Access has to crunch through all the information. If you want to see all of your customers from Florida, Access has to pull all of your customers over the wire and then your local database query figures out which records to show you. With Access Database Cloud, the virtual PC does all the work very fast and just transmits the updated screen to you. It's quick.
This is one of my favorite things: they set up the virtual workstations for you. They manage them. They deal with updates and security and all that stuff. All you have to worry about is your database. I used to love running my own servers. I've always been a nerd so that stuff always fascinated me. I used to run my own Windows server locally, maintained my own web server, all that. But over the years as things got more technical, and after getting hacked a few times, I decided that letting the experts manage my servers was the way to go. I'm not a Windows Server expert. I'm not a web server expert. I'm an Access Database expert. That's my forte. That's what I want to spend my time on. So, Access Database Cloud will manage and maintain everything for you, so all you have to worry about is your database.
One thing that surprised me is that they also include nightly backups with your monthly fee. A lot of other server providers charge extra for this. If you've been a student of mine for any length of time you know my mantra is backup, backup, and backup again. So this is nice. They have 20 geographically separated tier 3 data centers. Basically that means if one of their data centers gets hit by a giant meteor, your data is still backed up off-site.
Access Database Cloud offers a 99.95% uptime. They have an impressive list of security stuff, firewalls, fully redundant fiber optic network, and all that jazz that you don't have to worry about. They take care of all that stuff for you. But trust me, they’re secure and reliable. I had zero problems using their service. They also have a ton of certifications including HIPPA and CSA STAR.
Another nice feature on Access desktop cloud is the screen share. Let's say a manager wants to train a new employee on how to do something in the database remotely. All you have to do is click on the screen share option and you can see the other person's screen and walk them through anything you'd like. Great for remote training or help.
If you need any other apps installed on your remote desktop, such as Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) or pretty much any other application, they can install and set it up for you. That's kinda cool. I personally only use Access remotely, but if you want to share Excel files, have a custom accounting package you need, or anything like that, they can accommodate you.
Now I've seen remote virtual PC services cost upwards of $100 per month, depending on configurations, and whether or not you wanted to share data with other users. Some charge extra for bandwidth or storage. Access Database Cloud is very affordable at just over $1 per day per user. That's nothing for fully-managed, high-speed, shared connectivity for your database. As of right now, March of 2022, they charge $37 per month per user plus a small monthly maintenance fee. There are no long-term contracts. You can cancel any time. This is the easiest, most cost effective way for you to share your database with your employees.
As I mentioned earlier, once I realized how Access database cloud would be a perfect fit for a lot of my students, I decided to team up with them to offer this service. So yes, full disclosure, I signed up for their affiliate program. I will get a small commission for every customer that signs up for an account with them. However, I have recommended very few products over the past 20 years, and I never endorse anything that I haven't fully tested myself. And this is one of the best services I've come across in recent years. In fact, I like their service so much that I'm planning to put together additional video tutorials on how to set up your Access database on their service to get the most out of it. I'm fully committed to this solution.
Make sure you use promo code ROST and if you do decide to continue with a full account, you’ll get 10% off your first month. And be sure to let me know what you think of their service as well. I want to make sure my clients are happy with any service I recommend to them.
So that's it. Access Database Cloud is the easiest, fastest, fully affordable solution for sharing your Microsoft Access database online. Most importantly, it's fully endorsed by Yours Truly. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Thanks for watching.
Someone asked me how much storage space your Cloud PC comes with. 50 GB comes standard per account divided amongst your users. Additional space starts at 45 cents per GB. My entire site (599cd) runs on about 10 GB total, so 50 GB is plenty for most applications. Remember the max size of a single Access ACCDB file is 2 GB.
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