As far as I know, SquareSpace doesn't provide FileMaker database hosting. Maybe they do now, but I know that they didn't in the past.
However, I have had some luck with integrating SquareSpace sites with FileMaker. An example is this site for a local band called "Carbon Leaf." http://www.carbonleaf.com
The list of "Upcoming Shows" on the home page, as well as the complete list of future shows, are being pulled from a hosted FileMaker database. It was tricky, but it worked.
Maybe you can use a similar approach?
Thanks, Tim. I haven't gotten in touch with anyone at SquareSpace yet, but their website has absolutely no mention of FileMaker so likely they still don't offer the FM hosting we need.
Hi Alejandro, I had recommended Point In Space to the client, but they prefer SquareSpace. (Actually, I think they would prefer not to use FileMaker!) Anyway, I don't have any experience with FileMaker hosting services so I'm glad to get your endorsement of Point In Space. In my research they certainly seemed like the best bet.
If you are going to host a FileMaker database, I would strongly recommend that you convince the client to use a hosting service that specializes in FileMaker hosting. SquareSpace looks like a great Web hosting service, but I don't see anything related to FileMaker on their site. I think this speaks volumes when it comes to FileMaker hosting.
There are a number of good hosting services. Point In Space is one. I have used Triple8 Hosting service and found them to be reasonably priced and responsive when I needed help. Triple8 - FileMaker Hosting Services.
If you find out that SquareSpace has MySQL or MS SQL db, and that you can have PERMISSION to link to it with FileMaker, that may be the best of both worlds. However, some SQL dbs get quite complex, so get all the information you can before making that decision. I have many clients that work in both worlds out of necessity. Research ESS:
with this article: 13613 (or enter "ESS" in the search box)
If it turns out that SquareSpace isn't fully vetted and doesn't fully understand FM, it would be dangerous to host on their servers, UNLESS you have a dedicated server that you have full control over. Web hosts will often run their backups over your server...which is risky for open FM files. It's not a matter of "if" there will be a problem, it is "when".
Thanks to Bruce, Beverly and Joshua for your input. I was nervous enough about using a FileMaker hosting service, and the whole SquareSpace thing made it even worse. Your inputs give me helpful information for explaining to the client why it's important to use an FM host.
Of course, I'd contact SquareSpace support. I've found them pretty good in the past. But I am pretty sure that they do NOT support "normal" FileMaker hosting of the type you probably want. For that you need a specialized service like Point in Space or FM Hosting Pros. (Can recommend Point in Space without reservation. I have less experience with FM Hosting Pros but have been using them as well over the last half year or so, and they've been reliable; plus they're a little cheaper in some circumstances.)
Looking at SquareSpaces's feature page (here) I see that their developer platform supports JSON. Don't know much about it but do know some developers who are using JSON and FileMaker together. So it might be possible to integrate a FileMaker database (hosted somewhere else like Point in Space) with a SquareSpace website. But I reckon it would take a little work.
I have a client that's combining a website service (Weebly) with a FileMaker database. The client can go into Weebly to update basic content (company description, hours, upcoming events, blog, photos, etc). And there's a link from the Weebly site that goes to the login page for clients that's hosted at Point in Space. The pages at Point in Space are used to allow my client's clients to sign up for events. Data goes into the back-end FileMaker database. So my client's clients access their sign-up forms using their browsers, but my client himself gets into the database directly using FileMaker Pro. And with a little attention to the design of the php pages, we've created a consistent look so that users hardly realize they've left one server and gone to another. Yes, this does mean paying two services (Weebly and Point in Space) for hosting, but the costs are very small.
I've also been happy with triple8.
As long as you are using a service that understands FileMaker hosting, I don't think you have a thing to worry about. They have methods to safely backup your files, upload and down load your files. They also have staff available to answer questions.
If you don't mind my asking, why does the client want to use SquareSpace?
Most of my clients fall into one of two categories. The first are those that are already using a FileMaker hosting service. So far in this regard, I have not had to recommend moving to another service. Either previous developers have brought them to a good service or they understood FileMaker well enough to select a good service.
The second category are those that have not used a FileMaker hosting service. For these I do a quick write up listing 3 or 4 of the services I think are good with the monthly cost that applies to their needs. I then let them select one from the list.
To be clear, so far I have not had one come back with a different service. However if they did and it wasn't one that does FileMaker as a regular service, I would strongly recommend against it. If they did select one that wasn't on my list, I would check the service out and if everything looks ok, I would go with it. There are a number of good services out there.
The key is that they offer FIleMaker hosting as a regular service. This would mean that they understand that FileMaker databases can only be backed up by FMS, and that Databases are not being scanned by anti-virus systems. Backing up open databases with standard back up software or scanning open databases with Anit-Virus software will corrupt the file. Probably not on the first go round, but sooner or later it will be a problem. If you check the archives here you will find a number of stories that back this up.
I'm probably repeating what others here have already said. I just want you and your client to avoid problems and have a good experience with this.
Hi Bruce, one part of the client organization decided to go with FileMaker. But the IT person, who is insisting on SquareSpace, has been throwing up roadblocks all along. My suspicion is that he doesn't want anything to do with FileMaker and is trying to make the project fail. At this point I'm planning to take all the excellent advice people have given here and insist on a real FileMaker hosting service, and hope that the client section that wants FileMaker speaks up in support.
Thanks to you and everyone else for all the responses.
I'm sorry to say this, but I have heard of IT departments throwing up road blocks like this. It happens in part because they haven't used it and don't understand it or it's requirements. Ok... In a former life I was an IT director for a big company and had to go through this a few times. It was easier for me to use what I new and what my staff had experience with then to try and learn a new system and teach my staff to administer it. In short, it was easier to say No first then let them change my mind. Part of saying No first would give me time to actually research the system and see if it was viable. I have to say it's tough being blind sided with a request about something I didn't know anything about in a meeting with all of the other department heads and our boss. No in these cases, would be more of a "let me look into this and I'll get back to you then a solid No we can't do this....
The other part of this came from the experience of putting up a little resistance up front would force the requester to show how much they wanted the new system/service. Once they showed that they really wanted to do something and could show valid reasons for doing it their way, I would get on board. In some cases, I would come back with the same service but a different underlying system.
Can't say all IT management staff do this, but it seems to be a repeating pattern. This is based on conversations I had with my piers in the field back then, it was much easier to say no or put up a bit of resistance first and change to yes, then to say yes and find that the proposed system would not work and then have to say no. In the latter case the failure would become my fault.
So there you have the confessions of a former IT director.
When you meet with the client here is a summary of talking points that I hope will bring the IT department over to your side.
- FileMaker is world class database system used all over the world.
- FileMaker Hosting has specific requirements to maintain the integrity of the databases. These include:
- Database backup must be done be done by FileMaker Server only. Note: the backed up database copies can be backed up using standard backup software. It is just the live file that must not be touched.
- Scanning an open database with Anti-Virus software can corrupt a database
- A company that offers FileMaker hosting like Point In Space and Triple8 know this and have already implemented this in their systems.
- These companies will provide support if you need it.
Best of Luck
Please let me know if you have any specific questions about our services I can help answer, either here or off-list to jmay(at)pointinspace.com. Hopefully your IT staff will see the light eventually.
President - Point In Space