One thing that we, the ColdFusion community, have been hearing since the release of ColdFusion 8 is that hosting costs should come down. Adobe has been working hard to strike deals with hosting providers to provide hosting solutions that are as competitive as hosting for other server-side languages, such as .NET or PHP. They've been doing this by doing things like changing their EULA agreement to support multi-procs, disaster recovery backups, and VM hosting, as well as through special licensing deals. Unfortunately, outside forces are working against them in this.

>Hosting services contain a lot of other costs, that are generally hidden to the end user. One such cost is in server administration. Any developer, setting up their own development environment, will realize that the real manual labor is spent in IIS or Apache administration, DNS management, SQL configuration and the like. Most hosting companies utilize third party software to help automate a lot of these tasks, cutting maintenance time significantly. There haven't been many software control panels that support ColdFusion. Chief among these, for some time, has been Parallels Plesk Control Panel. This software is brought to you by the same folks who bring the popular VM used on Macs to virtualize Windows. It's an extremely nice piece of software, allowing a very nice interface that integrates with several key technologies used by most any hosting provider.

So you might be asking "What's the problem?" Well, the suits at Parallels have moved to a Software As A Service model, and the pricing structure has changed significantly. There were other options out there, like Ensim Pro, Helm, and H-Sphere, but Parallels bought them all up, effectively taking over the market for hosting Control Panels that support ColdFusion. Nice monopoly they have now, at least within our space.

Outside of the community banding together to write their own software, their aren't any other options currently available for a ColdFusion hosting Control Panel. There is a very nice package for Windows based systems called dotnetpanel, but they do not currently support ColdFusion. They are considering support, pending justification to build it. My friend Emmet McGovern, of Full City Media (the kind folks who host this blog, and who always have my thanks), is on a mission to give dotnetpanel that justification. He started a Forum Thread, on the dotnetpanel forum, to gather feedback from the CF community for dotnetpanel to add ColdFusion support to their Control Panel product. To anyone out there that acts as a hosting provider, and even to you CFers who've been waiting on lower cost ColdFusion hosting, I urge you to stop by their site and put in your vote.