Deploying Your DotNetNuke Portal

6 min read

Acquiring a Domain Name

One of the most exciting parts of starting a website is acquiring a domain name. When selecting the perfect name there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Keep it brief: The more letters that a user has to type in to get to your site the more difficult it is going to be for them to remember your site. The name you select will help to brand your site. If it is catchy then people will remember it more readily.
  • Have alternative names in mind: As time goes on, great domain names are becoming fewer and fewer. Make sure you have a few alternatives to choose from. The first domain name you had in mind may already be taken so having a backup plan will help when you decide to purchase a name.
  • Consider buying additional top-level domain names: Say you’ve already bought You might want to purchase as well to protect your name.

Once you have decided on the name you want for your domain, you will need to register it. There are dozens of different sites that allow you to register your domain name as well as search to see if it is available. Some of the better-known domain-registration sites are and Both of these have been around a long time and have good reputations. You can also look into some of the discount registers like BulkRegister ( or Enom (

After deciding on your domain name and having it registered, you will need to find a place to physically host your portal. Most registration services will also give the ability to host your site with them but it is best to search for a provider that fits your site’s needs.

Finding a Hosting Provider

When deciding on a provider to host your portal, you will need to consider a few things:

  • Cost: This is of course one of the most important things to look at when looking for a provider. There are usually a few plans to select from. The basic plan usually allows you a certain amount of disk space for a very small price but has you share the server with numerous other websites. Most providers also offer dedicated (you get the server all to yourself) and semi-dedicated (you share with a few others). It is usually best to start with the basic plan and move up if the traffic on your site requires it.
  • Windows servers: The provider you select needs to have Windows Server 200/2003 running IIS (Internet Information Services). Some hosts run alternatives to Microsoft like Linux and Apache web server.
  • .NET framework: The provider’s servers need to have the .NET framework version 1.1 installed. Most hosts have installed the framework on their servers, but not all. Make sure this is available because DotNetNuke needs this to run.
  • Database availability: You will need database server availability to run DotNetNuke and Microsoft SQL Server is the preferred back-end. It is possible to run your site off Microsoft Access or MySQL (with a purchased provider), but I would not suggest it. Access does not hold up well in a multi-user platform and will slow down considerably when your traffic increases. Also, since most module developers target MS SQL, MySQL, while able to handle multiple users, does not have the module support.
  • FTP access: You will need a way to post your DotNetNuke portal files to your site and the easiest way is to use FTP. Make sure that your host provides this option.
  • E-mail server: A great deal of functionality associated with the DotNetNuke portal relies on being able to send out e-mails to users. Make sure that you will have the availability of an e-mail server.
  • Folder rights: The ASPNET or NetworkService Account (depending on server) will need to have full permissions to the root and subfolders for your DotNetNuke application to run correctly. Make sure that your host either provides you with the ability to set this or is willing to set this up for you. We will discuss the exact steps later in this article.

The good news is that you will have plenty of hosting providers to choose from and it should not break the bank. Try to find one that fits all of your needs. There are even some hosts ( that will install DotNetNuke for you free of charge. They host many DotNetNuke sites and are familiar with the needs of the portal.

Preparing Your Local Site

Once you have your domain name and a provider to host your portal, you will need to get your local site ready to be uploaded to your remote server. This is not difficult, but make sure you cover all of the following steps for a smooth transition.

  1. Modify the compilation debug setting in the web.config file: You will need to modify your web.config file to match the configuration of the server to which you will be sending your files. The first item that needs to be changed is the debug configuration. This should be set to false. You should also rebuild your application in release mode before uploading. This will remove the debug tokens, perform optimizations in the code, and help the site to run faster:
    <!-- set debugmode to false for running application --> 
    debug="false" />
  2. Modify the data-provider information in the web.config file: You will need to change the information for connecting to the database so that it will now point to the server on your host. There are three things to look out for in this section (changes shown overleaf):
    • First, if you are using MS SQL, make sure SqlDataProvider is set up as the default provider.
    • Second, change the connection string to reflect the database server address, the database name (if not DotNetNuke), as well as the user ID and password for the database that you received from your provider.
    • Third, if you will be using an existing database to run the DotNetNuke portal, add an objectQualifier. This will append whatever you place in the quotations to the beginning of all of the tables and procedures that are created for your database.
      <data defaultProvider="
      SqlDataProvider" >
      <add name =
      "SqlDataProvider" type = "DotNetNuke.Data.SqlDataProvider,
      connectionStringname =
      providerPath =
      objectQualifier = "DE"
      databaseOwner = "dbo"
      upgradeConnectionString =

  3. Modify any custom changes in the web.config file: Since you set up YetAnotherForum for use on our site, we will need to make the modifications necessary to ensure that the forums connect to the hosted database. Change the to point to the database on the server:
    <connstr> user
    id=myID;password=myPwd;data source=myServerIP;initial
    catalog=DotNetNuke;timeout=90 </connstr>

  4. Add your new domain name to your portal alias: Since DotNetNuke has the ability to run multiple portals we need to tell it which domain name is associated with our current portal. To do this we need to sign on as host (not admin) and navigate to Admin | Site Settings on the main menu. If signed on as host, you will see a Portal Aliases section on the bottom of the page. Click on the Add New HTTP Alias link:
  5. Deploying Your DotNetNuke Portal


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