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Desaware Licensing System Support

Hosting Solutions

Hosting the Desaware License server on a dedicated server (where you have full administrator rights and can configure the server at will) is simple, but we're often asked about hosting solutions.

We have two current recommendations for low cost shared hosting.

The first is to use the shared web hosting at Intermedia.net. Their Windows Basic plan is sufficient to run the server using a low traffic Access database. Upgrade to the standard plan to use SQL server. We have detailed instructions for installing the license server on a new Intermedia.net shared host.

The other is to use an entry level VPS (Virtual Private Server) solution. We have had success with the plans at vpsland.com. The Starter plan is fine for use with an Access database and would probably be fine with Mysql as well. We recommend going to the Value or higher plan for use with SqlExpress. We have detailed instructions for installing the license server on a new vpsland.com VPS.

We can't guarantee operation of the licensing server on any particular host. Different providers offer various features and place various restrictions on software installed on their servers. Problems do occur at times with shared hosting services. The key issues we've run into so far are as follows:

  • The licensing server does require full trust. This is because some of its features, including public key cryptography and serialization, require unmanaged code permission under .NET. Hosts which restrict permissions to ASP .Net components will not run the licensing server.
  • Not every ISP allows you to configure individual user accounts and secure pages on a site. Be sure you have that feature if you wish to use NTLM security (note, you can still use IP address control on those sites).

We've heard of customers having success with verio (www.verio.com). We also know of several customers running successfully on Intermedia (www.intermedia.net) and have ourselves configured systems on this host.

The licensing server is known not to work on shared hosts at 1and1.com, bcentral and current web.com shared hosts.

General Precautions for Hosting Services

Regardless of what server you use (dedicated, in-house, VPS or hosted), backups are critical. But you already know that.

Hosting services and hosted dedicated machines generally provide a higher level of both security and reliability than most businesses (especially small businesses) can achieve in-house. Nevertheless you should take precautions. Hosting services do experience disasters and financial problems (as do any business).

  • Keep frequent local backups of your hosted database.
  • Do not use a fixed IP address or subweb of the hosted domain. Better to use a subdomain of a domain name that you own and set up your DNS to direct to your hosted IP. This allows you to redirect license activations to any machine.
  • Buy your domain name from a domain registrar, not a hosting service, and be sure you own the domain name.

Installing the Licensing System server on an Intermedia.net shared host.

  • Note: Desaware will be glad to install your Intermedia.net license server for a $99 support incident fee.
  • Refer to the Intermedia documentation for setting up your account and domain, and learning how to use FTP to upload files to your site. As always, we recommend you define a subdomain such as licensing.yourdomain.com to refer to the site.
  • Install the license server on a local machine (you can install it as a demo). Find the directory into which the server was installed (typically under inetpub\wwwroot).
  • Create a subdirectory "licensing" (or name of your choice) under htdocs. Copy all files and directories to the licensing directory on your host. Delete the DLS10Server.dlsc file from the bin directory.
  • On the Intermedia control panel, select "Applications And Virtual Directories. Use the "Select a Directory" button to select the "licensing" directory. Then check "Create Application" and click the Create button to create the application.
  • Create a blank Access database, and copy it to the d:\home\yourdomain\database directory on the shared host (on older systems this might be d:\ftp\yourdomain\database). (Alternatively, create a SQL database using the Intermedia control panel).
  • On the Intermedia control panel, select "Site Users". Create a new web/ftp user called "licensemanager" (or name of your choice) that will be used to access the licensing system.
  • On the Intermedia control panel, select the application pool that you are using and select "Enable 32-bit applications" if you are using an Access database.
  • Make the following changes to the web.config file for the license server:
    •  In the <configuration> section but after the 
      configsections elements add: <location path="management.asmx"> <system.web> <authorization> <deny users="?" /> </authorization> </system.web> </location>
    • In the <assemblies> section Remove or comment out the tag that adds the assembly "ADODB"
    • In the <webServices> section, uncomment the <protocols> section to allow access to web based diagnostics. Be sure the <wsdlHelpGenerator> tag remains commented out.
    • Under <system.web> add <trust level="Full" />
    • Find the <customErrors> tag and change it from "RemoteOnly" to "Off"
    • Uncomment the <trace> tag, and in the <listeners> section change the target directory for the log file to "d:\home\yourdomain\database\liceneerrors.log" (this may be d:\ftp... on older systems).
    • In the <appSettings> section, change the ipfilter either to the IP of your client system, or to "1.1.1.1-255.255.255.255" (for all access)
    • In the <appSettings> section, set the connection string to the correct value and connectiontype to either oledb (access) or sql. The path for an access database will be "d:\ftp\yourdomain\database\yourdatabasename"
    • Add the following key to the <appSettings> section:
      <add key="alternatehostinstallpath" value="d:\ftp\yourdomain\database" />
  • With your browser, navigate to yourdomain/licensing/management.asmx. You should be prompted for the user name and password (use the licensemanager user if you created it). If you have modified your web.config file correctly, any errors that occur at this point will report error information. You should see a list of license server functions.
  • Invoke the "Test" method (this will build the database)
  • Invoke the "Diagnostics" method to see if there are any errors.
  • Perform a "Hosted Install" using your license key (leave blank to install the server as a demo). Copy the DLS10Server.dlsc file from the d:\ftp\yourdomain\database directory to the bin directory for your license server.
  • Run the Diagnostics function again and resolve any remaining errors. You can also look at the log file generated in the database directory.
  • Run your license manager application. Set the host to the URL for your new license server (remember to include the path as well as the root domain, i.e.: yourdomain/licensing/management.asmx). You will be prompted for a user name and password. Be sure to select Basic Authentication. You should see the server and be able to create your application at this point.
  • In your web.config file, do the following:
    • Uncomment the <wsdlHelpGenerator> tag under the <webServices> section.
    • Change the <customErrors > section back to "RemoteOnly".
    • Comment out the alternatehostinstall key in the <appSettings> section.
    • Comment out the <trace> tag to turn of diagnostic logging.
  • For added security, if you have a fixed IP client, use the ipfilter to restrict access to the management page. Remember that you can use SSL as well to provide added security in using the management interface.
  • If you have any problems, please include the output of the diagnostic command along with the server's diagnostic log files with your support inquiry. Also, go through the check list in our server configuration guide - this will help you to resolve any issues.

Installing the Licensing System server on a vpsland.com virtual private server

1. Visit vpsland.com and sign up for a Windows VPS plan. We recommend and have tested our software on their Value plan. During checkout, please request that they install the .NET 2.0 framework and SQL Express 2005.

2. If you forgot to do so during signup, submit a support request asking them to install the .NET 2.0 framework and SQL Express 2005. This should be a free service.

3. Once you have your account, log into your VPS using Remote Access.

4. Open IIS Manager (Control Panel- Administrative Tools). Start the default web server.

5. Using Internet Explorer, download the licensing system server software. You can use the link provided during your purchase, or download the latest server components from our download site. The only difference between the trial and full version is the use of an installation code during the install. You may need to add desaware.com to your list of trusted sites, as IE is in high security mode by default.

6. Unzip the downloaded zip file, placing the 2.0 installation programs in a directory of your choice.

7. Run setup.exe to install the licensing server.

8. During the installation you will be prompted to choose the database. Choose SQL or Access as you prefer. Enter your licensing code if you purchased the product.

9. Go to computer management (Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Computer management) and choose "Local Users and Groups". Create a new group called "LicenseAdmin" (or name of your choice). Add the administrator to this group, and/or create an additional user account for this group. This will be the user account you will use to manage the license server.

10. Open the IIS Manager again. You will see under "Default web" a new web application called "LicenseServer". Right click on on the application and select properties. Choose the ASP .NET tab, and make sure the version of ASP .NET is set to 2.0 (the default is often 1.1).

11. Using IIS Manager, click on the file management.asmx. Select the "Security or File Security" tab. Click on the "Edit" button at the top right. Uncheck the "Anonymous access" check box and make sure the NTLM (Windows) authentication is checked.

12. Bring up the Services settings (Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Services), select "World Wide Web Publishing Service" and right click to show the Properties window. Change the Startup type from Manual to Automatic.

13. Open the web.config file using Notepad (navigate to it using Windows Explorer - it will be under c:\inetpub\wwwroot\licenseserver. Make sure you have an entry under the application settings as follows:

<add key="allowedroles" value = "YourServer\LicenseAdmin" />

Where YourServer is the name of your VPS server, and LiceneManagers is the name of the group you defined earlier in Local Users and Groups.

14. Run your license manager software on your local system and use the Set Server command to connect to your new server. The URL will typically be in the form nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn/LicenseServer/management.asmx (where nnn are the components of your IP address.
You should be prompted for your user account and password.

If there are problems connecting, you should see a dialog box with diagnostic information. Please copy the information and include it with your support inquiry. Also, go through the check list in our server configuration guide - this will help you to resolve any issues.


 
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