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To DSN or not to DSN?
When you connect to a db you have a choice of how the .asp will connect to your Access or SQL server data. You can either establish a system DSN, or a DSN-less connection. (File DSN connections are also possible, but much less desirable than system DSN's as they can't handle multiple users and are essentially the same thing as a system DSN and will be treated as the same in this article). Each has advantages and draw backs. 

A System DSN is basically a registered pointer on the server that knows the name of the Access or SQL Server db your attempting to connect to. The advantage of a system DSN is that it reduces the amount of code in your application to make a connection to your db and if the driver your utilizing changes say from Access to SQL Server only one change on the server side has to be made.

A DSN-less connection declares the driver, the db name, and the path to the db location on the fly. These are the items that are normally contained on the server in a system DSN. 

So, what's the big deal? Well, most web hosting companies overcharge quite a bit of money for essentially a non-service. Most low end hosting packages do not include a DSN and charge $5.00 or more for a DSN set-up and monthly maintenance of $5.00 or more just so the server knows where your db is and the name you like to call it (Sorry, it's the truth). In addition, the server must climb through the DSN registry and find your DSN name each time it's called. Depending on how you web hosting company's server is set up this could mean a loss in responsivness. You're also relegated to only using the one db in all your web applications. This could be lethal if your using Access as all of your user requests will be flowing to one Access db instead of sharing the wealth of user commands in say many Access db's set upon the server. Also, your applications can more easily be moved from one hosting company to another with a DSN-less connection. Just because your first company named the DSN the name you wanted it does not mean any other company you go to in the future will do the same. DSN-less connected applications are also much easier to move from PC to PC. If your applications are reliant on a local file or system DSN and you want to show your work to a friend, associate, or if you've gotten a new PC you do not need to re-register all the DSN names. 

So, the recommendation from is for a DSN-less connection wherever possible, however make certain that whichever web hosting company you decide to use allows access to the specific driver your looking to use prior to signing up as some companies do not have the drivers installed on the servers that are use for some packages.


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