Announcing the WebsiteSpark Program

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I’m excited to announce a new program – WebsiteSpark – that Microsoft is launching today.

WebsiteSpark is designed for independent web developers and web development companies that build web applications and web sites on behalf of others. It enables you to get software, support and business resources from Microsoft at no cost for three years, and enables you to expand your business and build great web solutions using ASP.NET, Silverlight, SharePoint and PHP, and the open source applications built on top of them.

What does the program provide?

WebSiteSpark provides software licenses that you can use for three years at no cost. Once enrolled, you can download and immediately use the following software from Microsoft:

  • 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • 1 license of Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web)
  • 2 licenses of Expression Web 3
  • 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • DotNetPanel control panel (enabling easy remote/hosted management of your servers)

The Windows Server and SQL Server licenses can be used for both development and production deployment. You can either self-host the servers on your own, or use the licenses with a hoster. WebsiteSpark makes it easy to find hosters who are also enrolled in the program, and who can use your licenses to provide you with either dedicated or virtual dedicated servers to host your sites on.

In addition to software, WebsiteSpark provides partner opportunities to grow and build your business (including customer referrals through our partner programs). It also includes product support (including 2 professional support incidents) and free online training for the products.

Who can join the program?

WebSiteSpark is available to independent web developers and small web development companies. The only two requirements to join the program are:

  1. Your company builds web sites and web application on behalf of others.
  2. Your company currently has less than 10 employees.

If you meet these requirements you can visit the WebsiteSpark website and sign-up today.

As part of the enrollment process you can pick either a network referral partner (for example: a hoster or an existing Microsoft partner), or enter a referral code that you have received at an event or from a Microsoft employee. If you send mail to you can get a referral code quickly. You can then use that code to enroll in the program on the WebsiteSpark website. Once enrolled you can immediately download and use the software, as well as begin to participate in the network/partner opportunities.

If you have any problems enrolling, you can also send me mail ( and I can connect you with someone who can help.

What happens after the 3 years?

WebsiteSpark is a 3 year program. There is no obligation to continue to use any of the software after the three years is over, and there are no costs for the three years other than a $100 program fee at the end of the three years.

At the end of the three years, WebsiteSpark participants can optionally choose to purchase all of the software in the WebsiteSpark program via a $999/year package. This includes 3 copies of VS Professional, 1 copy of Expression Studio (including Blend and Sketchflow), 2 copies of Expression Web, and 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 and 4 processor licenses of SQL Server Web edition that can be used for production deployment.

Alternatively, if you want to purchase only the production server licenses, you can take advantage of a $199/year offering that includes both 1 Windows Web Server processor license and 1 SQL Server Web edition processor license. You can buy the quantity you need of this package at $199/year each.


The WebsiteSpark program joins the other two successful “Spark” programs we’ve previously launched - BizSpark for startups, and DreamSpark for students.

Coming at a time when the current economic climate is still tough, WebsiteSpark will help support developers and companies by providing the business resources, training, and software necessary for companies to get started and grow successful businesses on the Microsoft Web Platform.

Visit to learn more about the Microsoft Web Platform, as well as download and install the new Microsoft Web Platform Installer V2 we released today – which makes it really easy to quickly provision web servers and web development machines. You can then browse and download and use open source web applications from the Windows Web Application Gallery.

Hope this helps,


P.S. In addition to blogging, I have been using Twitter more recently to-do quick posts and share links. You can follow me on Twitter at: (@scottgu is my twitter name)

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