FileMaker Hosting UK


Frequently Asked Questions

Make sure you have passwords set and that at least the master ([Full Access]) account has ‘Access via FileMaker Network (fmapp)’ enabled. Most customers will also want to ensure ‘Guest access’ is turned off. If you don’t know how to do these steps and don’t mind us seeing into your database just tell us - we are happy to do these steps for you…

FileMaker can corrupt files that are manipulated while open so it is best to quit the program full before duplicating, making any copies or moving your files.

It is a good idea to name your file something distinct as a file name can only be used once on a server so such names as ‘Customers’ or ‘Accounts’ are likely to have been used already by our other clients. In addition if you have more than one file you may want to prefix the file names with something like your companies initials so that your files are grouped together in any list of files as these are generally presented alphabetically.

If you are using FileMaker 13 or 14 and have asked for a trial in advance we will have sent you account details and instructions to upload the database yourself. However we are happy to do uploads for you. If your version of FileMaker is earlier our you don’t want the complication of uploading the database yourself then just send the file(s) by this Dropbox upload link https://www.dropbox.com/request/y6nxqPPjxosS6S436djc or by email if it is small enough.

When your free trial is over we will ask you if you want to continue and if so on which package. After that we will invoice you automatically when your pre-paid period expires - until you inform us you wish to cease hosting. If this happens during a period you have paid in advance for we will refund any unused whole months based on the appropriate monthly package.

  • If you are connecting from the UK you stand a better chance of a high bandwidth connection. You can test how well we are connected using the Speed Test tool which can be found in the Technical section of this website.
  • Low latency. If you use a US based server when you request data from it there is a delay caused by the distance involved. Some FMP operations require several calls for data from the server before displaying your screen so latency is particularly critical.
  • US-based servers are occupied by backups when European business hours start.

Prior to FileMaker 14 your database needed a continuous connection. If this was broken you got a lost communication message. The main candidates for connection breaks are, weak WiFi signal, poor ADSL connection, your processor went to sleep.

With FileMaker Pro 14 and Go 13 onwards we are in a better position as it is now possible to set an extended privilege for each account which makes it possible to re-establish a connection long after the connection was broken. FileMaker ships with a fmreauthenticate10 extended privilege which if ticked gives a 10 minute interval for reconnection but it is simple to add your own. eg fmreauthenticate90 would provide reconnection on an account up to 90 minutes after a connection was lost.

The best place to host is likely to be a well connected server in the country where most accesses will occur. We have a number of customers who connect regularly from within Europe including Italy, France, Spain & Germany. On a recent trip we experienced a very good connection from a hotel in Lipari (Sicily). It is best to avoid having your database hosted on another continent as over long distances the speed of light means that however fast your connection the database may seem sluggish.

We do but only in the form of dedicated servers. FileMaker have changed their terms and conditions to prohibit shared hosting for 15. Dedicated hosting is considerably more expensive than shared hosting and as a result most of our customers are keeping their files on 14. This does not prevent them connecting with FileMaker Go and Pro 15 and getting very nearly all the extra functionality that 15 brings.

No - we have to purchase/provide the licence ourselves, by paying for our service you purchase its use. Sadly if you already own a copy of server or have bought connections it is not possible to transfer them to us. If you recently purchased server software sometimes FileMaker will agree to refund the purchase.

We will not need to view your database so we do not need your password (unless you want us to set up a server script for you). You can use ‘guest access’ to give the public a read only view but remember once hosted on the internet it will be easy for others repeatedly try to access your system and try various passwords so it is a good idea to protect it with hard to guess account names and passwords (perhaps containing numbers as well as upper and lower case letters). It is also a good idea to hide files with guest access so only users following information you provide can ‘see’ the file. There is a section with a video on hiding your files under the ‘Technical’ section of this website.

One of FileMaker’s many strengths is that you can design pages, change structure, write scripts and many other things. with a hosted file on a remote server just as if it were a local file. One of the only functions that is missing is the ‘Save a copy as’ function. With a hosted file copies become a server function.

You can request occasional copies of your files by contacting us or if you make changes just after the top of a working day hour (when the hourly backup runs) or just after 30 minutes past an hour you can always contact us and ask for this to be restored if your changes go wrong. We charge for move than 3 manual request for copies in a year. If you have server control you can do this yourself but you will need to close the file on server before you can download a copy.

We offer an overnight Dropbox backup service for a small fee. This is a really good way of getting a recent copy as Dropbox only sends the changes to your files so for many the new copy will ‘arrive’ seconds after they connect each morning as only yesterday’s changes need to be transferred. As well as being fast this uses little bandwidth and is therefore much more efficient than the ftp service we used to provide.

Yes, you can have one server script that runs every night as long as it takes no longer than 4 minutes to execute. You can choose if it is to run near the end of the day or at the start of the new day. You can also have scripts that run more frequently during the day but we may charge for this. Server scripts can be tricky to get right so we set limits on script run time and abort the script if the limit is exceeded. This ensures a looping script does no affect other users for an extended period.

No. There a several possible causes. For instance if your internet connection is fully occupied with perhaps a large download, another is caused by quite small uploads where the user has an ADSL connection as the upload speed is tiny compared the the much advertised download speeds. If you have signed up for a system that continuously backs up your files over the internet (such as Backblaze) this can have a real impact of your database’s performance when hosted.

The affect has almost gone away but historically you used to be able to detect some slowness just after the top of the hour and at 30 minutes past each hour as our backups ran but due to changes in FileMaker’s software for many this affect is now unnoticeable.

You can ask for this facility. We have special rules for server control to ensure you do not impact other users by setting up processor intensive backups or server scripts at anti-social times of day. We do not charge for this extra facility but reserve the right to withdraw it if these guidelines are not adhered to and/or without giving an explanation.

We’re afraid not - you will have to upgrade them. It’s easy to do this for simple files. For more complex solutions you may need a developer to help you. It is also common for FileMaker .fp5 solutions to comprise many individual files and hosting companies such as ourselves tend to charge per file. In view of this you may want to combine files as part of the upgrade process.

In July 2010 FileMaker released FileMaker Go 11 for .fp7 files. Since then a version of Go with a matching number has been released to match each version of FileMaker. FileMaker Go allows hosted FileMaker files to be accessed with ease from the iPhone and iPad. The program has only a few limitations and works very well with our servers. These days there are some things that you can only do with Go such as signature capture and barcode reading. Sadly as each new version is released the old version of Go is taken off the App store - so if you are still using an old version of FileMaker the matching version of Go will not be available to you unless you installed it before it went off the App store. These is some degree of compatibility but some old versions don’t work with new servers.

Generally not. Please be aware that server versions of plugins also tend to be expensive. Please call us and discuss what will be possible and affordable. You can still have local plugins so you may not need a server plugin anyway.

You can read them here (PDF)

After a period of testing we generally run the latest versions of server software. We have kept a server 11 and a server 12 to keep compatibility for existing customers who don’t want to upgrade. Our 14 servers will work with 12 and 13 but these will need to have the latest updates to connect. Because they cannot be upgraded it is not possible to connect Go 12 to our 14 server. Go 13.09 should connect just fine.

Our servers have spare processor time and their connections to the internet are fast. However this is not the whole story. The speed you connect to the internet is crucial and as explained elsewhere the latency which a natural side effect of your distance from the server is important too. However the design of your database has a big infuence on speed. The more design elements and complexity your layouts have the longer they take to load. FileMaker stores your design and some of your data in local cache. This is updated as required from the server. Whatever the layout complexity the database will be slower at first and then speed up as you revisit screens and view data you have viewed before. If all your layouts are full of data bear in mind that this will need to be delivered every time the screen is called. This can be bad news if your Internet connect is slow. Consider using simple page with a button to a details page.

WebDirect can sometimes be faster as the database has direct access to the server and only needs to deliver the end result but for Pro and Go avoid a lot of high definition graphics and avoid all but essential summary fields on layouts that total up long lists. A start up script that presents a limited number of recent records rather than everything can really help. Also portals with a lot of sorted data can take some time. FileMaker requests all lines for portals even ones that are out of view. This will be made worse if the portal contents are sorted. At least in older versions filtered portals do not help as all the data is still requested by you client software even if it is not shown. FileMaker tries to be clever in list view. It requests from the server all records in view and a few more. This way some scrolling may be instant. If you find you are scrolling a lot consider why you are doing this - perhaps you are scrolling to find things that would be near instantly found with a search.

Another factor can be tables with a lot of fields. A request for just one field will generally require the database to deliver all the fields for that record. With this knowledge you can often structure your database for speed by such techniques as moving container fields with graphics in them to another table that is accessed through a relationship or by splitting tables with lots of fields into two or more with a one to one relationship.

If you ever search unindexed data your searches will be slow as the system needs to read every bit of data to give a result. This can be slow even when working directly with the file on your hard disk. If you do this over the internet the delay before you see the results will be extended significantly. Again it is often possible to change the way the database works so your searched fields are indexed. Avoid sorting records except when you really need to. Lastly use the latest version of FileMaker as the company has made great strides in recent years and pretty well every version they have produced works better than the previous one over the Internet. It is normal for there to be a slight slowdown slightly as your file is backed up. However this is much reduced since FileMaker Server 11 and anyway only lasts a few seconds. See below.

During the European working day the served files are backed up at least at the start of every hour. All through the day and night another copy is also taken onto another disk on the half hour. These backups may be overwritten 24 hours later. In addition at the end of each day a backup is made that is kept a week. The end of day backup is transferred to another location where it is kept for 24 hours. We also try to keep an archive backup with end of day backups for the last 90 days. We now offer an extra service (generally an extra £5 per month) where an overnight backup is placed into a Dropbox folder you can access. This is a nice solution as Dropbox only sends changes that have happened in the previous 24 hours so little bandwidth is used and the process can be really quick.

FileMaker Go 13 and Pro from version 14 bcan be set to try to log back in without requiring a username/password after a break in communication. To set this you need to use a full copy of FileMaker Client and go to File…Manage…Security… in FileMaker the create a special Extended privilege called ‘fmreauthenticateNN’ (where NN is the number of minutes before the user must login again). Then set it to be used by the Privilege set the user is going to be using. Depending on the version you are using FileMaker Go may also have a setting for ‘Auto-Restore Login’ which you should turn on.

You can stop your file showing in the open remote dialogue by going to the File/Sharing settings. In a similar way you can stop it showing in the IWP list. From FileMaker 13 onwards you can do this with your already hosted file. For earlier versions you need to set the file the way you want it before sending it or by getting us to return your file while you make the change. While it is local you can also set the opening layout and the initial window size and position. These are stored when you close the file having made a layout change. We have a video in the ‘Technical’ area of this website that covers this.

Very occasionally customers cannot connect. This is generally a problem at the client’s end but we scan our servers every couple of minutes so we are the first to know if there is a server fault. Like all hosting companies on rare occasions we will be down for a few minutes for a security update (this kind of work is generally carried out late at night at weekends). In either instance we tweet the status on our Twitter feed @FMPHostingUK so you can check the situation in seconds.

If you have a laptop and go off to meetings where you may want to look up something from your database or just want the assurance that you won’t ever be cut off from your data we now offer a Dropbox overnight update sync. We set up a shared Dropbox folder where every night we put an overnight backup of your files. This means that as long as you are online for a short while in the morning you will have a near up to date copy with you. This service generally costs an extra £5 per month. The backup is delivered as read only so you will need to copy it before use.

FileMaker 14 and FileMaker 12 both use the .fmp12 file format and use the same fmapp protocol to connect to a server. As a result there is no file conversion required and in the vast majority of cases there will be no difference between your FileMaker files being hosted on a 12, 14 server. Nearly all the extra client features like popovers, conditional visibility and sliding panels work just fine.

There are two really big differences between the two server versions and some minor ones: Server 13 and 14 no longer supports IWP (Instant Web Publishing) instead it brings WebDirect it’s more capable replacement. However because of this enhanced capability FileMaker are charging hosting companies for each connection so in affect we need to licence a virtual copy of ‘FileMaker Pro’ for you. In addition the hardware requirements at our end are dramatically more than was needed for IWP. There is also a much lower maximum number of allowed connections for WebDirect so the costs need to be spread over a smaller number of users. All in all this makes it much more expensive for us to offer WebDirect and as a result we need to charge significantly more. FileMaker Inc have also taken the opportunity to introduce the same extra charge per connection for FileMaker Go 13 and Go 14 (iPhone/iPad). Again we need to pass this charge on. However the hardware requirements are much more in line with what went before so this increase is more modest.

A new script step has been introduced ‘Perform script on server’. This does need server 13 or 14. For capable developers it opens up new possibilities for high speed scripts. However is is not simple to use as scripts performed this way do not ‘know’ anything about the client software they are run from. For example which layout/record/found set the client is on. Everything like that needs to be passed as a script parameter or through field(s) in the database set up for that purpose.

The client software has many other new capabilities but are nearly all unaffected by the file being hosted on a FileMaker 12 server. We are very keen on FileMaker Pro 14 and FileMaker Go 14 and as well as the more obvious new features FileMaker have done a lot to increase security.

For some moving their files from FileMaker Server 12 to FileMaker Server 14 will bring no advantage and just increased costs. However if you want to make this change we have a trial server for you to test your files on. Just email us for your trial.

Give Crispin Hodges or Paul Jansen a call on 0044 (0) 1372 275 053 or email your query to hosting@filemaker-hosting.co.uk