Microsoft Expression Web is an HTML editor and general web design tool that was developed and released by the Microsoft Corporation.
History of Microsoft Expression Web
When it emerged from development, with the code name Quartz, it was a well-received product designed to take on Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, a leader in the web technology space.
Coming in at about half the price of the Dreamweaver product, the software got some early traction based on favorable reviews and a big price advantage. It was originally designed to be the successor to Microsoft Frontpage and has some similar features for those who remember using that tool.
However, the product was discontinued, although it is still available as a free download.
Using Microsoft Expression Web
You can still use Microsoft Expression Web to build your site, but be aware that you may not be able to get any support for the software from either Microsoft or your hosting provider.
Before we get to the hosting or the support, let’s take a quick look at what Microsoft Expression Web is—or was. Microsoft Expression Studio, which is now discontinued, was a suite of Web building and designing tools created in 2005.
Beware: Expression Web is No Longer Supported
As Expression Web is no longer being developed, it is also no longer supported by Microsoft. No further versions will be released, and Microsoft Expression Web Support is limited to what Microsoft calls “the established support lifecycle.”
Microsoft regularly retires products as it shifts corporate focus and is known to either completely abandon products or integrate them at down the road into an entirely different product.
There are many reasons to use a tool like Expression Web. It can make web design a much easier affair for the right business. You can access the best in technology for your site. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) format means you can see exactly how the page will look as you develop it.
The needs of a site can change over time. Having the ability to directly change a page when these priorities shift can be a smooth, satisfying process.
You can also quickly make changes after the fact. Page management is a simpler affair, as most web page development tools work with the active site and synchronize changes.
How to Get Expression Web
Expression Web is still available to those who want it. While previously a paid tool, it’s now a free download offered on the Microsoft website.
Image via Microsoft
Before downloading, it’s important to consider the lack of support for the software. It’s also highly unlikely that your hosting provider will be able to provide any sort of support should you choose to build your site with Microsoft Expression Web.
That said, Expression Web offers many benefits and useful features.
Useful Microsoft Expression Studio Features
Even though the Microsoft Expression Studio is an older tool, some users still might find it useful. It’s a very simple software, which can be a benefit for beginner web designers or those who don’t require a complex site builder.
Plus, there are some features that still make it a worthwhile choice, which are highlighted below:
Default cross-browser compatibility by generating valid CSS and HTML by default
Built-in code validators
Ease of use
Variety of tools, including link checker and site summary
Built-in preview tool for testing
Write Microsoft Visual Basic commands to set properties like borders and font options
Create basic ASP.NET pages, including creating master pages.
You can also create dynamic web templates that aren’t based upon ASP.NET and instead rely on pure HTML. These web templates can then be used to create a series of pages with a similar structure.
High Reviews from Users of Expression Web
Users report that Expression Web simply gets the job done and does it according to industry standards. This is critical for stability, integration, and even search engine performance.
Microsoft has gotten high remarks for the development of this product since the beginning, especially when it comes to the intuitive nature of the management and development interface.
How it Stacks Up to Competitors
With a low training curve and high regard, it may be the tool for you. Expression Web is a competitive option to Macromedia (Now Adobe) Dreamweaver, especially at the price of free.
A lot of people have been frustrated by the recent move by Adobe to a cloud licensing and app model because of the pricing, subscription basis, and complexity. This makes Expression Web even more competitive.
Is There a Successor to Expression Web in the Works?
Microsoft is a massive design and software development studio. It is possible that, despite the official retirement of support for this product, there may be a successor in the works.
If Expression Web sounds like it may meet your needs, it is worth a try. If Microsoft was to resurrect this product in some form, it is probable that it will incorporate a migration from this now-unofficial platform.
Pros and Cons of Microsoft Expression Web
Still not sure if it is the right choice for your needs? Consider the pros and cons of Expression Web below.
Free to download
No longer supported by Microsoft
Intuitive to use
Not as powerful as other options, such as Dreamweaver
Meets industry standards
Limited integration with PHP and Fireworks
Wide variety of tools
Lack of support means no more updates to tools or bug fixes
How to Publish Your Microsoft Expression Website
If you’ve created a Microsoft Expression website and you’re satisfied with the final design, then it’s time to upload your site to your web server. If you’ve previously created a Frontpage site that you’d like to upload, then you can use the Frontpage Server Extension from within Expression Web.
The process below will walk you through how to upload your new Expression site. Keep in mind, you’ll need to have a domain name and a host prior to uploading your site.
Obtain your FTP settings and information from your web host. These are normally given to you once you sign up for a host.
From within Expression click on the “Site” option and select Publishing Settings.
Click the Add button to create a new FTP connection.
Enter your FTP details given by your host, and select Add.
Congrats! You can now publish your Expression site to your host.
What to Look for in Microsoft Expression Web Hosting?
Since the site you’re creating with Microsoft Expression will be fairly simple you don’t need a web host packed with all the bells and whistles. However, you probably want a Windows server to host your site, instead of the popular Linux servers. Below you’ll find some of the host features you’ll want to look for:
Unlimited bandwidth and storage
A bundled domain name (always nice to have for beginners)
The option to utilize a SQL server for Windows database creation
ASP.NET server support
Solid server uptime
Multiple FTP account creation
Control Panel access for easy server management
Top 3 Hosts for Expression Web
Our hosting tool at the top of this page makes it easy to search through dozens of hosts based on the features you are looking for. Or, you can start by research my top three hosts for Expression Web listed below.
If you’re looking for a high-performance Windows host, then A2 Hosting is a solid option. This host offers high-performance servers at an incredibly cheap price. You don’t have to sacrifice your budget for a high-performing host.
You also have access to other development options like ASP.NET, and Microsoft SQL servers. It’s also equipped with advanced security measures that’ll help keep your site safe.
HostGator offers a great Windows hosting plan for beginners. Its plan is equipped with the popular Plesk control panel for easy server management and will let you accomplish tasks like email management, quick application deployment, and unlimited FTP account creation.
HostGator’s Windows hosting plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited MySQL database creation, and a lot more.
If you’re in the market for a higher-level Windows host then consider Liquid Web’s cloud VPS hosting. This hosting package is going to be more expensive, but for those who demand more server resources than a basic plan can offer, it’s a necessity.
With this host, you’ll have access to high-level features like advanced security, regular backups, unlimited site creation, an integrated CDN, along with easy server scalability.
Microsoft Expression Web Support Frequently Asked Questions
What is Microsoft Expression Web?
Microsoft Expression is a software tool, originally called Quartz, that can be used as an HTML editor as well as a general web design tool. The tool offers features similar to Dreamweaver, a tool made by Adobe Systems.
Am I able to download Microsoft Expressions?
Though the software tool is still available as a download, the last version was released in December 2012. Microsoft only has limited support for this tool which is only available until 2020 for customers who have purchased the product. Even if the product is discontinued, you can still use it to design your website.
What scripting languages are supported by Microsoft Expression Web?
How much does Microsoft Expression Web cost?
Though Expressions software was initially priced to be roughly half the cost of Dreamweaver, the software package is now free. Keep in mind that you should not expect any support for the free software from either Microsoft or your hosting company. However, users can get the support they need by posting their questions to the developer community.
Does using Microsoft Expression Web require a lot training or coding background?
One of main advantages of Microsoft Expression Web is that it is easy to use. The tool allows you to select the right technologies for your website and visually design it without having to hire web developers. Also, Expressions allow you to make changes on the fly, manage multiple web pages, and automatically update web host files after saving the changes.
Are there any upcoming releases planned for Microsoft Expressions?
Because Expressions has been discontinued, Microsoft has no plans for creating upcoming releases of the tool. However, Microsoft could create a new version of the tool or an entirely different tool with some features taken from Expressions.
What are some of the different products related to Expressions?
There are a number of products from the same family as the original Microsoft Expressions. These include Expression Blend, Web, and Design. The Expression Web and Design products can be downloaded for free while Expression Blend is getting added to Visual Studio.
Does Microsoft Expressions have a feature that can help with ranking my website?
Version 4 of Microsoft Expression Web uses a feature called SEO Checker which checks a user’s website and compares it against recommended SEO practices. Following the suggestions recommended by the tool may help improve organic search rankings but keep in mind that the tool needs to get updated rules since SEO undergoes constant change.
Does Microsoft Expression Web allow users to test web browsers unavailable on their system?
The Expression Web tool has a SuperPreview feature which allows users to view how their designs look on different web pages including browsers only available on Linux or Mac OS X.
What operating systems support Microsoft Expressions?
The Microsoft Expressions tool can only be installed on different versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. If you are willing to take a risk, it is possible to install the tool on Linux using a tool like WINE (Windows Emulator).
About Kevin Wood
Kevin got his start as a web developer. Now he spends his time as a technical writer and poet. His main interests are technology and human potential. When he's not diving headfirst into technical topics, you can find him scrawling lines of poetry and getting lost in the woods.
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Who's Best for Microsoft Expression Web Support Hosting?
We think LiquidWeb is the best choice for Microsoft Expression Web Support.