WebsiteSpark is a program by Microsoft designed to help jumpstart website development for small web development / design companies and Individuals.

To be eligible for WebsiteSpark, you must either be:

  1. An individual that does not own a company and does not work for a web design company.
  2. An employee for a privately held company whose primary business is providing web development / design services for its clients, and has no more than 10 employees.

Surprisingly as an individual I was able to enrol in the WebsiteSpark program.

Why would I want to enrol with WebsiteSpark?

What intrested me about WebsiteSpark is that i could get a licence for Windows Server 2012, something which would cost £100’s if i wished to purchase it. When enrolled you will be able to obtain several licences for a couple of Microsoft Products, including:

 Windows Server 2012 Standard (5x keys)
• SQL Server 2012 Web Edition (Static activation key)
• Visual Studio Professional 2012 (Static activation key)
• Expression Studio 4 Premium (1x Key)
• Expression Studio 4 Web Professional (1x Key)

All the downloads are provided through MSDN. From reading the WebsiteSpark website i gather you will be enrolled in WebsiteSpark for three years, however you must re confirm your membership at the end of each year, and have a live website at the end of the first year. Not a lot to ask considering what you get in return from WebsiteSpark.

Anyway after reading up on it i went through the process of signing up, which was simple enough. After i had signed up i was instantly allowed access to the downloads i mentioned above.

Screenshot: Windows Server 2012 downloads on MSDN, provided by WebsiteSpark:

WebsiteSpark MSDN Downloads
Downloads on WebsiteSpark provided by MSDN

I think this is great for people who can not get access to DreamSpark and do not have a Technet / MSDN subscription. WebsiteSpark is a great opportunity to test drive Windows Server 2012, and get some nice Microsoft Software for free in the process. You can also get up to $1400 in Windows Azure resources to design, develop & deploy your sites in the Cloud. I run my own website i setup with a friend, so this will be something i would like to have a go with and see how it compares to the setup we use at the moment.

I think thats about it for this blog, you can signup for WebsiteSpark over at:

Update: 12/03/13

Microsoft has discontinued WebsiteSpark stating:

Based on the changing needs of web developers, Microsoft has created new offers at no cost to help Web Pros like you continue to create rich interactive web applications. These resources are designed to help you design, develop, publish, and deploy world class websites.

Since Microsoft is making these powerful new resources available to you without cost, the WebsiteSpark program will no longer be accepting new membership applications.

To learn more about the many resources available to you, please visit


Matt has always had a passion for computers, gadgets and technology. He will never be found too far away from a good cuppa tea.


  1. Michael Fan Reply

    I am web designer, I am focus on windows system (C#) to build website.

  2. why do you need this garbage. Isn’t it obvious by now that all this software is just a free initial heroin to get you hooked up.

    Windows Server 2012 Standard? Just use Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or Debian or Centos.
    SQL Server 2012 Web Edition? Just use Postgres or Mysql
    Visual Studio Professional 2012? Just use Netbeans / Aptana / Eclipse.

    • Expression Studio 4 Premium ?? wtf do you even need these. use normal IDE like netbeans.
    • Expression Studio 4 Web Professional ?? wtf do you even need these. use normal IDE like netbeans.

    • You’re just being an ass @Jerr. Your list of functional opensource toys would never fly in an enterprise environment. Microsoft is a solid platform with a huge brand behind it. If you were a real developer you would embrace the popular and hugely installed platform and not rally against it.

      Those things you mention are fine in your momma’s garage but they would never fly in an enterprise with downtime penalties and SLAs. Be quiet son, the grownups are talking.

        • @Jerr
          You really have a closed perception… If everyone thought like you there would be NO innovation in the world.

          @Jim W
          You can’t base statements based on wikipedia. The same website that claimed Hitler was a baby swapped a birth by a time traveller.. But it turned out the baby they swapped it with was the evil one and became hitler.. All because of a linear timeline…

          However Linux is big in the enterprise world, I’ll agree with that.

          Microsoft have built a server for supercomputing (Microsoft Cluster Server/MSCS), but I recon it’s not popular because of the crappy expensive licensing methods they use. Also better speeds are obtained on a Linux box

          And as far as Linux goes.. It’s nowhere near as refined as it should be considering the amount of fanboys and devs that use it.. Games are crap unless you like sliding penguins down hills. GUI’s are tacky and unpolished in many cases and most people could never have it as a main OS as to a norm, it will be way too complicated to understand..

  3. I need One license for windows 2012, so , can I sell the 4 remaining keys?
    and for how much?

    thanks in advance.

    • Its against the licence to sell them, obviously no one can stop you selling them however its not something you should do. If you really want to I would make the buyer fully aware of how you got the keys.

  4. What happens after the 3 years subscription? It just ends? Do we have perpetual use?

  5. Hi Matt,

    I can confirm the whole thing working. I’m just downloading the 2012 Server ISO and got the key already….

    Thanks a lot for the infestigations… .-)


    • Hey Marcus,

      That’s great to here it still works, I hope you find Server 2012 as useful as I have.

      Its been a good learning experience for me so far, my blog is now hosted on Server 2012 too!

  6. Just as I was going to sign up, they changed it! 🙁 The new “offer” just seems to be a XAMPP like installation for free + free IDE… I was interested in the windows server 2012 + visual studio (full). Now I’m no longer interested in the offer which is basically the same as open-source, so why would I change now >_<

    I don't think there is a full windows sever 2012 standard edition included any more or am I wrong?

    • Nope you don’t really get anything at all now compared to the last offer. No Windows Server 2012 which is probably what appealed to most people. I agree there’s no real incentive now you would be better using open source solutions.

      • Are the Windows Server 2012 keys limited to the time you’ve got the account, or are they permanent?

        • That i’m not really sure on, all products on MSDN / Technet were permeant, however there’s talk of them expiring when your subscription does now.

          I have some Windows 7 installs i activated with a key from Technet back in 2009, all of them still work perfectly.

  7. “Microsoft has announced the retirement of the TechNet Subscriptions service”

    Are new Subscriptions for WebiteSpark now unavailable?

    • Yes, that has been the case for quite a while now. If you wish to purchase a Technet subscription you have until the end of the month.

  8. Hmm,

    what are the “cheapest” costs?

    Is Windows Server 2012 R2 in the current subscription included?
    Or another question: Will be exist a Windows Server 2012 Standard R2 edition?

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