Traditionally a web server is accessed via TCP/IP port 80. Allowing access for devices outside your firewall will normally require that you open port 80 in your firewall for incoming traffic. This technique also works with the Dataceptor built in web server or when running Dataceptor through Microsoft Internet Information Server.
Using the Dataceptor Gateway is an alternative to opening port 80 for incoming traffic. The gateway is a service that is hosted in the cloud. When using the gateway the clients outside the firewall connects to the gateway service instead of the web server. All client requests are serviced by the gateway. Therefore, there is no direct contact between the client devices and the Dataceptor web server.
To process the client requests the gateway is in constant contact with the Dataceptor web server on the inside of the firewall. Requests from clients are passed on to the Dataceptor web server and processed. Results are returned to the gateway and sent to the clients. Communication between the client, gateway, and Dataceptor web server uses either the HTTP or HTTPS protocol. This means that communication can be encrypted using a 2048 bit certificate.
Should you use the Gateway?
There are pros and cons of using the gateway service. Usually the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
- Less infrastructure problems. No need to change firewall or router settings.
- Extra layer of security.
- Uses our SSL certificate. This saves cost and requires zero configuration on your side.
- Performance may take a small hit because of the extra communication layer.
- Monthly cost to cover the load you put on our servers.
- The URL to your service is limited to my.dataceptor.com/yourname if you want to user our SSL certificate.
It is important to note that the Dataceptor runs fine without the gateway service. The use of the gateway service is optional. It serves as a great alternative to the infrastructure and security requirements involved when running a web server on an open TCP/IP port.
The gateway service currently runs in the could on servers that we rent from Microsoft on the Azure platform. To maintain the gateway service and cover our server cost we charge a monthly fee for using this service.
You can select from different models depending on what you need:
Basic - $49 / mo.
With the basic gateway you can access your gateway through http://my.dataceptor.com/yourname. This service does not use SSL.
Pro - $98 / mo.
For businesses that want to use encryption. SSL and HTTPS is supported at this level. You can access your gateway through https://my.dataceptor.com/yourname.
Advanced - $198 / mo.
When using the advanced service, you can point one of your own sub domains to our gateway service and access your gateway from a custom name such as http://portal.yourdomain.com. This solution require that you can change the DNS settings for your company domain. Most domain owners have access to that but it requires a bit of work on both sides.
Advanced Secure - $398 / mo.
With all the value of the advanced plan you have the additional option to get an SSL certificate for your subdomain installed on our servers. This enables you to browse to your service through a secure URL such as https://portal.yourdomain.com.