Windows Hosts: The Details
Finding the right Windows hosting provider will allow you to continue using the Windows-based technologies that you are accustomed to—including the.Net framework, MSSQL databases, and ASP—in addition to maintaining Sharepoint and Exchange access and supporting languages like #C and ColdFusion. However, in addition to offering plans that support these technologies, the best web hosting provider will also have an experienced technical support team that is specialized in Windows servers and available to answer your questions.
To help you chose the best Windows hosting that is right for you, we have compiled our top recommendations.
Advantages of Windows Hosting
Even though Windows hosting isn’t a requirement for those who have a Windows-based system, it is often the best hosting solution available. This is because if you want to design your website with .Net script and ASP, only a Windows host will be able to properly support it.
Choosing a hosting plan can sometimes be a complicated decision because there are many factors to keep in mind. In addition to considering the benefits of various plans in terms of resource allocations, speeds, and capacities, you will also need to decide between different platforms: Windows vs. Linux.
Many are initially attracted to Linux hosting because it is the most affordable option as well as the most commonly used hosting throughout the world. However, the Linux configuration is not right for everyone, and though it may be a good general hosting option, it can prove to be challenging for those who want to use specific technologies and applications.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when deciding between Linux and Windows:
- You will need a Windows server if you want to support .Net scripts and ASP (active server pages)
- If you are using ColdFusion, Visual Basic (VB), or C# you will need a Windows server
- If you want access to Microsoft stack products like Exchange, or if you are designing your website with SharePoint, a Windows host is a requirement.
- If you want to use legacy content that was created with Microsoft FrontPage it is recommended that you use a Windows host since Microsoft will continue to sustain the FrontPage Extension through July 2015.
Disadvantages of Windows Hosting
One disadvantage of Windows is that it is not suited for CGI, PHP, Python or Perl. If you wish to use these, Linux may be a better option as it has more general capabilities. In addition, if you plan to use Word Press (or are already) you may be better off choosing Linux over Microsoft because there are many more support resources for this configuration in the event that a problem occurs—although WordPress is still compatible with Windows hosting too.
You will also want to check with your hosting provider which type of database they use. In general, Linux tends to operate on MySQL, while Windows typically uses MS SQL and MS Access. Lastly, if you know you will need to connect via SSH, then you will need to choose Linux hosting.
Control panels will vary from host to host, so unless you are ready to learn a whole new interface, you may be better off choosing a hosting provider that uses the same control panel you are already accustomed to. For example, if you are used to using Plesk or DirectAdmin, you’ll probably end up choosing a Windows host as they commonly use this type of control panel. On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with cPanel and WHM you’ll be limited to hosting on a Linux server.
One advantageous feature of Windows hosting is also that you can use remote desktop direct access directly from your PC or Mac to your server; however, this is typically only offered with dedicated hosting plans.
The Pros and Cons of Windows Hosting
If launching a simple website is your goal, you can accomplish this with any type of hosting. However, depending on whether you simply need general tools or are hoping to use specific technologies and applications, Windows may be a good option for you.
Pros of Windows Hosting
- The best Windows hosting is user-friendly and does not require a lot of interactions with the server’s common line.
- Better for beginners and inexperienced users as many consider it easier to update and manage
- Compatible with specialized script language
- Equally stable as Linux hosting when properly managed
Cons of Windows Hosting
- If the script you require is written in PHP it will be much easier to use a Linux server
- There is less support information on using WordPress with a Windows server than with a Linux server
- Windows is always pricier than Linux hosting which is why many who are on a tight budget are initially attracted to Linux
- Some hosting providers don’t offer Windows
- Not suited for Apache or Apache modules
- If you want to customize your server it is easier with Linux hosting
Overall Windows hosting is best for those who are willing to pay a little extra in order to get a hosting solution that requires less tinkering and have the power to create robust websites with specific technologies and applications.
Windows Hosting FAQ
Do I need a Windows computer to get Windows hosting?
No. The type of operating system that you have on your computer is independent of the type of hosting you can use. Similarly, if you choose Windows hosting that doesn’t mean you always have to use a Windows computer. You can have a Mac computer and Windows hosting, a Windows computer and Linux hosting, and any other combination.
Why is Windows hosting less common than Linux hosting?
The majority of websites in the world are hosted on a Linux server, primarily because it is efficient and free. IN addition, many applications and scripts have been developed specifically for Linux over the years which is why it continues to be the most popular options.
Why choose Windows when Linux is cheaper?
In some cases choosing Windows over Linux hosting may be more convenient if not required. Some websites need to be hosted on a Windows server in order to support specific scripts like .Net or to use Microsoft Exchange.
Can a Windows computer be used to host a website?
Yes! You can use a Windows server software to publish websites.
What kind of hosting can I buy with Windows hosting?
Every type of hosting is available on Windows servers. This includes dedicated hosting, shared hosting, reseller hosting and more.
What version of Windows do web hosting providers use?
All Windows hosting is operating on Windows Server. To find out more specifically which version of Windows Server is being used you will need to ask your hosting provider.
Can I use cPanel on Windows Hosting?
Currently, cPanel s not compatible with Windows hosting, you will need to use a different type of control panel. Many Windows hosts use Plesk but some use others.
Do I need to purchase Windows in order to have Windows hosting?
Windows hosting packages already include the price of a Windows license for your dedicated server—which is one of the reasons this type of hosting plan is cheaper than Linux.
What is the web server default on Windows?
Microsoft runs IIS on the Windows Server operating system.
Why do web developers utilize .Net scripts?
One of the greatest advantages of using .Net is that it allows you to write applications in multiple programming languages.
Can I transfer files from my Mac or Linux computer to a Windows server?
Yes. You will need to use a basic file transfer with FTP (or a variation of it) but otherwise, you should be able to upload files with ease.
What technologies can I only use with Windows hosting?
Any products in the Microsoft stack will need to be operated on Windows hosting. This includes Microsoft Exchange and Silverlight.
Can Remote Access be used to manage a Windows server?
Yes! If you chose a VPS or a dedicated hosting plan you can usually use remote access to manage your web server. Of course, however, this will not be possible if you choose shared hosting.
What are some alternatives to Windows hosting?
If Windows hosting doesn’t seem like the right choice for you, another popular option is Linux hosting. Linux is a great alternative for those looking for affordable hosting that will give them general tools, rather than the ability to use specific technologies.
There is also Mac hosting, but this type of hosting is very rare and is often simply “Mac-friendly” Linux hosting with additional Mac support.
Is Apache Web Server compatible with Windows hosting?
Yes, although it is much less common than IIS.