Most website hosting packages run on Linux servers, and it’s easy to see why: the operating system is fast, reliable, secure and free, with an impressive software ecosystem that includes some of the best web applications around.
For all these benefits, Linux won’t be the right setup for everyone. If your site is based on Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET or .NET, or you’re intending to run Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server or some other Microsoft stack product, you’ll need to choose a Windows plan.
Opting for Windows hosting doesn’t restrict you to Microsoft products. Most plans offer one-click easy installation of popular apps like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, phpBB and more.
There’s no cPanel, but something similar (like Plesk) will make it easy to view your website status, create email accounts, tweak settings and generally manage your plan.
Select a VPS or dedicated hosting plan and you’ll also be able to use Remote Desktop to manage the server from its own desktop.
Windows hosting has some issues. You won’t get the same choice of applications as with Linux. There’s less help available for troubleshooting apps like WordPress on the Windows platform. There are Microsoft licence fees to pay, too, so it’s a little more expensive than Linux plans.
Overall, though, if you need to take advantage of Microsoft technologies, Windows hosting can deliver a great service for a surprisingly low price. Read on for three top Windows hosting providers you might want to check out first.
High value plans for the Windows hosting newbie
|Feature-packed plans||Shared hosting $0.99/month|
|Low prices||Cloud hosting $1.99/month|
|Uses Windows Server 2016||Dedicated server $12.99/month|
|SSD Storage||Reseller hosting $20.39/month|
Windows hosting has a reputation for being costly, but ASPHostPortal’s shared Windows range shows it doesn’t have to be that way.
Prices start at $0.99 (£0.75) a month, yet even the most basic plan is better specified than some of the Linux competition. You get 1 website, 1GB web space and 10GB bandwidth, plus routine backups, 24/7 ticket support, a free SSL certificate thrown in.
There’s support for SQL import, SSI and dedicated app pools, and your plan will be running on Windows Server 2016 (many hosts are still using 2012).
Ramping up to the top-of-the-range Pro Windows plan gets 40 databases (400GB SSD), unlimited email accounts each 4GB email storage, regular malware scanning and an integrated Cloudflare-based CDN. Again, this is good value at only $50.99 (£40) a month.
These are shared plans and don’t give you full control over the server, but more flexible dedicated plans are also available at very low prices, and opting for Windows instead of Linux will cost from an extra $1.99 (£1.5) a month.
Factor in the one-month mone back guarantee and ASPHostPortal could be a sensible choice for novices looking to try out Windows hosting with the minimum of risk.
Run ASP.NET, PHP 7, WordPress and more on the same Windows server
|Speed-boosting CDN||Shared hosting €2.97/month|
|Decent prices||Cloud hosting €3.39/month|
|PHP 7.x||Reseller hosting €11.89/month|
|ASP.NET Core 2.2||Dedicated server €12.99/month|
HostForLIFEASP.NET is a capable provider with a huge range of plans covering everything from basic shared products, managed WordPress and email hosting, to reseller plans, cloud server and dedicated servers.
HostForLIFEASP.NET’s Windows offerings include a capable Classic plan priced at €2.97 a month. This is a shared product, but a good one, with unlimited websites, subdomains, email addresses, disk space, bandwidth, and more. Highlights include free site migration, SSD storage as standard, virus scanning, automatic backups, free Let’s Encrypt SSL, Anycast DNS, and Cloudflare Free CDN for a claimed average of 200% faster page loads.
Your site will be hosted on Windows Server 2016. Windows Server 2016 debuted many new features – Nano Server, containers, ReFS, Linux Secure Boot support – but you won’t be using these capabilities on a shared hosting plan.
What you do get with the Swift plan is support for an array of current and legacy Microsoft products and standards: ASP.NET 2.x, 3.x and 4.x, classic ASP, .NET Core 2.0, ASP.NET MVC 4 or 5, IIS 8.5 and Silverlight 4 or 5. And if your needs are more cross-platform, there’s PHP 5.6, 7.0, 7.1 or 7.2 support, phpMyAdmin, and one-click installers for PrestaShop, WordPress, Drupal and more.
If shared hosting isn’t enough, HostForLIFEASP.NET also provides managed Windows cloud server plans. These are well specified and priced fairly from €12.99 a month, which represents decent value for the features and support you get.
Flexible mid-range hosting for cash-strapped power users
|Supports Windows Server 2012 and 2016||Shared hosting |
|Excellent tech support||Cloud hosting |
|Good value||Reseller hosting £9.74/month|
|Very low starter prices||Cloud server £35.00/month|
While there are plenty of low-cost shared Windows hosting packages around, they’re not the best choice for everyone. We suspect that many users who need a Windows website will also require more speed and functionality than the average customer, and budget hosting may not be good enough.
UKWindowsHostASP.NET’ Windows cloud server offers no less than 10 plan configurations, making it much easier to find and purchase the precise level of service you need.
The baseline specification is impressive. Every plan offers free site migrations, SSD storage, and 1Gbps network connectivity (100Mbps is common with other plans). You also get the ability to use Windows Server 2012 or 2016, along with fast response times for any support issues, and 99.999% uptime guaranteed overall.
The starter Starter plan offers relatively limited resources, with one CPU core, 8GB RAM, 1GB disk space and 20GB traffic per month. But it’s also good value at £1.00 a month. Those prices are for a 5 years billing cycle, too – no lengthy contract required.
Upgrading to a higher tier gets you more power. The mid-range Enterprise plan offers four CPU cores, 16GB RAM, unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth, and is priced at £11.00 a month.
Put it all together and these seem well-designed hosting plans which are powerful, configurable, with excellent support and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. If basic Windows hosting isn’t enough, UKWindowsHostASP.NET could be worth a try.
Whatever product you choose can be fully managed by ASPHostPortal’s excellent support team, another company highlight. The firm doesn’t just promise to keep your site up and running, there’s a commitment with a 99.99% uptime SLA (service level agreement), a strong sign of confidence in its services that you rarely see elsewhere.