Top 10 Windows Hosting Companies

What is Windows Hosting ?

Although the LAMP combination (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) is a widely favored solution in the hosting industry, many people still prefer to use Windows in the web server due to their familiarity with the Windows environment. The Microsoft products are always renowned for their flexibility and user-friendliness. Working in Windows environment is relatively easy, something that Unix-based often can’t provide (except for certain Linux distros). Despite the poor reputation in security, a large number of people still use Windows.

These are common benefits of a Windows hosting plans:
Ease of use:
Although, in some cases, Windows OS is not as intuitive as Mac’s interface, many people are more comfortable with the Microsoft’s products. If you are a common computer user, it’s likely that Windows is the only OS you’re familiar with. Despite the higher complexities, Windows Server still retains most of the interface simplicity, which results in a shallower learning curve.

.NET technologies
Some important web technologies, such ASP can only work well on Windows environment. If your site is developed using .NET technology, it is highly recommended to choose Windows hosting.

Good compatibility with many applications and services:
Apache, MySQL and PHP are adequately supported by Windows environment. It allows customers to replace Linux with Windows Server in the LAMP configuration, although a combination of Windows Server, IIS, Microsoft SQL Server and ASP is more preferable to ensure better support and compatibility.

Good customer support:
Unlike many open source distros, Microsoft as the leading company in the software industry maintains a good customer support department to help customers with possible issues.
The Windows Server 2008 R2 is the newest in the Windows Server family. It was first released in the middle of 2009 and developed on the Windows NT 6.1. It supports for up to 256 virtual processors and other virtualization technologies. So before choosing a Windows hosting make sure, the provider uses latest OSs and web server, such as Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 and IIS 7.5. It is also preferable for the hosting provider to use at least, the Data Center edition, which allows quick hardware upgrades without having to shut the whole server down.

One useful feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 is DirectAccess, which may mean an end to VPN servers on some areas, however, it currently only works on Windows 7 clients. In mixed environments that involve the use of older Windows OSs and non-Windows OSs, VPN is still necessary. In many aspects, DirectAccess is superior to VPN, one good reason why certain companies should upgrade to Windows 7. The setup process is fairly easy because DirectAccess combines IPsec and IPv6 cleverly into a single protocol. By contrast, testing VPN is time-consuming chore and tedious because it doesn’t conform to a single protocol.

Unfortunately, making DirectAccess, Hyper-V and Clustering to work together with some hardware and enterprise services may require some additional expertise and planning. In general, Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 is a reliable and robust solution, which has produced some significant impacts on the market. With the R2, productivity boost is noticeable and admins can get controls over preciously unreachable areas.

In terms of security, although Windows hosting is sometimes accused for being less secure than Linux, in fact both OSs can become equally secure if the administrator always keeps abreast of the recent developments and knows his job well. Frequent restarting is a common disadvantage of Windows-based server, especially after an update is installed, which can cause numerous downtime. On dedicated Windows servers, the monthly fee can be slightly higher compared to Linux server, because you need to cover the price of Windows license.

Is Windows Hosting the Best?

When it comes to hosting, many people get stuck when trying to decide between Windows-based options and open source competitors like Linux hosting. Many people simply assume that Windows hosting is better than the Linux alternative due to its compatibility with the world’s dominant operating system any many Microsoft technologies. But is that really the case?

For Businesses, Windows Hosting Excels
When it comes to business users, Windows hosting is often the easiest and most compatible way to get a website online and an network up and operating. That’s because Windows hosting is automatically compatible with Microsoft’s proprietary technologies, whether that’s the FrontPage website design program or the Microsoft Access database software.

Because it requires no additional configuration, businesses are able to get their data online and accessible far more quickly than they would be if they had to convert everything they did into a Linux-compatible open source format. And because Windows hosting comes with tools like a web-based installation of the Outlook email client and other online versions of Microsoft Office programs, business users will experience virtually no learning curve when managing their website, online documents, or sharing between users.

Finally, because most business users own a Windows-based computer at home, all activity done on a business website using Windows hosting solutions can be accessed remotely. Everything from emails to websites can be accessed, easily edited, and modified, from home — without any additional software beyond the traditional Microsoft Office suite of applications found on most computers.

Customers will find that they pay a slight premium per month for a Windows hosting option. The convenience, ease of use, and enhanced productivity options, however, will more than make up for the small additional fee that most hosting companies charge for Windows hosting solutions.

For Home Users, a Tougher Choice
While it’s true that the great compatibility of Windows hosting benefits all types of users — business or otherwise — it’s also true that the higher monthly fees for many Windows hosting solutions may not match up well with smaller budgets outside the office. For this reason, choosing Windows hosting for a personal website can often be a far tougher choice.

Where Linux hosting solutions really excel is in their open source technology, which can be licensed at virtually no cost across a large number of servers. Because hosting companies need to devote less money to licensing fees and purchasing new software versions, they’re able to pass on a not insignificant savings to their Linux hosting customers.

However, those home website operators who are new to the business of operating a website or maintaining its functions will appreciate how easy it is to plug into a Windows hosting solution. While open source applications can often have very basic, advanced, or confusing interfaces and layouts, Microsoft’s applications are laid out with the novice user in mind. They’re compatible with the traditional Windows desktop and Microsoft Office applications, meaning many tasks can be performed offline without worrying about uploading or losing data.

When Windows Hosting is the Best
The “best” hosting option is always a matter of what a user’s needs are, what their experience level is, and how comfortable they are learning new pieces of software. For those users who have taken time to intricately learn their Windows desktop, a server running Windows hosting technologies will certainly be the best option.

For business users who value compatibility with applications like Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft FrontPage, Windows hosting is the best way to enjoy a plug-and-play setup that most users within the organization will be able to use expertly from day one.

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Tips to Choose Windows Hosting

When deciding to launch a web site one needs to consider the web hosts for putting the website online however, more important is selecting an operating system for the server to run. There are several operating systems to choose from like Windows, Linux, Unix and Macintosh. Many people face dilemma in selecting the right hosting server for the functioning of their websites. Selecting Windows hosting is preferable by many because of some common factors Windows servers have to offer.

Windows hosting can support all the .NET technologies usually required by websites and ASP scripting. It also provides large database storage mostly required by sites that handle sufficient amount of data. Some might face some security issues with the servers but the issues are easily recovered as well. Windows is also widely preferred because the web hosting packages are dependent on Microsoft Server 2008 and 2003 operating systems. They provide better performance in end to end management.

Another advantage of selecting Windows hosting is that the servers are easily integrated with Microsoft products. The products are more user-friendly and used widely by beginners and experts of website development. The scripting technologies are easier to implement. Also the fundamental model of windows server has enabled it to be a dominant tool to be integrated with internet functions.

Steps to Choose the Right Windows Hosting for your Website

Windows servers have many commonalities with other servers regularly used for hosting. Certain characteristics however make it more preferable to the other services but this depends on the requirements of what functionalities one requires from the website.

Analyzing Requirements: Before choosing windows hosting firstly analyze your website in terms of the controls and functions. This will include the language and scripts being used to be compatible with Windows operating system.

Finding Windows Web Hosting Services: A list of web hosting companies is available online that provide the option to choose Windows or any other operating system suitable for your site.

Conforming Technologies Supported by the Service Provider: The ones that are supporting Windows hosting, the technologies supported need to be checked. Some hosting companies can provide expertise in ASP 1.0 to 3.5 and some can have expertise on other .NET technologies. This is very important in selecting the right Window hosting service as websites need to be upgraded frequently and help will be required in adding controls and techniques to make it useful for current use. The hosting company being chosen shall provide the necessary support tools for future developments in the website, consistent with Windows platform.

Analyzing Database Support: Some Window hosting companies provide free database support for MS SQL and MS Access DBs. This can be an advantage if the site is dealing with large amount of databases of information. MS SQL and Access are ideal database facilities for large amount of data and are also highly scalable in Windows platform.

Facility of Supporting Other Software: Lastly make sure that the Windows web hosting company being selected is providing options to support other software that can be run on Windows. This will allow including creative controls in the website.

The package option and discounts are based on the budget requirements but these points are essential in selecting Windows hosting that is favorable for your website. Many people would choose Windows hosting because it is flexible and user friendly and mostly people are familiar with it.