Windows is the world’s most popular operating system that is used on the desktop and in the server environment. As part of its role in the server environment, Windows is widely used by web hosting companies to produce web hosting plans that offer compatibility with Microsoft applications and technologies. Along with Linux, these two operating systems form the basis of the mainstream web hosting industry in terms of the web hosting plans that are offered and the features that are available.
ASP.NET Web Hosting
When developing websites that will make the most of the Windows operating system, the best option is to use ASP.NET as this is a scripting framework that has been developed by Microsoft for use exclusively with Windows. ASP.NET’s benefits vary and are limited, but include:
- You will elevated access to the Windows operating system with additional support offered for developers utilizing the full feature set of ASP.NET as opposed to creating their own controls and components
- All scripts should simply work with IIS and Windows if they have been developed correctly, without the need for any additional modifications to guarantee full compatibility, as this can be an issue when using certain scripting languages with the Windows operating system.
Microsoft SQL Server Database Hosting
The purpose of a database server such as Microsoft SQL Server is to provide your web pages and scripts with a common location that they can all access to enable them to process the relevant data for display. Databases can be used to store information of all types so that it can be re-used again and again, benefitting websites that rely on information that is submitted by visitors.
The benefit of using Microsoft SQL Server as your database backend is that it is relatively simple to create a cluster of MSSQL servers that can then be used to serve your content as required. By developing an internal network that can link multiple database servers together, you are creating a fail-proof solution that is also scalable to cope with growing demand on your website.
When compared to MySQL Server, the disadvantage of choosing to use a commercial database hosting alternative such as Micrsoft SQL Server is that you have to pay for the license to use it. The cost of MSSQL Server will depend on the version of the software that you choose to use as well as how many licenses you purchase, but for the most part the cost is justifiable through the means of the reliability provided by a commercial platform and the support that is available for when something goes wrong.
Microsoft Exchange Server Hosting
Businesses looking for corporate email solutions are likely to have Microsoft Exchange Server on their list of solutions to consider. Microsoft Exchange Server is a suite of applications that provides businesses with a central email, calendaring, contact and user management database that can be accessed through various means, although for the most part it is designed for integration with Microsoft Outlook on the desktop.
The main features of Microsoft Exchange Server include:
- Access to the “Outlook Web Access” web client provides users with access to their email, calendars and contacts on the move through any web browser removing the need for constant use of the Outlook desktop application
- The application can be hosted either on a single server or can be scaled to include multiple servers, allowing you to tap into resources provided by SANs (storage area networks) as well as those of additional servers through the means of a clustered configuration
- An Active Directory based user authentication system allows you to provide users with a single login that will provide them with access to not only their emails, but also any Windows desktop computer within your business.
In conclusion, the anatomy of Windows web hosting provides you with an opportunity to experience new technologies include ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to aid you with the development of your website. In addition to being able to develop newer and more functional websites, Windows is also the platform for businesses to use if they are looking to improve internal communications through the means of Microsoft Exchange Server, an application that is available as an optional extra with Windows dedicated servers.