The alternative to Linux web hosting is Windows web hosting, although Windows web hosting services are generally more expensive than Linux web hosting services due to the commercial nature of the Windows operating system. Windows hosting services are aimed at businesses that have larger web hosting budgets and have a specific need for Windows web hosting as a majority of the features of Linux web hosting services, such as support for PHP and MySQL, are available on most Windows web hosting servers. Microsoft offers a wide range of server-specific applications that are only compatible with Windows servers that are targeted at larger businesses meaning that if you wish to make use of one of these applications, you won’t really have any choice but to consider a Windows hosting server for your requirements. Windows web hosting services are ideal for the hosting of websites that have been developed using classic ASP and ASP.NET; these two scripting frameworks have also been developed by Microsoft meaning that if you wish to use either then you will only be able to consider Windows web hosting for your requirements as your web pages and scripts won’t function correctly on any other web hosting platform.
Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most scalable database hosting platforms available and is used by a large number of companies to help power both their internal infrastructures as well as their websites. As a database server it is only compatible with Windows servers meaning that if you wish to create a highly scalable website using Microsoft SQL Server, Windows web hosting is going to be your only choice. However, this can be a benefit to using Windows web hosting as Microsoft SQL Server is capable of coping with high loads and load spikes very well meaning that it is ideal for use in a situation where your website receives a large amount of traffic.
If you wish to use a database system that isn’t as complicated as Microsoft SQL Server but can still offer you a good number of features then Microsoft Access is probably going to be the right database application for you. Unlike Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access is a desktop database application meaning that you will need to purchase the desktop application in order to be able to create and manage Microsoft Access databases. Databases created using Microsoft Access should only really be used in situations where there isn’t the need for a scalable database hosting configuration meaning that you should only use Microsoft Access with smaller websites.
The support for classic ASP and ASP.NET is another benefit of using Windows web hosting as it means that you will be able to make the most of what the Windows operating system has to offer to Windows web developers. Although the ASP.NET framework is the only one of the two that is still actively maintained, classic ASP is still used by a large number of web developers for certain purposes meaning that it is important to retain Windows web hosting services that can offer support for classic ASP and ASP.NET web pages and scripts. However, it should still be noted that additional scripting languages can be used on Windows web hosting services including PHP and Ruby.
If you choose to use Windows server hosting, including Windows VPS server hosting and Windows dedicated server hosting, then you will be able to choose from a wide variety of server-specific corporate Microsoft applications that will be able to enhance your business. Such applications include:
- Microsoft Exchange Server – this is the enterprise collaboration system offered by Microsoft to allow businesses to streamline how their employees communicate with each other and to provide employees with a better way of managing themselves – in order for Microsoft Exchange Server to function you will need to have your own Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server, although if you are a larger business then you may wish to consider a cluster of servers as the answer to your requirements since by doing so you will be able to create a high-availability and scalable email hosting system for your employees
- Hyper-V – if you are going to be using the latest version of Windows, Windows Server 2008, then you may wish to make use of Hyper-V to create a virtualized hosting environment – virtualization is an important step is making your IT operations more streamlined and cost effective as it will reduce the amount of hardware you will require by consolidating a number of servers into virtual machines on a single server and is becoming common place with larger businesses that want to cut down their spending.
Microsoft’s server-specific software products are targeted at larger companies that are not only able to afford them but can also justify the hardware requirements that are needed to ensure that the software is able to perform properly.
Windows web hosting services are also some of the most up-to-date available with Windows Server 2008 offering you some of the latest and best features available in the web hosting industry. Windows Server 2008 bought with it IIS 7 which is the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s hugely popular web server product; similarly, new features were also introduced such as Hyper-V which allows for the creation of virtual machines of any platform for use on Windows servers.
In conclusion, Windows web hosting services are able to benefit many businesses that have a specific need for Windows web hosting through the means of the applications and services that are classed as being only available for Windows. When choosing a Windows web hosting service you may at first be put off by the costs associated with them, but although Windows web hosting may be slightly more expensive you will find it to be worth it in the long term if you have a specific need for Windows web hosting. If you are unable to justify the cost of Windows web hosting then the only other option that you will have is to change how you work so that a Linux web hosting package can accommodate your needs.