As an alternative to Linux web hosting, you may wish to consider Windows web hosting as a way of meeting your web hosting requirements if you have needs that can only be met by the Windows operating system. Any good web hosting company will be able to offer you Windows web hosting if needs be as Windows hosting services can be offered in the same way as Linux hosting services; all it takes is for a Windows web hosting provider to install a control panel application on a Windows server and they can then start to provision Windows web hosting packages to clients. A Windows web hosting package will be able to offer you greater support for a wider variety of scripting languages and applications that may be specific to the platform and not available for other operating systems; this is applicable to all forms of Windows web hosting, whether it be a Windows shared hosting package or a Windows dedicated server. Like any hosting platform available, you can choose from a wide variety of hosting options so that you can use Windows web hosting regardless of whether you require a shared hosting environment or have a budget that will allow you to pay for Windows dedicated hosting.
Windows Shared Hosting
If you are on a tight budget for your Windows web hosting service but are looking to make the most of your money, a Windows shared hosting package will provide you with the bare necessities require to make Windows web hosting different from Linux web hosting. You can expect support for classic ASP and ASP.NET websites and scripts to be offered so that you can develop dynamic web pages and scripts that integrate well into the Windows architecture – Windows is the only platform that can support either of these scripting languages. Although support for Microsoft SQL Server databases may not be possible with the most basic of Window shared hosting packages, you should be able to purchase them as an optional extra; however, support for Microsoft Access databases will be a standard feature of any Windows shared hosting package. Managing shared hosting accounts is made as simple as possible these days because web hosting companies want to appeal more to inexperienced users whilst reducing the support that they’ll need to focus on shared hosting users; with Windows web hosting this view is achieved through the use of web-based control panels that will allow you to manage every aspect of your account, reducing the reliance that you will have on your web hosting provider.
Windows VPS Hosting
If you have a need for dedicated web hosting but feel that the cost of dedicated server hosting puts it out of your reach, VPS server hosting has been designed to meet your needs through the means of offering you a dedicated hosting environment within the context of a virtual hosting environment. Although you are provided with guaranteed dedicated resources and a dedicated Windows hosting environment when using a Windows VPS server, you are still restricted to sharing a physical hosting node with other Windows VPS servers meaning that you will never be able to fully utilize the processor that you have access to. As you are able to choose from different versions of the Windows operating system, you have the choice to use a newer version such as Windows Server 2008 that will offer you the latest features from the Windows OS or Windows Server 2003 if you have legacy applications that won’t work with newer incarnations of the product. Although management may be restricted to Remote Desktop only with Hyper-V based Windows servers, Virtuozzo based Windows VPS servers can be managed using the Virtuozzo Power Panel that will accompany any installation of the product.
Windows Dedicated Server Hosting
If you are a business or have a larger budget for web hosting then you may find a Windows dedicated server to be more appropriate for your requirements because you will be provided with a dedicated hosting environment that will offer you your own physical server and hardware that you can make full use of. Although Windows dedicated server hosting may seem expensive for what you are getting, you need to take into consideration that you won’t have to share any portion of your web hosting environment with any other users therefore meaning that you won’t have to worry about considering the reliability of other websites apart from that of your own. As is the case with a Windows VPS server, unless you choose to install your own control panel on your Windows server the only way that you will be able to use it is via Remote Desktop; although Remote Desktop provides you with direct access to the Windows GUI, it is still important for you to be well versed in server management so that you know which options to select when performing a configuration task.
Remote Desktop Access vs. Control Panel Management
When managing a Windows server you will notice that depending on your choice of software, you may have the choice to manage your server either from a web based control panel or using the GUI that is accessible by Remote Desktop. Control panels are very intuitive and can be used very easily, whereas Remote Desktop is more specific to server managers and requires some practise if you wish to be able to perfect Windows server management. It should be noted that Remote Desktop clients are available for Mac as well as Windows.
In conclusion, using Windows web hosting is very easy if you are an experienced user of web hosting and are fully aware of what you require from a Windows web hosting package. If you are unable to specify particular features in a Windows web hosting package that make it important for you to have one then the chances are that a cheaper Linux web hosting service will be more appropriate to your needs. At the end of the day it is down to what you can afford more than anything because there is no point in over spending on a web hosting package that you won’t be able to make the most of.