There are various features that will help you to identify Windows web hosting packages from Linux web hosting packages and it is such unique features that will lead you to choosing a specific web hosting platform over another. Regardless if whether you choose Windows shared hosting or Windows dedicated hosting, you can be sure that there are features that will provide you with the web hosting experience that you require which Linux hosting will never be able to provide you with. The main feature that makes Windows hosting unique is the support for classic ASP and ASP.NET web pages and scripts that is offered because Linux isn’t able to support either of these features; as a Windows web developer you are likely to be using either or both of these scripting frameworks as the basis for your web applications to provide you with a stable base from which you can develop a scalable web application. The extent to which Windows hosting will benefit you is going to be dependent on the exact requirements of your website as to some degree it may be the case that Linux hosting is going to be more beneficial to you in the long term.
ASP Web Hosting
The main reason for many web developers choosing to use Windows web hosting is so that they have a web hosting environment in which they can host their classic ASP and ASP.NET based web applications. Both scripting frameworks have been developed by Microsoft, the creator of the Windows operating system, on the basis that they are commercial products that can only be used with the operating system meaning that Linux servers can’t be used for the hosting of ASP websites. Although classic ASP is outdated and has been succeeded by ASP.NET, there are many older websites that are still using it that have yet to be ported over to ASP.NET based cores. ASP.NET on the other hand is a far more modern scripting framework that is now 4 versions in and provides you with some of the most modern features available to enhance your web development experience; with future releases of ASP.NET you can expect to see more unique features that will allow you to develop your web applications further. Although Apache can be used as your web server application of choice in a Windows environment, IIS 7, which is the default Windows web server, is the only web server application capable of serving ASP web pages and scripts.
Microsoft Database Hosting
A Windows server is the only environment that is suitable for the hosting of Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server databases as well and both of these database applications are usually associated with being the backend used for some classic ASP and ASP.NET based web applications. Microsoft Access is a desktop database application meaning that you shouldn’t come to expect too much from a database that is only really designed to be used for smaller websites where there is only going to be a small number of database transactions and not any high loads. Microsoft SQL Server on the other hand is designed for use in all situations and is the best solution available for larger businesses that require a stable database system. SQL based database servers can also provide a higher level of security which is an important factor if you wish to store sensitive information on your servers because if hackers get hold of personal information that you are responsible for then you could find yourself in trouble. The only disadvantage to using Microsoft database applications is that to use either MSSQL Server or Microsoft Access without any limitations, you will have to purchase the full versions; however, there is an Express (free) edition of MSSQL Server available that can be used with certain limitations in place.
Remote Desktop Access
If you have chosen to use a Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server then Remote Desktop Access is likely to be one of the defining points of your web hosting service because it provides you with a new level of management that Linux server hosting is unable to provide. Remote Desktop will offer you direct access to the Windows GUI, allowing you to perform management tasks using an interface that you are going to be familiar with rather than having to fumble away at a command line interface like you have to with Linux dedicated hosting services. In order for Remote Desktop to be of any use, you will need to have access to the client; whilst it is included with all recent versions of the Windows operating system as standard, if you are a Mac user then you will need to download the application from the Microsoft website – the client is needed in order for you to be able to connect to your server. A Remote Desktop Window server will allow you to manage your server just as if it was in front of you because you are provided with the full Windows GUI experience; you can even choose to mount your local drives and devices on the remote server if you wish to transfer files to and from your server space or wish to use a local device with your server. The operation of Remote Desktop isn’t affected by the fact that you may be using a VPS server over a dedicated server in any way.
In conclusion, there are several different features that help to set Windows web hosting apart from Linux web hosting and help to maintain its popularity amongst Windows web and platform developers. Windows hosting packages are available from most web hosting companies and will allow you to make the most of what the Windows platform has to offer to web developers, with Windows dedicated hosting services offering you the best possibilities and expansion opportunities. Choosing a Windows web hosting package that will suit your needs could be hindered by the fact that Windows hosting is slightly more expensive than Linux hosting, but for most the extra cost is justifiable by the features and benefits that are available.