A Windows hosting plan will provide you with a number of different features that aren’t available with Linux web hosting plans, primarily because the Windows operating system is a commercial operating system that offers a closed environment. Windows web hosting plans are ideal for the hosting of classic ASP and ASP.NET websites simply because the Windows platform is the only operating system capable of hosting these websites to a level that will enable you to make the most of them; furthermore, a majority of the backend applications that you are likely to be using to support your ASP website are likely to support the Windows operating system only, meaning that there will always be high demand for Windows hosting services. Microsoft is well known for producing high-quality, scalable server-side applications that are used by many large businesses and enterprises to power their corporate infrastructures; this enables web hosting providers to offer premium Windows hosting services with ease as their main target audience is going to be businesses as opposed to individuals. If you are a Windows web developer then you will be able to appreciate the importance of Windows VPS servers and Windows dedicated servers in providing dedicated web hosting environments; a dedicated Windows hosting environment will enable you to make the most of what ASP.NET has to offer, whilst using ASP as your scripting framework of choice will enable you to fully harness the power of the operating system along with any supporting applications that you choose to use.
What are the main technologies supported by Windows, but not by Linux?
There are several technologies that are unique to the Windows platform that are used by many large businesses as the core of their web infrastructure and as a Windows hosting customer, you can take advantage of these technologies to enhance your own web applications. These technologies include:
- ASP.NET and AJAX – ASP.NET is one of the most advanced web scripting frameworks available, providing you with access to a number of different features and components that will enable you to make the most of the Windows operating system, allowing you to develop highly functional Windows web applications – ASP.NET is known for being scalable which is one of the most important features to consider in a scripting language when developing a fairly large website because this means that you will be able to serve your web application to a number of users, safe in the knowledge that your application is unlikely to fail – furthermore, the AJAX component of the ASP.NET framework will allow you to add additional AJAX functionality to your Windows web applications so that to end-users they appear to be sleek and well defined
- Microsoft SQL Server – this is Microsoft’s enterprise-class database server that is used by many large organizations to power not only their website backends, but also their internal operations – Microsoft SQL Server has proven itself to be one of the most powerful database applications around and the fact that it is only supported by Windows means that there will always be a need for Windows hosting where large businesses are using this application – you can use SQL Server as the backend for your ASP.NET website with ease, safe in the knowledge that the seamless integration between the two will ensure that your data is as secure as possible when being accessed by your web application
- Microsoft Access – for smaller implementations, a Microsoft Access database may be more than sufficient for the requirements of the web applications, but again this is a technology that is only supported by Windows servers – as is the case with SQL Server databases, Access databases can be seamlessly integrated into ASP.NET applications meaning that smaller web applications can be developed in half the time when using a less complex database structure – however, the only downside to using Microsoft Access as opposed to SQL Server is that the databases aren’t designed to be as scalable meaning that as the use of your application increases, you will need to port your Access database over to SQL Server at some point.
How can developing for Windows benefit me over developing for Linux?
Depending on the purpose that you are developing a web application for, there can be some benefits to choosing Windows over Linux when it comes to considering your hosting platform; these benefits include:
- Secure platform – Windows is seen as being a more secure platform than Linux and indeed this is an important factor to consider if you are going to be hosting the personal information of visitors or customers – as well as standard anti-virus applications, there are also many other measures that can be taken to ensure that a Windows server remains secure and the fact that Windows is a commercial operating system means that if there are any security issues, you can be sure that Microsoft will be quick to release an update or patch to fix any issues that arise
- Reliable platform – Windows is also seen as being a reliable platform, something that is important when developing web applications because you want to be sure that your intended audience will be able to access your website when they want to – most web hosting companies will aim to provide you with a highly reliable web hosting service these days and so in most cases you can be sure that your chosen Windows hosting plan will provide you with an acceptable level of uptime.
In conclusion, a Windows hosting plan will provide Windows web developers with the platform on which they can host the applications that they have crafted especially to make the most of the platform. Even though Windows is a commercial platform that will carry an additional premium over Linux web hosting plans, for users of Windows web hosting the extra charge is usually justifiable through the features that Windows is able to provide, but Linux is unable to. It is important to remember that you should only consider a Windows hosting plan if you have a specific need for Windows hosting, i.e. a need that can’t be met by Linux hosting plans.