The Best Windows Hosting Platforms to Take Your Applications Online in 2020
Earnings disclosure: We use affiliate links to earn commissions from the products reviewed and recommended on our pages. Whenever a reader follows an affiliate link posted in our reviews and makes a purchase, we receive payment. Find out more.
Linux dominates the hosting world. That’s why few providers have a Windows service, and fewer still offer quality.
Bu Windows Server outperforms Linux in certain scenarios and is often the logical choice. Finding a provider that handles Windows hosting well might be tough, but it pays off in spades.
To help you do just that, we reviewed the best Windows hosting companies in the market. The providers below can help you set up a robust server, be it for website hosting, running a company network, or anything else.
Read on to find out who made the cut.
The review process needs to be extensive.
Here’s what steps we, at Hosting Tribunal, took to ensure our Windows hosting reviews have all the info you need to choose the right provider:
- Examine the offer—Every journey has to start somewhere. We checked out the nuances of each provider’s offer, like the location of its servers and which Windows technologies its plans support.
- Check reputation—All providers promise excellent service, but some deliver better than others. Not all user reviews are 100% accurate, but a provider’s reputation is built over the years and an extensive analysis tells us what to look out for.
- Buy a hosting plan—It’s the only sure-fire way to see what Windows hosting providers are made of. We bought and tested the providers’ plans to see how they handle more demanding Windows setups.
- Pester the support—Even experienced users need help here and there. Reliable support is available 24/7 and can quickly handle even the complex issues. We prepared a few tough requests to ensure they were up to the task.
- Go through terms of service—ToS contain all the legal information you need to know about a provider. We combed through the fine print to make sure the providers weren’t hiding shady policies.
- Put it all together—We compiled that info into a report on each host’s offer. Lastly, we checked if the price is fair for what you’re getting.
Those are the basics of how we confirmed the Windows web hosting companies below had top-notch, cost-effective solutions. Keep reading to see exactly what they offer.
Hostwinds is a relative newcomer to the hosting industry, but already has a solid reputation for quality, budget-friendly services.
Its range of offers also includes affordable Windows servers. Let’s get down to it and see what they’re all about.
Hostwinds offers ten managed Windows VPS plans, as many unmanaged ones, and four highly customizable dedicated server plans.
The offer is about as extensive as any out there. It would take a massive table to do a Windows hosting comparison of all plans.
To give you an idea of what to expect, these are the entry plans for each hosting type.
Unmanaged Windows VPS starts at $9.89/month and gets you 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD storage, and 1TB bandwidth.
Managed Windows VPS offers the same specs. It starts at $7.99/month for the first term and goes up to $16.99/month afterward.
This is pretty much the most affordable entry point to Windows VPS. The virtual servers can scale massively as well, so you have room to grow. The larger plans even offer more resources than many low-end dedicated servers.
You can get an entire cheap Windows server for just about $100/month. The solution includes:
- 4 CPU cores at 3.50GHz
- 16GB RAM (there is an option for 8GB, but it only saves you $8)
- 120GB SSD storage
- 10TB Bandwidth
- 8 IP addresses
You can customize the specs or add redundant storage. Your best bet is to play around with the configuration and figure out your optimal setup. The dedicated solutions tend to end up pretty affordable for the resources you get. This makes Hostwinds one of the best opportunities to get your own server.
The configuration above actually offers less resources than the largest managed VPS plan. However, it offers way better value—a VPS with similar specs costs around 50% more.
If your VPS gets in range of the dedicated plans, the smartest move is to upgrade to dedicated hosting right away. It gets you additional benefits at a much lower price.
One thing to point out right away is that Hostwinds currently only supports Windows Server 2016. If you are set on trying Windows Server 2019, a few other cheap Windows hosting companies like 1&1 IONOS already offer it.
Even unmanaged VPS offers useful features like nightly backups, a monitoring solution, and free migrations.
Managed VPS builds on that and adds of services like malware scanning, speed optimization, custom server configuration setup, general troubleshooting, firewall management, and a lot more.
Both VPS types are fantastic, and Hostwinds is definitely one of the top-performing Windows VPS hosts.
Dedicated plans let you enjoy the same features as managed VPS. You get an added benefit of choosing your type of RAID configuration—0, 1, 5, 6, or 10. You can also go for a data center license or add up to 128 IP addresses—both essential if you want to resell Windows hosting.
The dedicated servers end up much more affordable than a VPS with the same specs. All things considered, Hostwinds offers some of the best Windows hosting in 2020, though it lacks the massive servers a few other providers have.
Around the Web
Hostwinds mostly receives positive reviews.
The platform is fast, and the support efficient—and many users took notice.
Most negative reviews have to do with billing. The provider offers discounts for the first term, but many users assume it’s the regular price.
Although it can cause some confusion, this is common practice in hosting. You’ll find only a handful of providers with static prices.
To its credit, Hostwinds does make both the initial and renewal price clear on its website. It’s something to look out for in general, when researching hosting plans.
Support is available through phone, chat, and email.
The support usually answers queries promptly. The agents can easily solve most problems, though they are a bit quick to send out knowledge base links. It’s only a minor complaint, but these are the top Windows hosting reviews, so some nitpicking is called for.
The knowledge base is also commendable. You get access to over a thousand guides, many related to Windows hosting.
The support is top-notch overall.
- Affordable entry to Windows VPS
- Affordable dedicated servers
- Decent features and support
- Some companies offer larger dedicated servers
- No Windows Server 2019 yet
Hostwinds is one of the most affordable choices in both managed and unmanaged VPS and dedicated Windows hosting. It’s one of the best Windows hosting providers out there and can handle all but the largest of projects.
2. Liquid Web
Liquid Web started out in shared hosting, but eventually shifted toward higher-end solutions. Many users find VPS or dedicated platforms best for their Windows applications, making Liquid Web the perfect candidate.
Here’s what you can find in its Windows web hosting plans.
Liquid Web offers three flavors of Windows VPS:
- 4 CPU cores, 4GB RAM, 100GB SSD storage, 10TB bandwidth for $74/month
- 8 CPU cores, 8GB RAM, 150GB SSD storage, 10TB bandwidth for $94/month
- 8 CPU cores, 16 GB RAM, 200GB SSD storage 10TB bandwidth for $169/month
The price includes a Windows license and Plesk control panel. You can ask for any level of management you’d like—Liquid Web doesn’t charge extra.
You can also get various dedicated servers. Liquid Web allows a lot of customization, so the solutions range from pretty standard to extremely powerful.
To give you an idea, most users would get the best Windows server value out of Liquid Web’s starter bundle. The server specs are:
- 4 Intel Xeon 1230v6 cores at 3.9GHz
- 32GB RAM
- 2x 240GB SSD primary storage
- 1TB backup storage
- 1TB additional file storage
- 8TB bandwidth
It costs $279/month and also includes Plesk and a standard Windows license. You can pass on Plesk and save $20/month, but it is required for server management. The management service is free, as with VPS.
Another thing to add is Liquid Web doesn’t charge you for setup. However, you can pay a $250 setup fee and get $25 knocked off your monthly subscription. You should do this if you can, as it saves money in the long run.
Liquid Web offers some of the top MS servers in the game, but it lacks options for low-end consumers.
Liquid Web’s Windows VPS comes with a bunch of useful features. You can get email hosting, Akamai CDN, DDoS protection, a security pack, backups, and much more.
The VPS management also includes security upgrades, migrations, PCI-compliance assistance, and a bunch of other services.
Liquid Web lets you choose the level of management you need. You can let the technical support handle everything, try a few things yourself, or take over the whole service.
VPS plans start pretty big. And, $74/month is affordable for the mid-range managed VPS they’re offering. It all amounts to one of the best Windows VPS services out there.
Dedicated servers include everything VPS hosting does, plus more advanced security. They are flexible and can scale to handle pretty much anything you throw at them.
You can customize the hardware during setup, as well as buy premium software licenses. For instance, the options include MS SQL Enterprise Edition or Windows Server data center licensing. The latter lets you host unlimited Windows-based virtual servers on one machine.
Liquid Web even lets you get a custom server chassis.
The only thing to keep an eye on is outbound bandwidth. 8TB might be low for really demanding apps, and Liquid web charges for extra bandwidth. You should calculate how much bandwidth you might need before committing to a solution.
Other than that, the dedicated servers are really powerful and easy to scale once you outgrow VPS. While it does have some of the best Windows VPS plans, Liquid web is also an excellent managed dedicated hosting provider.
Around the Web
Unsurprisingly, Liquid Web gets predominantly positive reviews.
Most clients praise the support team. No surprises there—Liquid Web points out support as one of its main selling points.
As all providers do, Liquid Web does get a negative review here and there. Most of these aren’t the provider’s fault, though.
It’s also reassuring to see company representatives actively respond to user reviews and trying to make amends with dissatisfied users. It indicates the provider is invested in treating its clients with respect.
Liquid Web boasts about its support team big time. To its credit, the support is one of the best in Windows hosting.
The provider guarantees 59-second answer times with live chat and phone, and 59-minute response time to email queries. Most of the time, the support gets back to you even faster.
The agents are real experts in their craft. They can handle everything from simple questions to designing a full-on custom platform.
You’ll be in safe hands with Liquid Web.
- Generous resources
- Flexible dedicated plans
- Useful features
- Stellar support
- Fair price
- No low-end VPS plans
Liquid Web is an excellent provider if you need mid-range or high-end managed Windows hosting. You can get a variety of solutions, and a superb technical team helps you run it all.
Liquid Web fully deserves all the praise it gets.
3. AccuWeb Hosting
AccuWeb is an independent provider with a solid reputation. It has over 15 years of experience in the hosting world, and it offers a range of plans.
Although the hosting is managed, AccuWeb is pretty platform-agnostic. Of course, you can choose from a variety of awesome Windows plans. Here’s what they are.
AccuWeb offers shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting for Windows.
The shared Windows hosting includes everything you need to run a decent ASP.NET website. You get dedicated database storage, 150 email accounts per subscription, and the ability to host between one and five domains, depending on the plan.
One thing to note is that bandwidth is limited. That might be an issue if you want to host multiple websites. The highest tier offers 1TB for five sites, which amounts to only 200GB per site.
AccuWeb offers a variety of Windows VPS plans. You arguably get the best value with Windows SSD VPS.
Even though the solutions are managed, they start at only $10/month. The starter plan gets you 1GB RAM, 500GB bandwidth, and 2 CPU cores.
The virtual servers can grow fairly big, although the bandwidth stays limited here as well. You can get 1TB at the most, and a 100GB addon costs $20/month extra. While the base amount is enough for most users, having at least 2TB would give some users peace of mind.
Another thing to point out is that you get the lowest price if you choose the Denver data center for Windows web hosting. AccuWeb offers 14 other locations, but these bump up the price.
Going for VPS also shortens the money-back guarantee to one week. You can get a free VPS for a month and then upgrade, but this makes your VPS more expensive in the long run.
AccuWeb has some of the top MS servers around, but dedicated hosting is a bit higher-end. The servers are highly customizable and much more powerful than a VPS. To give you an idea, I put together a rather decent one for $170/month:
- 4 Intel Xeon E3-1270 cores at 3.8Ghz
- 16GB DDR4
- 2 x 525GB SSD drives
- 20TB bandwidth
This includes a Windows Server 2019 license. The solutions are unmanaged, but you can get full management for $90/month.
You can get some cheaper, barebone servers, but this configuration provides the best starter value for most users.
Windows shared hosting offers all the standard features for ASP.NET hosting providers. AccuWeb supports all the related technologies and throws in a few goodies. You can get:
- Daily backups
- Website migrations
- 1-click installs for a bunch of apps
- Plesk control panel
- Cloudflare CDN
… and much more
The solutions are solid. AccuWeb is one of the top 10 ASP.NET web hosting providers, even though bandwidth is a bit slim.
VPS plans keep the benefits of shared hosting while being more flexible.
One thing to note is that you can only get weekly backups for free. If you want daily backups, you have to pay for the service or manage them yourself.
VPS plans offers substantial resources for the price. The lower bandwidth cap might cause problems for traffic-heavy apps, though.
Fortunately, the dedicated servers are way more powerful. You can get top-of-the-line machines with maximum security and reliability.
AccuWeb offers some additional services at an extra charge—like the enterprise-grade firewall. Management is $90/month across the board. It may seem pricy, but it’s way more affordable than hiring an in-house technician.
AccuWeb is a Windows server host for companies in need of cutting-edge solutions.
Around the Web
AccuWeb gets mostly positive reviews.
Users praise the platform’s speed, uptime, and the efficiency of the support.
There is little in terms of negative reviews to speak of. One thing to note is that AccuWeb gives out free WordPress hosting, but seems to request reviews in return.
The practice might be in a moral gray area, but it doesn’t affect its Windows hosting plans. That part of company culture is just something to be aware of.
AccuWeb’s support is available via all the standard channels.
The provider guarantees a one-hour response time for email tickets, which is always a plus.
In practice, the support tends to answer nearly instantly. The agents are also decent communicators and proficient in resolving all kinds of issues.
What’s more, AccuWeb has a respectable help center. You’ll find 500+ helpful articles about Windows hosting alone.
AccuWeb gets the support right.
- Wide range of plans
- Respectable feature offer
- Excellent support
- Shared and VPS plans low on bandwidth
- More expensive if with data center locations other than Denver
AccuWeb is an all-round superb performer. As long as you keep an eye on the resources, you can take advantage of some of the best Windows hosting of 2020—both for simple ASP.NET sites and enterprise-level projects.
Everleap is a higher-end cousin of DiscountASP.NET. It is designed to be a step up from shared Windows ASP.NET hosting, while staying affordable and easy to handle.
Here’s what’s in the mix.
Everleap uses Microsoft Azure’s infrastructure. You’re essentially getting managed hosting on one of the top cloud computing platforms.
Everleap’s base price is $20/month for one site and $40/month for up to five.
Each site gets two load balanced servers. These come with 5GB for storage, 1GB for databases, 100GB bandwidth, and 300GB RAM.
Now, you might say that $20/month is pricey and that storage is sort of slim. That’s true, and the benefit of Everleap is in scaling.
You can easily add more resources to the servers, or scale vertically and affordably add multiple servers to the mix. You can get some pretty awesome deals as your website grows.
Everleap can offer you some of the best windows hosting deals in 2020, especially if you run several websites.
Everleap makes a point of incorporating all the latest technologies into its platform. It supports MS SQL 2012 through 2017, Classic ASP, .NET Core, ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, and a bunch of other developer technologies.
The account control panel is straightforward. You can easily meter resource spending, upgrade your plan, or purchase additional services.
You can get cloud backups, a CDN, SSL services, domain names, etc.
Everleap also offers management for popular ASP.NET-based platforms like DDN, Kentico, Orchard, BV Commerce, nopCommerce, and VevoCart, among others.
If you’ve wanted to try WordPress on Windows, Everleap also supports it along with the necessary technologies. WordPress’s native environment is Linux, but Everleap offers a free trial, so it’s a fun opportunity to try out something new.
Speaking of, Everleap gives you a one-month trial run. You do have to enter your credit card info, so cancel your plan if you don’t want to keep using it after the first month. Otherwise, you’ll get charged.
All in all, Everleap’s Windows server cloud hosting platform is well-designed and is a worthy alternative to classic VPS hosting. It’s definitely the most affordable if you have multiple smaller sites, though.
Around the Web
Everleap gets overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Most users love the straightforward and intuitive interface. The support also did a great job of resolving issues for a bunch of clients.
A few users did complain about having to cancel their plans via email. While this can be annoying, email cancellations are much safer than automated ones.
This is because Everleap offers many different services. Direct communication is the only way to ensure a customer doesn’t accidentally cancel something they want to keep using. For instance, a customer may want to cancel hosting, but keep using the backup service to migrate to a new server.
You might say, “I would never make a mistake like that,” and you may be right. Still, such things do happen to hundreds of users, and Everleap provides insurance against that.
Everleap’s support team is one of the best in Windows hosting. It’s available through email and live chat. There is no phone line, but the support does video calls, which is arguably even better.
The technical support agents have a ton of experience with both the cloud and Windows hosting. They do a superb job of providing efficient and personal help with all issues.
The only complaint here is that the knowledge base is sort of thin. Everleap and DiscountASP.NET share the same articles, but there’s still little material to work with.
With a support team such as Everleap’s, though, you probably won’t ever need it. It just might be the best Windows hosting provider in terms of tech support.
- Awesome scaling
- Microsoft Azure infrastructure
- Affordable multisite hosting
- Great support
- Pricey if you only have a single smaller website
- Poor knowledge base
Everleap is one of the best ASP.NET hosting providers. It offers a decent, scalable platform for those getting out of shared hosting. It is also excellent for developers and users running multiple websites.
InterServer is a smaller provider pretty vocal about its services. To its credit, it has held up an impressive reputation over the years.
Let’s see if all the positive Windows hosting reviews tell the truth about it.
InterServer offers ASP.NET shared plans, as well as VPS and dedicated Windows servers.
The shared plans are a one-size-fits-all solution. For $5/month ($4 if you prepay for a longer period), you can host up to 25 websites with unmetered resource allocation.
One thing to point out is that “unlimited” plans are always regulated by fair use. For $4/month, you can reasonably expect to host a couple of solid websites. Alternatively, you can make use of all 25 available domains to experiment with ASP.NET.
VPS MS hosting plans are slice-based. One server “slice” costs $10/month and has 1 CPU core, 2GB RAM, 30GB SSD storage, and 2TB bandwidth. You can get anywhere from 1 to 16 slices toward your VPS.
Since a Windows license is included, you can get an amazingly affordable small VPS server.
You can get some robust solutions if you go for 10+ slices. However, most providers offer better deals the more resources you get, so InterServer is relatively expensive here.
The catch is that support is limited. You can get partial management if you go for 4+ slices. You need to pay extra if you want fully managed Microsoft web hosting, though.
Dedicated plans are partially managed as well. This means you can get some fairly affordable machines. For $104/month, you get:
- 4 Intel Xeon E3-1230 cores at 3.2 GHz
- 8GB RAM
- 2x 250GB SSD
- 10TB bandwidth
This includes a standard Windows license. While InterServer has one of the best Windows Server offers, it only has a standard license for Windows Server 2016. Windows Server 2019 is only available with the data center license, which is a bit odd.
You can get enormous dedicated solutions as well. If you’re running a massive company, InterServer includes attractive customization options, like unmetered bandwidth with 10Gbps speeds.
Keep in mind that InterServer only runs data centers in the US. It’s one of the best Windows web hosting choices for targeting North America, but can cause some problems otherwise.
The shared plans run Plesk and support all the standard technologies—ASP.NET, .NET Core, Classic ASP, and modules like ASP.NET MVC, Silverlight, and ODBC. You can also request installation of additional modules if necessary.
The plans offer weekly backups, speed optimization, Cloudflare CDN, Raid-10 redundancy, and free SSL. Since the plans are pretty affordable, you miss out on a free domain name registration. InterServer does discount it to $1.99, though.
All in all, the platform is solid and provides an affordable way to get into website hosting for ASP.NET applications.
If you opt out of Windows VPS management, you can still get basic services like reinstalling or repairing broken features—but that’s it.
InterServer offers Plesk control panel and regular backups, but little beyond that. It’s more of a solution for DIY users or businesses running their own IT teams.
With dedicated servers you face a similar situation. You can get powerful yet affordable solutions, but you take on most of the server management. A standard Windows license has a fixed price of $20/month, which is a fair deal.
All in all, InterServer offers affordable solutions for those who don’t mind managing their own setup. It also has one of the best Windows VPS deals if you need a small virtual server.
Around the Web
InterServer’s clients are generally satisfied with the service.
Users appreciate that the service is fast, reliable, and affordable. Many also praise the support team.
There are a few negative reviews, but most of the issues aren’t really InterServer’s fault.
InterServer has one of the better support teams you’ll find in Windows web hosting. You can expect informative and helpful interactions each time you contact support.
The provider does lack live chat support, which can be annoying.
There’s all there is—the support is solid, but having another way of contacting it would go a long way.
- Most plans are relatively affordable
- Efficient support
- Powerful, scalable platform
- Pricy higher-tier VPS
- Charges for server management
- Only has servers in the US
InterServer offers affordable shared hosting as well as VPS and dedicated servers. The solutions are fantastic for developers and companies with an in-house IT team. If you want top MS servers with excellent scaling and fair pricing, InterServer is the way to go.
6. 1&1 IONOS
You’ll see little aggressive marketing from 1&1 IONOS, but it’s the fourth largest hosting provider in the world. Although it’s one of the elders in hosting, it very much keeps up to date with the current technologies.
It also offers Windows Server web hosting. Here’s what it’s all about.
1&1 offers ASP.NET hosting on a shared server, as well as Windows-based VPS and dedicated plans.
The shared hosting specs are:
- Business—25 Databases (1GB SSD each), 200MB RAM, 100GB Storage, 25 email accounts, for $8/month
- Pro— 100 Databases, 400MB RAM, 200GB Storage, 100 email accounts, for $10/month
- Expert— 500 Databases, 2GB RAM, 500GB Storage, 500 email accounts, for $14/month
All shared plans start at $1/month for the first six months to a year and increase to the regular price afterward.
You can only get unmanaged VPS. That said, 1&1 is the most affordable provider when it comes to the virtual server itself. Still, its Windows licensing price starts at $20/month.
This pegs the price of the smallest Windows VPS plan at $30/month. It gives you 2 CPU cores, 2GB RAM, and 80GB SSD storage.
The largest plan gives you 6 cores, 24GB RAM, and 240GB of storage. Unfortunately, 1&1 makes the license cost scale with the plan price. This makes the largest plan cost $100/month, the license accounting for 60% of the price.
In a side-by-side Windows hosting comparison, 1&1’s pricing model is hardly the best value.
Luckily, the price of a Windows Server license with dedicated hosting is $35/month across the board. The smallest plan costs a total of $115/month and offers:
- 4 Intel® Xeon® E3-1230 v6 cores at 3.5GHz
- 12GB DDR4 RAM
- 2x 480GB Raid-1 SSD storage
You can get a variety of other getups, including some massive NVMe servers. You have more than enough room to scale, even if you run an enterprise-level organization. Since the OS price is fixed, you can get awesome deals.
Be careful not to confuse this with managed dedicated hosting. The latter has a similar price tag but doesn’t support Windows Server.
All in all, the dedicated plans are attractive for Windows users, but the VPS ones could be more affordable.
The shared plans run on Windows Server 2019 and support the ASP.NET 4.8, ASP.NET CORE 2.2, ASP.NET AJAX. ASP MVC 3, 4, and 5, MS SQL 2017, as well as PHP 7.2 and MySQL 5. 1&1 is quick to implement new technologies, so expect ASP.NET core 3.0 in the coming months as well.
You get wildcard SSL with shared hosting, as well as daily backups, tight security, a free domain name (with various extensions available), and a bunch of other features and freebies.
The shared Windows hosting prices are pretty fair, especially considering you get a bunch of goodies included. The initial discount makes it particularly affordable to get an ASP.NET site off the ground.
Both VPS and dedicated servers are unmanaged solutions. You get full root access so you have full flexibility, but you have to build everything from the ground up.
1&1 does offer a managed firewall, security features, and a backup solution for VPS. You also get a free SSL certificate, which is always useful.
Dedicated plan users can also enjoy an enterprise-grade firewall and some advanced security.
You can get Plesk for $5/month with all Windows hosting plans—the standard price. You have to run Windows Server 2016 for this feature, though.
As these are unmanaged solutions, there’s little more in terms of features to talk about.
The license price is pretty steep with the VPS. The offer would be much more attractive if it stayed $20/month for all plans. As things stand, you can get much cheaper unmanaged Windows hosting from a provider like Hostwinds.
Dedicated servers are more reasonably priced, though. If you need a robust Windows web host, 1&1 is an attractive choice.
Around the Web
While 1&1 gets plenty of positive reviews, there are enough negative ones in the mix to cause concern.
Many customers complain about 1&1 charging them for expired services. The provider does have some billing issues.
Terms of service state that you can cancel a product, but it will only be deemed canceled once you receive a written confirmation. So, the provider could theoretically just charge customers forever.
Most users can cancel their services just fine, but just having such a clause in legal documentation is ridiculous. If you ever cancel one of 1&1’s services, you should double and triple-check that it’s definitely canceled.
Other than the billing issue, 1&1’s MS hosting has no apparent problems.
Support is available via phone and email. There is live chat, but it is reserved for sales.
1&1’s support is fast and efficient. You can get help whenever you need it.
Keep in mind that both VPS and dedicated servers are unmanaged. Although you can get all kinds of help with shared hosting, you’re mostly on your own with higher-tier solutions.
- Affordable ASP.NET Hosting
- Affordable dedicated servers
- Cutting-edge technologies
- Decent support
- Pricy Windows license with VPS
- Shady cancellation policy
1&1 is a respectable and cheap Windows Server hosting provider, both for shared and dedicated plan users. You should be careful about outgrowing shared hosting, though—VPS plans are more expensive and also leave server management up to you.
Other than that, 1&1 is an excellent choice.
HostGator is one of the biggest names in hosting. Most users associate it with its WordPress hosting offer. Still, it also offers a Windows hosting service and puts forth some interesting plans.
Take a look at what they are about just below.
HostGator’s Windows hosting is just a regular ASP.NET platform. The $4.76/month plan will let you host one domain, while the $14.36/month plan allows up to five. The prices go up 25% on renewal.
All resources are unmetered, but they are regulated by fair use. You can track resource expenditure from the control panel to make sure you scripts aren’t overspending them.
There is no HostGator Windows VPS, but you can get a managed dedicated Windows server.
There’s little variety in the dedicated plans. The smallest plan only has HDD storage, so it’s best avoided unless speed really isn’t a priority.
The medium plan comes with 8 Intel Xeon-D CPU cores, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth. It costs $138.99/month for the first term and $249/month on renewal
The largest plan increases the RAM to 30GB and storage to 1TB and costs about $10 more.
Both are perfectly respectable options for medium-sized companies. The price is about average for the resources.
HostGator operates from US data centers. It achieves decent performance in North America. Other hosts have more reliable Windows-based web hosting for other regions, though.
Shared plans support all the technologies you might need like ASP.NET, Classic ASP, .NET Core, and modules like ASP MVC, Curl, and AJAX.
The plans include Plesk, a bunch of script installers, emailing features, and a free SSL certificate. The multi-domain plan throws in a dedicated IP address and upgrades you to Positive SSL, which are both handy freebies.
All in all, HostGator is a reliable ASP.NET hosting provider.
Apart from full management and custom configurations, dedicated servers include DDoS protection, a firewall solution, offsite backups, and site migrations.
That’s pretty much it. You can get a reliable solution for midrange organizations.
Around the Web
HostGator gets mixed reviews, to say the least.
EIG acquired it back in 2012. As it is usually the case, this caused quite a few issues, including significant outages.
The provider resolved many problems in the meantime and is always upgrading its technologies. Still, poor reputation is difficult to shed.
As it is the case with all EIG-owned brands, HostGator outsources its support.
The result is predictable—frontline agents are sort of slow and struggle communicating. The core tech support can get the job done, but the whole process leaves a bad taste.
HostGator has enough positive qualities to get into the top 10 Windows hosting providers, but the support is lacking.
On a happy note, HostGator’s knowledge base gets frequent updates. It has a bunch of useful guides for DIY users.
- Affordable shared plans
- Cool freebies
- Disappointing support
- Pricy renewal
- Few unique features
Bottom line—is HostGator a decent provider?
Yes, definitely. HostGator offers a respectable service for ASP.NET developers or mid-sized companies in the US.
Still, these reviews are about the best Windows hosting providers. HostGator needs more work to keep up with the rest of the pack.
8. What is Windows Hosting?
As the name suggests, Windows hosting is hosting on a server that runs on Windows. Server-ready versions of Windows fall under the brand name “Windows Server” and are most commonly used for hosting.
That’s pretty much all there is to it—it is hosting that runs on Windows. What’s more important is what you can do with it.
For starters, Windows Server hosting is a beginner-friendly entry point into server management.
If you’ve ever used a PC running Windows, you’re already familiar with the layout. Windows Server’s graphical interface is similar to that of standard Windows. There is a learning curve to managing it, but you get a smooth start.
After you set up the OS, you can use your Windows-based server for a variety of purposes. A popular one is website hosting.
ASP.NET is employed for building websites on a hosted Windows server. It is a flexible server-side framework that creates dynamic web applications.
The framework is easy to use and combines a variety of programming languages. You can create compiled apps with pretty lean code. This usually gives it a slight speed advantage over interpreted languages like PHP.
ASP.NET has other things going for it as well. It offers built-in caching, configuration information, and security protocols, among a host of other features.
There are a number of other technologies designed to run on Windows, like Microsoft SQL. Windows is a native environment for an impressive toolkit of web development technologies.
As Microsoft adds more and more functionality into Windows Server, using it as a website hosting OS is becoming increasingly attractive.
Still, it’s not all about website hosting—application hosting on a Windows server sees plenty of use within organizations. Here’s why.
9. Windows Special Features
Windows offers a solid foundation for website hosting. Take the OS to a corporate environment, though, and it becomes a real rock star.
Windows Server has more than a few exclusive technologies and features, intended to help organizations. These make it a lifeline for tens of thousands of companies, charities, non-governmental organizations—you name it.
Let’s cover a few of the prominent uses for a Windows-based server in this context.
Windows Exchange Server
Most companies start their emailing operations with something basic, like POP3 email hosting. This is usually just a small email inbox you use to download emails onto your computer.
After a while, though, running such email accounts for numerous employees can prove quite restrictive and, even worse, unreliable. So why not use a Windows hosting service to set up your own email server?
This is where Windows Exchange Server comes in. It is a top-notch mailing and calendaring software that works on top of Windows Server.
You can use it to let users store, send, and receive emails. Plus, you can set up custom rules to ensure no emails get misplaced or accidentally deleted beyond restore.
The software makes it easy to manage an entire emailing operation.
For instance, you can assign different amounts of resources to different users. So, those, whose job heavily relies on emailing—like salespeople—can get larger email inboxes. Those who only send a few emails here and there can get smaller inboxes, which saves server resources.
The solution also includes performance optimization, security measures, as well as a bunch of other advanced features.
Windows Exchange Server is a robust solution and one of the best pieces of software of its kind. It’s one of the best reasons for companies to go with a Windows Server host.
If you’ve ever been a part of a group project in high school, you know getting three people to cooperate is difficult. Working with five, though, is downright impossible.
Then there are organizations tasked with getting dozens, or even hundreds, of members to work together. In such cases, you need all the help you can get, or it can get tough.
SharePoint can ease your burden here.
It helps organize workflow, keep all documents in one place, and let people easily access and collaborate on projects. Everything happens on the server—no more employees running around with flash drives; no accidentally deleted files; no nonsense.
Thousands of companies—especially mid-sized and large ones—get a Windows Server rental just to run SharePoint.
Admittedly, it’s tough to explain SharePoint in just a few sentences. The solution simply offers that many possibilities. It’s essentially a set of a bunch of different software (something like MS Office) that help large organizations, well, organize their projects.
For starters, it has much more wholesome file management than with the traditional folder system. You can keep all company files in one, easily accessible place. More importantly, SharePoint ensures you won’t lose files due to someone deleting or renaming them.
Once you rent a Windows server and set everything up, employees can access the files they need from their own computers, update or change them, make suggestions, work on files simultaneously, etc. The list of features for making your organization more efficient goes on and on.
Users can also communicate with each other through SharePoint. You can set up a newsfeed for the whole organization, or even make a wiki or a knowledge base to serve as a reference point when completing tasks.
All in all, SharePoint is a brilliant solution if you’re working on projects that require collaboration—especially if some organization members are working remotely. It’s one of the best Windows hosting technologies for organizations of all sizes.
Most organizations that use computers can benefit from a computer network. It can just make it easier to conduct business, even if you don’t need something specific like Exchange Server or SharePoint.
Windows is the go-to solution here. You can easily deploy a client/server network and let connected users enjoy all its benefits.
The more recent iterations of Windows Server come packed with features that help you deploy a reliable network. These include (but are not limited to) a firewall software, remote access, network load balancing (if you are hosting Windows on multiple servers), VPN features, directory service, and much, much more.
Perhaps you are running a company and would like to restrict access to sensitive information. Windows makes it beyond easy to create custom roles for employees and assign them different levels of clearance for accessing and manipulating files.
It’s handy for letting dozens (or even hundreds) of employees share a network.
Admittedly, networking capabilities are not exclusive to Windows Server. If you want to connect five computers in an office, it shouldn’t be too difficult with just about any operating system.
As you add more computers to the network, though, you’ll begin to appreciate how Windows makes administration easier. It is a fantastically powerful and scalable solution, and it dramatically reduces the strain on any IT team. It’s excellent for any medium or large organization.
10. Windows v Linux—Who Wins?
Windows hosting vs. Linux hosting is an eternal debate, and it’s tough to talk about one without comparing it to the other.
Both platforms have their fair share of fervent supporters. Still, Linux is definitely more popular and is currently the gold standard in website hosting.
That said, this isn’t a popularity contest. Realistically speaking, both platforms have their merits. Here’s what they’re all about.
Ease of Use
A commonly cited advantage of Windows Server hosting is that it’s more straightforward. There’s some truth to this, but it shouldn’t be taken as absolute.
In reality, the easiest OS to use is the one you’re already familiar with. Linux might seem complicated, but there’s no faster way to frustrate a Linux admin than to put them in front of Windows.
The thing is, most users are already used to Windows through their home computers. Few non-technical users run a Linux command line at home. Windows just lets you transition into hosting more easily.
There is one respect in which Windows is definitely easier than Linux, and that is the setup. Windows does a much better job of laying out all the options and assisting you to choose what you need.
With Linux, you sort of have to build solutions from the ground up. This takes more effort and knowhow but gives you much more flexibility and lets you create leaner solutions.
Although Windows gives you some wiggle room too, you’ll often end up with features you’re not really using. It’s just the reality with even the best Windows servers.
So, Windows is more streamlined, but Linux offers greater flexibility.
This ties in with the previous point.
Linux-based servers usually run CLI. You could set up a graphical interface, but it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth.
Admittedly, working in a command line can be intimidating. It’s what puts off most newcomers.
Windows web services, however, let you choose between a GUI and CLI. The graphical interface is similar to that of the desktop OS, so it doesn’t take much adjustment.
That said, even if you start with GUI, it would be wise to get familiar with the command line. Aside from being an instrumental skill for server administrators, running a CLI can dramatically reduce server overhead. You won’t need as much server resources for running the same apps.
Having a broader choice is always better, so Windows takes this one. Although running a GUI is a viable option, though, you should get acquainted with CLI if you’re serious about server administration.
Many resources (some even published in 2019) name Linux-specific technologies like PHP and Windows-specific ones, like ASP.NET and MSSQL.
In reality, the lines between the two platforms are now blurred, at least in some respect. You can now get both Linux and Windows ASP.NET hosting, and you can set up a PHP-based platform like WordPress on both types of OS.
Still, the technologies are often much easier to implement and work better in their native environments.
Windows, then, is the default choice for ASP.NET. Still, it’s useful to know you can run it on Linux as well.
Likewise, Linux is intended for many of the most popular PHP-based CMSs. These include WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and dozens, if not hundreds, of others.
It also has a wider choice of web hosting control panels, including the most popular one—cPanel. Arguably the best Windows hosting control panel is Plesk, which can also run on Linux.
While this makes Linux more popular for website hosting, Windows is definitely preferred in a corporate setting. It offers fantastic exclusive technologies like SharePoint and Exchange Server that do wonders for businesses and organizations. You can read more about them above.
There are open-source alternatives that you can run on Linux, but they just fade in comparison to Windows’ functionality.
I advise against bringing this one up while both Windows and Linux fans are present.
There’s a lot to be said about the security features and pitfalls of both types of OS. Not only that, but both are very secure in the right hands.
That said, most potentially unwanted applications are written for Windows, and Windows falls prey to malware much more often.
Take what happened to A2 Hosting. It used to be regarded as the best Windows web hosting provider until a ransomware attack completely devastated its Windows operation.
Now, this isn’t meant to scare you. Windows solutions are still safe, as long as you handle security properly. Linux does have a slight advantage, though.
Linux distributions are generally more reliable than Windows Server.
This simply means Windows requires a reboot here and there. This is especially the case if you run complex apps with multiple databases.
Linux, on the other hand, lets you install and uninstall stuff, do updates, and make a huge mess, and can still run for years without a reboot.
It’s not that Windows is unstable. Microsoft made significant improvements over the years, so you’ll usually just reboot to install major updates. It’s just that Linux is ridiculously reliable.
Availability is not much of an issue with businesses, especially ones that run nine to five. You can just reboot the server at the end of the workday without trouble.
With website hosting, you need maximum availability, which can spell trouble for Windows. If you’re looking for a Windows web host, it’s best to find one with a solid uptime guarantee.
Most Linux distributions are open-source, which is tough to beat.
Windows Server is a licensed solution. This brings up the price of hosting it, compared to Linux.
It all depends on the hosting platform and the technology you need. Windows Server web hosting can cost anywhere from a few bucks with shared hosting to a few hundred bucks more expensive.
Paying for the license has its benefits, though. It means Microsoft is much more consistent with OS updates, and you can actually get technical support from its team.
With free Linux distributions, you rely on your own resources and potentially your hosting provider. This is usually more than enough, but having extra help hurt nobody.
Linux is definitely the more affordable solution. Windows can get pricey, especially if you need a data center license. You do get some level of insurance with security updates and professional support, however.
11. What to Choose—Windows or Linux?
There’s no clear winner. As with everything in hosting, the right option for you depends on your needs.
A Windows-based server is definitely more approachable to beginner server admins. Setting everything up is straightforward, so you can ease yourself into the role.
There is a learning curve to both Windows and Linux, though. You should be prepared for some intensive learning.
Windows is also a prime choice if you are in a corporate environment. It makes it a breeze to manage even large networks. Additionally, it offers a variety of software like SharePoint and Exchange Server that are invaluable for boosting efficiency.
Linux is usually the top choice for website hosting, though. The added reliability is excellent here, as uptime has a massive impact on a website’s success. It is also less prone to attacks, which is also one of the key web hosting factors, especially if you run an online store.
Linux is the native environment for popular CMSs like WordPress and Magento, as well as cPanel. Microsoft is slowly adapting its own OS to these, but Linux is still the top option.
Windows-based web hosting is more of a specialty choice for developers who want to run Microsoft’s apps.
Final verdict—Windows is definitely the top choice for businesses and organizations looking to boost their efficiency. It’s also more user-friendly and comes with technical support from Microsoft.
Linux is free and is the go-to option for hosting web applications. Windows is an alright choice here if you want something like web hosting with ASP.NET or MSSQL, but about 95% of non-technical users prefer Linux.
It’s a good idea to think about what you need and how much you can spend, and only then pick a platform that suits you.
12. Wrap Up
That wraps up the reviews of the best Windows hosting companies. You now know who the top providers are, what Windows is best for, and how it compares against its top competitor.
If you feel Windows Server might be the platform for you, take one of the providers for a spin and see what it can do.
Q: What is Windows web hosting?
A: Windows hosting is simply hosting that uses a Windows operating system.
The OS is usually a variant of Windows Server. The latest one is Windows Server 2019, and it came out just in the beginning of October.
One of the more popular uses for this is Windows web hosting. You can use a Windows hosting platform to deploy web-based apps like you would on any other server.
Windows hosting is also fantastic for running mailing servers or managing workflows. Its native apps are a favorite of many mid-sized, large, and even enterprise-level companies.
Q: Which hosting is better, Linux or Windows?
A: There’s no clear victor here. Both types of hosting have their advantages.
Linux definitely has the upper hand in website hosting. It’s stable, secure, and affordable—perfect for setting up a website. Still, there’s a lot to be said for creating fast apps with Windows website hosting and ASP.NET.
In corporate environments, Windows-based application hosting rules supreme. Windows Exchange and SharePoint servers are invaluable for businesses, and Linux apps simply can’t match their usefulness.
An additional benefit of Windows is that most users are already familiar with the interface through personal computers.
In short, the best type of hosting depends on what kind of application you intend to run. You can check out more about the differences between Linux and Windows and what they can do above.
Q: Can cPanel run on Windows?
A: No—cPanel runs exclusively on Linux and isn’t supported by non-Linux operating systems.
A popular alternative for Windows hosting plans is Plesk. This control panel works on both Windows Server and some Linux distributions. The control panel functions as both cPanel and WHM in one.
You’ll hear a variety of opinions on the two panels, but they are fairly similar. You get almost the same functionality and roughly the same ease of use. If you’re already used to cPanel, you can probably get accustomed to Plesk pretty quickly.
Q: What is ASP in web technology?
A: When talking about ASP, people usually mean ASP.NET. Classic ASP is its predecessor and is generally out of use, although you’ll see many providers that support it.
ASP.NET is a framework for server-side web development. It combines several programming languages and is an easy way for developers to create fast dynamic web applications.
Many sources claim ASP.NET is only supported by Windows Server. In fact, ASP.NET is now cross-platform, meaning you can run it on some Linux technologies. It is native to Windows, though, and its compatibility with Linux is something of a controversial topic.
Getting the best ASP.NET hosting usually means going for Windows.
Q: Why is Linux hosting cheaper than Windows?
A: Multiple factors go into determining the end price of hosting. The main factor here is that Windows Server is licensed, while many Linux distributions are open source.
In simple terms, the hosting provider has to pay to run Windows website hosting, which brings up the price of hosting. Meanwhile, Linux-based servers usually run on free operating systems like Ubuntu, CentOS, or Debian.
That said, there are paid Linux distros. It’s much less common to run these, though, and they are more of a special case than the norm.
It might seem more lucrative to go with the cheaper option. Still, being a licensed solution, Windows brings various benefits to the table, like tech support and more consistent updates. Plus, it can open up a whole new world of possibilities for businesses.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Windows can do, check out the best Windows hosting companies above.