Windows Web Hosting Providers
Are you ready to learn more about windows web hosting? Let’s begin! The original announcement introducing the Windows GUI for the MS-DOS OS was made by Microsoft in 1984. After that multiple enhancements and changes have been made in the Windows family. The Windows family in general comprises of various versions of the Windows Operating system. Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows ME are all a part of it.
The 21st century gave the family the additions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and very recently Windows 10. The Windows NT which is another family of design, brought the operating system into the world of SPARC architecture. With Windows 95, Windows Explorer replaced the Program manager.
As we know Windows is an operating system created by Microsoft. Just like the Linux operating system, the Windows server can be used as a web hosting server. A Windows PC or non-Windows PC can both be connected to a non-Windows server with absolutely no issues. Windows however, is not open source or available for free. It is a software sold be Microsoft for a fee. The owner of the software will have to hold a license for it. This license needs to be purchased from Microsoft.
If you decide to use a Windows based hosting service instead of Linux, the hosting provider will be the owner of the license and hence, will have paid for it. This payment will in turn make the web hosting service more expensive for you. The commonly used web hosting services are on Linux servers. The open source, inexpensive and robust nature of the Linux servers has made Linux a default option for most web hosting providers. However, a Linux based web hosting solution is not the suitable option for all users. Some users need the other best alternative – The Windows server. There could be many reasons for this.
Some Of The Important Reasons Include:
- If your website uses the ASP or .NET framework, a Windows server is your only option. Using the .NET framework in turn has its own advantages. It makes possible programming in languages used in embedded environments like C++ and desktop.
- Also, businesses dependent on Microsoft based software like the Microsoft Office Suite will need a Windows based web hosting service. Use of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and FrontPage will need a Windows based server.
- The same rule applies for any users working with technologies like C#, Visual Basic, ColdFusion etc.
- Remote desktop feature used directly from your MAC or PC to your server is available with Windows hosting.
- Some companies have a big pool of programmers highly skilled in the .NET framework and the multiple languages that can be used with it.
Some people believe that if you use or own a Windows computer, you will have to default to the Windows web hosting service! However, this is far from the truth. A web hosting service is not dependent on the operating system used by your device. A Windows computer can easily work with a Linux server.
Sometimes Linux Is a Better Choice
If the user is working with technologies like Ruby, Python, Perl etc., a Linux based web hosting service is a better choice. It’s secure, open sourced, inexpensive and robust nature give it that reputation.
Applications like WordPress work well with both Windows and Linux. However, the support available for WordPress working with Windows is very less compared to that available for WordPress users working with Linux. Hence, unless the user is completely positive that they do not need any help from the user community resolving issues, Linux would be the better option.
The choice also depends hugely on the databases generally used by the website developer. Linux uses the MySQL database while Windows uses the Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL databases.
Users that prefer or have significant expertise in using the Plesk or DirectAdmin hosting panels will have to stick to using a Windows based web hosting service. On the other hand, users of cPanel or WHM need to use a Linux based hosting service.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows Hosting
Let’s look at the advantages first:
- Easier to use, update and manage in general
- Very stable when managed well by the host
- Supports scripting languages like ASP
- Very less interaction with the command line interface required
Now for the disadvantages:
- Linux is the industry standard
- Not flexible to be customized
- Not the best option for working with the Apache module
- Not very convenient to use with PHP
- A lot more expensive compared to Linux
- Support available for WordPress with Windows is not that great
- Most web hosting providers use Linux by default
Windows Hosting Provider Options
There are many companies that offer packages for Windows based web hosting services. These usually differ based on the price and available features. The prices can vary greatly. They range from as cheap as $1/month to as expensive as $95/month.
Weighing the pros and cons of each option along with analyzing the user requirements is key to selecting the right web hosting provider. GoDaddy is the web hosting provider most commonly recommended for Windows hosting. It supports all the technologies a user might need like ASP, .NET and MS SQL databases. They also have great technical support available for any issues that may arise. Other good options for hosting providers include Bluehost and InMotion.
General Information For Beginners or Professionals
Microsoft technologies have always seen a strong presence in the IT and computing world. As a result, IT professionals with Microsoft certifications are always in high demand. Anyone wishing to get Microsoft certified has many different domains to choose from. They vary from server administration, desktop support to specific applications like Lync and Exchange.
Recent times have seen a high demand for professionals with certifications in the SharePoint Server administration in particular.
Windows Web hosting FAQ
What is an operating system?
All computer programs require an operating system to work. An operating system is like the interface between the hardware and software on a computer. It is basically system software that manages the computer’s hardware and software and provides them with some common services. Windows by Microsoft is the most commonly used operating system. After this there are Linux, Android by Google and iOS by Apple amongst the others.
What is Windows?
Microsoft Windows is a group of families of operating systems developed by the Microsoft Corporation. Each family of operating systems caters to the requirements of a different sector of the computing community. There have been many different versions of Windows released over the years. Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows 98 are some of the more latest versions.
Is Windows suitable to be a web hosting server?
Yes, after Linux, Windows is the other option for a web hosting server.
Do Windows PC users need to use the Windows web hosting server?
No, although it would be recommended, this is not absolutely necessary. Users can connect remotely to a non-Windows server from a Windows PC very easily.
What are the alternatives to using Windows?
The most popular alternative to Windows is the Linux operating system. Linux is available in many different distributions/versions. Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, CentOS are some of those distributions.
Can cPanel be used on Windows? If not, what are the other options for hosting control panels available?
No, cPanel cannot be used with Windows. There was an attempt made to introduce a version of cPanel for Windows called Enkompass, but it is no longer available. The most commonly used control panel for Windows is Plesk. Hosting Controller, MachPanel, WebsitePanel are some of the other options.
Is it more expensive to use Windows instead of Linux as a web hosting server?
Yes, it is significantly more expensive to use Windows instead of Linux. This is mainly because Linux is free and open source while Windows is not. Windows is a proprietary software developed and sold by Microsoft. It means that someone has to pay for the Windows server you are using. This is generally covered in the cost of the hosting plan that you purchase from the hosting provider. This cost will be higher than that for a Linux server. If you own the Windows server, you will need to purchase a license for it.
What are the advantages of the .NET framework for web application development?
.NET has a common language runtime that enables the programmer to write a program in multiple languages. The .NET framework is also a web application development platform along with being a framework. Thus, having a group of developers experienced in these languages gives the company a strong reason to go with the Windows platform.
Other than the .NET framework which other technologies are only available with the Windows server?
The Microsoft Silverlight has so far only been available with the Windows environment. Web browsers require a special plugin to view Silverlight content. Silverlight is like Adobe Flash. It is an application framework used for writing and running rich web applications that include streaming media, graphics, animation etc. One of the many attractive features of the Silverlight framework is the deep zoom that creates excellent effects that can embed an unlimited amount of information into one frame.
What other important technical reasons are there to use a Windows Server instead of Linux?
The decision to use either Windows or Linux web servers depends entirely on what the user wants to do in his/her project. In case the user needs to use Microsoft Exchange for running shared email or calendaring, this will have to be done using the Windows server.
On the whole, is Windows better than Linux for web hosting or is it the other way round?
At least as far as web hosting is concerned, Linux is the ideal option. It has hence become the industry standard for web hosting plans. Main reasons for this include its free and open source nature and powerful performance. So unless the client has a specific technical reason for using the Windows server, Linux will always be the better option.