The Best Visual Studio .NET Hosting: Who's The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2018]

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Visual Studio .NET Hosting

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What You'll Learn

You may or may not have heard of Visual Studio .NET - you are likely here to select your final hosting provider for the service. But first, let's learn about the benefits, perks, and cautions of VS .NET.

On this page, you will gain a clearer understanding of what to look out for, when choosing a hosting plan based on the development tool.

Why Visual Studio .NET

Why Use Visual Studio .NET?

Use Visual Studio .NET (or any other version) to build and customize full-featured sites with good usability. This integrated development environment (IDE) is used to develop computer programs for Microsoft Windows, web applications, websites, and web services.

Since it comes from Microsoft, several of the company's platforms are integrated into environments. These include Microsoft Silverlight, Windows API, Windows Store, Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation.

What Is Visual Studio .NET?

Visual Code Editor
The code editor has awesome features to get you and your team started.

Designed for developers, it provides a single comprehensive development tool for creating cutting edge applications. Visual Studio .NET allows developers the platform they need to build the next-generation internet.

These span any device, multiple platforms and create applications quickly. It is extremely powerful and can produce both native codes and managed code.

Uses of Visual Studio .NET

  • Creating Windows software
  • Developing XML web services
  • Building web apps
  • Creating mobile applications
  • Building websites

Visual Studio .NET is a visual programming environment provided by Microsoft. Its purpose is for allowing developers to create web services using XML (Extensible Markup Language). It's used by developers to create software and applications for Windows computers.

It's also used for building web apps, web services, mobile applications, and websites.

Additional Visual Studio .Net Uses and Features

Visual Studio .Net comes with a suite of products that work together to provide users with a visual interface. The product suite includes forms for building a user interface for applications. This is the features that allow application data to be integrated into the software. Visual Studio includes a code editor with useful debugging features as well.

Additional Uses

Visual Studio .NET essentially helps developers create desktop, mobile, and web applications. These applications can run on a variety of devices, servers, and operating systems. Developers use C# and Visual Basic programming languages to create the applications that run on the .NET framework.

Visual Studio .NET for Developers

Visual Studio .NET Offerings
Visual Studio .NET functionalities.

Geared toward developers, Visual Studio .NET is a set of development tools that can be used to build ASP Web applications, mobile applications, desktop applications, XML Web services, and more.

Several programming languages, including Visual C++ .NET, Visual Basic .NET, and others, using this IDE in order to share tools. This allows for easier creation of solutions written in mixed languages.

Microsoft Windows, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, and other programs run on managed code and native code written with Visual Studio.

Visual Studio .NET Development Tools

Development Tools

Visual Studio .NET also comes with a handful of built-in tools such as Web, schema, class, and form designers to help you not only build but customize your site, and improve usability.

XML Web Services

Much of this development environment is focused on XML Web services and built around this technology. XML Web services allow applications to quickly share data over the internet.

These services are flexible and they allow developers to put together applications from both new and existing code - in any programming language, on any platform, and whatever object model you require. Data sharing is often undervalued as a perk, however, it can create unexpected pitfalls if not addressed.

Intellisense

Visual Studio .NET Features
VS .NET have a full, detailed breakdown of features on their website.

Visual Studio features a number of handy development tools. For example, a code editor is available that supports code refactoring and Intellisense features is integrated throughout.

There are forms designers, entry point for plug-ins, and it is extendable to adding many new toolsets into the environment. Having such a malleable environment creates a comfortable working space for many developers.

Find The Best Visual Studio .NET Hosting For You

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A2+Hosting screenshot
A2 Hosting Windows Lite plan
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
227 user reviews
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$4.90/mo
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Interserver Windows Cloud VPS plan
25GB 1TB
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 5 stars
4.5 stars
207 user reviews
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$10.00/mo
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LiquidWeb Windows VPS plan
100GB 5TB
  • Support 4.5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 4.5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
62 user reviews
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$99.00/mo
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1&1 Windows Unlimited plan
  • Support 2.5 stars
  • Features 2.5 stars
  • Uptime 3 stars
  • Value 2.5 stars
2.5 stars
324 user reviews
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$0.99/mo
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Hostwinds Windows SSD VPS plan
  • Support 3 stars
  • Features 3 stars
  • Uptime 3 stars
  • Value 3 stars
3 stars
23 user reviews
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$13.50/mo
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WinHost Basic plan
3GB 50GB
  • Support 1 stars
  • Features 1 stars
  • Uptime 4 stars
  • Value 1 stars
2 stars
1 user reviews
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$4.95/mo
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Daily Razor CF Starter 9 Web plan
  • Support 4 stars
  • Features 4 stars
  • Uptime 4 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4 stars
7 user reviews
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$6.95/mo
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Host1Plus WIN4 plan
50GB 1TB
  • Support 5 stars
  • Features 4.5 stars
  • Uptime 5 stars
  • Value 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
9 user reviews
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$65.00/mo
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Host4ASP.NET Basic plan
  • Support 3 stars
  • Features 4 stars
  • Uptime 3 stars
  • Value 3 stars
3 stars
5 user reviews
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$2.95/mo
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Hostek Windows VPS Starter plan
  • Support 0 stars
  • Features 0 stars
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0 stars
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$29.99/mo
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History of Visual Studio .NET

Visual Studio was created in 1997 as a development environment for multiple programming languages. Then, Visual Studio .NET was released in 2002. This version introduced a managed code development environment that used the .NET framework, allowing developers to use it to create ASP.NET applications.

Later Releases

A variety of updated releases have followed this, adding features that support upgrades to ASP.NET and the .NET framework. Further releases added features like their code editor and cleaned up the UI to reduce clutter and include support for various types of computer monitors.

Visual Studio .NET Features

What's Included with Visual Studio .NET?

There are three price points for Visual Studio .NET application. More expensive packages include Microsoft's SQL server and the Visio product. The Microsoft SQL server is a relational database management system like MySQL but works on Windows instead of Linux.

Microsoft Visio is a powerful product that allows people to create almost any kind of diagram. Such as flow charts and floor plans.

Despite this there are a number of features which are included regardless of the package you choose:

  1. Code Editor
  2. Intellisense feature (within code editor)
  3. Debugging Tool (within code editor)
  4. Windows Form Designer
  5. Visual Studio Team Services
  6. Azure
  7. ASP.NET Development Modules

Code Editor

Visual Studio includes a code editor. It also has a community edition that is available for free for individual developers and smaller teams. This version also supports plug-ins.

Their built-in code editor is popular amongst developer for its intuitive feature set, as well as the simplistic design.

Intellisense (within code editor)

Integrated into the code editor is something called IntelliSense. This provides completions during your coding based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules. Microsoft's later editions of Visual Studio have made the code completion box semi-transparent so that developers can see the code behind it.

Their code editor also includes the syntax highlighting which is common for these types of applications. Visual Studio Code also makes it possible to set bookmarks in your code.

Why use it?

This allows for faster navigation. To make programmers' lives even easier, Visual Studio Code lets you save code snippets that can be used as templates when using repetitive code. And, as you're coding, Visual Studio compiles the code in the background to deliver feedback about possible syntax and compilation errors.

Debugging Tool

Visual Studio .NET Debug Feature
The debugging feature is popular amongst developers of all languages.

You'll also be able to engage in code debugging straight from the code editor. This debugger works on both native code and managed code. You can even attach their debugger to your running applications.

Windows Form Designer

Visual Studio .NET also includes many visual designers that will help developers create applications. For example, they give you the Windows Form Designer to build graphical user interface applications using Windows Forms.

Visual Studio Team Services

Additionally, Visual Studio offers a collaborative development environment that they call Visual Studio Team Services.

This service allows developers to code in any language and integrates their own tools into the application using the included marketplace. This web application keeps development teams on the same page. They've also made it simple to build apps for mobile devices and the cloud with built-in tasks and templates.

Azure

Finally, with Visual Studio you also get access to Azure development tools. This is a cloud-computing service that Microsoft provides for developers to manage their applications and web services.

Developers run their code in this application, so they can deploy their projects to datacenters easily and within minutes. This lets developers host their ASP.NET applications and websites in the cloud, using a worldwide network of Microsoft's datacenters. Microsoft Azure uses a pay-as-you-go subscription plan for this service. But users can also try it out for free.

Modules for Creating ASP.NET Applications

Included with Visual Studio is ASP.NET Web Forms. This is part of the ASP.NET application and is one module that can be used to create ASP.NET web applications. You can read more about ASP.NET below.

What is ASP.NET

What is ASP.NET

ASP.NET is a web application framework. Developers use it to create web pages and applications. The purpose of ASP.NET is to allow developers to build these web applications with minimal coding required.

What is a Web Form?

So, what's a web form? A web form is a name for web pages built using ASP.NET. This is a page that an internet user requests using their browser. They can request this by entering a URL in their address bar or by clicking on a link from another web page such as Google search results.

Web forms are written using a variety of languages including HTML and server code.

When someone requests a web page, the ASP.NET framework on the server executes the code and generates the HTML file that the browser reads. As a result, the ASP.NET Web Forms page will present the user with the information on the web page. Essentially, an ASP.NET Web Form is a web page created as part of an ASP.NET application.

ASP.NET MVC

Other than ASP.NET Web Forms, another module for creating an ASP.NET web application is ASP.NET MVC. The “MVC” in this name stands for Model-View-Controller. It's basically an architectural pattern that separates the web application building process into three components.

ASP.NET MVC Functions

Free Version
VS .NET has a free version you can use.

These three pieces are the model, the view, and the controller. The model component handles the logic for the application, retrieving and storing the model state in the database. Views are the components that are responsible for displaying the UI of the application.

Controllers are the components that deal with user interaction on the app. This handles how the application responds to user input.

Component Function Notes
Model Handles logic for the application Directly manages data and rules
View Displays the application UI Multiple views of information are possible
Controller Handles user interaction responses Converts inputs to commands

Ease with the MVC Module

Developers may find it easier to create web applications using the MVC module because of this separation. For cross-platform development, developers can use .NET Core. This is a development platform that is provided by both Microsoft and the .NET community that supports Windows, Linux, and MacOS.

What is Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS)?

Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) is web server software for windows. You may be familiar with Apache, the Linux-based web server. This is what IIS is, but for Windows instead. As it is a web server, IIS is used to host websites and applications on the internet.

IIS comes with a graphical user interface that makes managing websites easy. Web administrators can use the tool to configure and publish their websites. ISS is used to serve ASP.NET applications and websites. But the server can also host basic HTML web pages as well.

IIS Functions

Like other web servers, IIS supports the integration of modules that add custom functionality to the server. For example, you could add a module that caches PHP processes to help PHP scripts run faster.

There are a variety of other modules that can be installed on the IIS server based on what the developers want to accomplish. Such as modules that support the running of multimedia files on a website.

IIS Licensing

One downside of IIS is that it isn't free to use. On the other hand, the Apache web server is completely free because it is open-source. Instead, use of IIS requires a commercial license. Users will also find that they will have to pay more as the number of users on the server increases.

This is one reason why Windows hosting offered by web hosting companies is usually more expensive than Linux hosting. Developers can install IIS on their own computers to test website projects or host them on their own without using a hosting service.

Visual Studio .NET hosting

Microsoft developers like Visual Studio .NET hosting because it gives them dedicated-level performance and stability in their development platforms. Whether it's development or testing, Visual Studio .NET hosting is a powerful platform that typically comes with uptime guarantees and worry-free operation.

Additionally, standing up standalone dedicated servers to do the same thing is a time-consuming that is wasteful and potentially risky.

Versioning Control Software (VCS)

The construct is typically stacked with some flavor of versioning control software (VCS) which is a software method of controlling versions that go into development. In a hosted environment, component versioning, reversions, and all things development are easily piped through a web browser URL or development interface.

Visual Studio itself has a number of tools that make development as easy as possible and a popular choice for developers. Upgrade wizards allow code from other sources to be easily imported into the .NET framework.

Microsoft is always improving the platform towards supporting the latest in XML Web Services and the latest in Web services standards.

.NET Framework

Although new editions of this software no longer include the ".NET" in their names, all Visual Studio products still run primarily on the .NET Framework. Check your hosting plan parameters to confirm whether it can accommodate Visual Studio .NET.

One of the best things about Visual Studio .NET hosting is how flexible it is, allowing for many languages, styles of programming, styles of working, multiple platform capabilities, and the ability to lock down key component for team development.

It is often noted how empowering and powerful it can be for developers to be able to use their web browsers to connect and sync up to a hosted copy of this platform and start developing in a short amount of time.

Visual Studio .NET Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

As with most things in life, Visual Studio .NET hosting has both positive and negative aspects.

Here are some of the Pros and Cons of using Visual Studio .NET hosting:

Pros:

  • Visual Studio supports multiple programming languages including JavaScript, Visual C++, and C#
  • It's the strongest Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for .NET languages
  • Visual Studio Code provides advanced code editing features like code completion and debugging
  • The software has strong support behind it and frequent updates
  • There is a free community version available for small teams

Cons:

  • Visual Studio forces you to work on a Windows computer instead of a MacBook which many developers prefer
  • For code editing, there are smaller options available than the large Visual Studio software
  • The free community edition will only work well for a small team of developers. Larger teams will have to pay for an expensive license

Visual Studio .NET Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Visual Studio .NET

    Visual Studio .NET is an integrated development environment (IDE) for the .NET framework. It is most often used with the Visual Basic or C# programming languages.

  • Why should I use a hosted solution for Visual Studio .NET?

    While you can still download and install Visual Studio on your own computer, just like you used to in the old days, a hosted solution provides a number of benefits, including flexibility to program from anywhere, additional collaboration features, and increased system resources.

    Of course, if you run Visual Studio on your own hosted server, make sure to do your research to find a hosting platform that will provide the best performance. There are also Azure-based hosting plans available, which are optimized for Visual Studio hosting.

  • What languages can I program in with Visual Studio .NET?

    Visual Studio allows you to code in most popular languages, including C#, C++, Java, Python, Visual Basic, and more.

  • What are XML Web services?

    XML Web Services allow different applications from different sources to communicate, using standardized protocols. By passing standardized XML, web services share data and processes across a network, allowing users to interface with the original source without needing a custom GUI or additional programming.

  • Can I create apps for mobile devices?

    Yes. Visual Studio was designed to create applications for desktop, web, mobile, and cloud environments. What's more, you can utilize the same code to create separate apps for each.

  • Can I create apps for non-Windows devices?

    Yes. Being a Microsoft product, the primary focus for Visual Studio is, of course, Windows devices. However, you can create for other devices either by developing web-based applications or by taking advantage of Visual Studio's global partner ecosystem, which allows you to utilize cross-platform programs, such as Xamarin, to compile your source code for multiple devices, including iOS, Android, and Mac.

  • Is Visual Studio integrated with other Microsoft services?

    Visual Studio is integrated with a number of other Microsoft services. Visual Studio can be purchased and used with MSDN. You can subscribe to Visual Studio services through Azure, and host your website using Azure. It is optimized for developing applications to run on Windows desktops, the Windows Store, and Windows Phone. It can also be used to create custom business applications that integrate with Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office.

  • What advantages does Visual Studio offer development teams?

    Visual Studio provides a number of features for development teams, including version control, unlimited Git or TFVC repos, the ability to program for multiple platforms using the same code, workflow management, code review processes, automated build processes for continuous integration, change tracking, and group management to set access rights and permission for your various development teams.

  • Why should a programmer use Visual Studio?

    Aside from being a powerful programming environment capable of handling many programming languages, Visual Studio offers a number of conveniences for programmers.

    The IntelliSense feature auto-completes code for you, increasing speed and accuracy. Like MS Word detecting potential grammar mistakes, Visual Studio adds squiggly lines under code that may cause issues. There are a number of built-in navigation features to make it easier to find your way around large segments of code. Code Lens allows you to quickly view a code's call structure, navigate to related functions, and see whether its tests are passing, without leaving your code.

    You can adjust your layout, view a complete list of errors, and much more.

  • How can I manage my Visual Studio applications once they’ve been distributed?

    Visual Studio provides a number of tools to monitor performance, analytics, and usage for your websites and apps.

    You can set up customizable dashboards to track performance, usage, and any crashes. You can establish tests and thresholds, and set up alerts so that you are notified if something isn't performing to standards. Response times, request logs, and more are available to diagnose performance problems. And you can create custom analytics to determine things such as where users come from and what parts of your app are most popular, so you can continuously optimize and improve.

  • What is the difference between Visual Studio and Visual Studio Community?

    Visual Studio Community is a free version of Visual Studio. It is identical to Visual Studio professional in terms of features and capabilities. However, it has a much more limited license.

    • Individual developers can use Visual Studio Community for free to develop apps.
    • Organizations can use Visual Studio Communities for an unlimited number of users, so long as it's being used in a classroom, for academic research, or to contribute to open source projects.
    • And non-enterprise organizations (with less than 250 PCs or less than $1M in annual revenue) can use Communities for up to 5 users.
  • Is .NET open-source?

    Yes. In late 2014, Microsoft made the full server-side .NET stack open-source. This includes ASP.NET, the .NET compiler, and the .NET Core Runtime, Framework, and Libraries. The move to open-source was meant to promote the development of .NET application across Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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