Windows hosting has a variety of advantages, especially for users who prefer certain programming languages, need more control, and dislike cPanel. While Windows hosting is available at all levels, there are fewer overall web hosts that offer Windows hosting services.
Therefore, it can be challenging to find Windows hosting with all the features you need. It also comes with a higher price tag, so you want to make sure you're getting the most for your money. This article delves into the pros and cons of Windows hosting, and gives our top picks for the best Windows hosting services available.
We gathered all the Windows hosting plans from the more than 1,500 hosting plans we've reviewed over the last decade. We then combined them with our thousands of customer reviews to determined the top-10 Windows hosts.
1&1 IONOS has been in business since 1988, with headquarters in both Germany and Pennsylvania. It has 10 international data centers with over 90,000 servers running on renewable energy, and has over 8 million customers and 2,000 employees.
When it comes to web hosting, IONOS promises 99.9% uptime, DDoS and data loss protection, and 24/7 customer support. You can choose from several hosting plans for Windows, including Business, which costs $1 per month for the first year, and $8 per month after that. It supports a single website with up to 100 GB of storage.
The Pro plan costs $1 per month for the first six months, then $10 per month, and supports up to five websites with 250 GB of storage. There's also an Expert plan that's perfect for hosting "multiple large web projects," with up to 50 websites and 500 email accounts. All plans come with a free Wildcard SSL certificate and free domain.
You can also try out their professional website builder and online store features free for your first month, with a 30-day money back guarantee on all plans.
Starting at $1/month
>Server Types: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, WordPress >Free Domain >SSL Certificate >More features at 1&1 IONOS
Pros & Cons of 1&1 IONOS Web Hosting
1&1 IONOS makes it easy to build and host your website with built-in tools for website creation and e-commerce. Straightforward pricing options allow you to add on features that you need, such as G Suite for $3 per month or business email for $1 per month. However, while introductory rates are low, renewal rates are fairly high, and you may not get as much storage space for your money as some of their competitors offer.
One reviewer gives IONOS high marks for ease of use and customer support: "Helped inspire me into doing more than just day dreaming about my online presence." Another says, "Transferring a domain from another host to IONOS was a simple process."
While A2 Hosting is known for its Linux hosting plans, as of this writing, its website says that Windows hosting plans will be coming soon, and "our engineers are still perfecting our Windows platform." So if you're interested in this hosting provider, you can sign up to be notified by email and get "special deals when we launch."
If their other pricing plans are anything to go by, you can expect to pay $2.99 per month for a Startup plan, which comes with one website and 100 GB storage, or $4.99 per month for a Drive plan, which includes unlimited websites and storage. Their Turbo Boost and Turbo Max plans cost a bit more, but provide up to 20 times faster server speeds.
A2 Hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate, 24/7/365 customer support, and free site migration, and automatic backup options. Their data centers are located in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and you can choose which one you want to use. You'll also get the benefit of a 30-day money-back guarantee, and prorated refunds after that.
Full refund within 30 days, prorated refund anytime
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at A2 Hosting
Pros & Cons of A2 Hosting Web Hosting
Windows hosting plans are still in the works, so if you're trying to get started right away, then A2 Hosting may not be an option. But with their impressive uptime, 24/7 customer support, and generous refund policy, they may be worth the wait. In the meantime, you can explore their other hosting options, including dedicated servers and VPS hosting.
>24/7/365 support >International data centers
>Windows options coming soon
What Customers Are Saying
Customers speak highly of their pricing plans and customer support. One reviewer says, "A2 Hosting is a cost-effective deal for both companies and Small-Medium Businesses," while another says, "I am very pleased and impressed with the level of support from A2 Hosting — that's in addition to their excellent documentation."
AccuWeb offers several Windows hosting plans, including personal and business web hosting, as well as VPS hosting and reseller hosting. The Personal web hosting option supports one website, with 10 GB SSD storage and 500 GB data transfer per month for $3.52 per month. The Small Business plan supports three websites and 30 GB storage, while the Enterprise plan supports five websites and 50 GB storage.
All plans come with the Plesk control panel, up to 150 email accounts for each domain, daily website backups, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you prefer VPS hosting, fully managed Windows SSD servers start at $10 per month, and come with remote desktop access, weekly backups, and a seven-day money-back guarantee.
AccuWeb has servers in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and provides 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. You'll also get access to site-building tools such as WordPress, Joomla, and RVsitebuilder to help you get started.
Personal: $3.52/month Small Business: $6.58/month Enterprise: $12.46
>Server Types: Shared, Cloud, WordPress, Reseller, Dedicated, VPS >24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >More features at AccuWeb
Pros & Cons of AccuWeb Web Hosting
While Windows hosting plans start at an affordable $3.52 per month, you'll have to sign up for three years to get that rate. The shortest billing cycle is six months, with a monthly rate of $4.32 per month on the same plan. Still, that's a reasonable price to pay for what you get, including 24/7 support, reliable uptime, and easy-to-use site-building tools.
>24/7 customer support >Consistent uptime
>Minimum 6 month billing cycle
What Customers Are Saying
Several customers speak highly of their hosting plans and reliable customer support: "I am extremely happy with the ticket system and how much attention my issue got within minutes, even though I marked it as low priority." Another says, "Performance is great, and there's a lot of functionality included in the hosting package!"
Cloudways offers managed cloud hosting, which means you don't have to worry about configuring any servers yourself. Instead, you can set up SSH keys to connect to your application from your Windows, Linux, or macOS device. Although there's no standard money-back guarantee, you can get started with a free trial, and if you choose hourly pricing, you'll only pay for the storage and bandwidth that you actually use.
You can choose from one of five cloud service providers, including Google Cloud, AWS, and Digital Ocean, although prices vary widely between them. The cheapest is Digital Ocean, which starts at $10 per month, while AWS starts at $36.51 per month.
All Cloudways plans come with a free SSL certificate, free migration, a CDN add-on, a staging environment, automated backups, and more. You'll also get 24/7/365 support via live chat and ticketing, with Advanced and Premium options for a faster response time and priority support. Servers are available in dozens of international locations, depending on which cloud provider you choose.
$10/month and up
>Server Types: Cloud Hosting >24/7 Support >Database backups >More features at Cloudways
Pros & Cons of Cloudways Web Hosting
Cloudways is a great option if you're looking for managed hosting, since you won't have to navigate AWS or Google Cloud Platform yourself. However, pricing varies widely, and you'll pay less if you choose a lesser-known cloud provider, like Linode or Vultr. With its pay-as-you-go pricing plans and 24/7 support, Cloudways makes it easy to get started, but you'll have to pay extra for domain registration and email hosting.
>Pay-as-you-go pricing >24/7/365 support
>Email not included >No domain registration
What Customers Are Saying
Cloudways has good reviews from customers who want an efficient and hassle-free hosting option: "We gave Cloudways a try and we saw our client sites have page load time decreased from an average of 5.4 seconds to just over 1 second." Another says, "with cloud as the backend … you don't have to know Linux at all."
DreamHost is one of the biggest names in the business, notable for their WordPress hosting plans and 97-day money-back guarantee. If you're looking for shared hosting, then you can choose from either the Shared Starter plan or Shared Unlimited, both of which come with a free domain, free SSL certificate, and website builder.
The Starter plan costs $2.59 per month and supports one website, with email costing an extra $1.67 per month. The Unlimited plan offers unlimited websites and unlimited email at your domain for $4.95 per month. With either plan, you'll get unlimited bandwidth and storage, automated backups, and an easy-to-use control panel.
As for support, DreamHost promises 24/7 availability, although live chat is only available between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. PST. There's also an online knowledge base where you can find detailed guides and answers to frequently asked questions.
If you're in the market for something other than shared hosting, you can also choose cloud hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, or standalone email hosting.
Starter: $2.59/month Unlimited: $4.95 per month
>Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage >24/7 Support >Free Domain >More features at DreamHost
Pros & Cons of DreamHost Web Hosting
With a 97-day money-back guarantee and unlimited bandwidth and storage, DreamHost is a cost-effective hosting provider with a range of different services. However, not all of their offerings are available on Windows servers, so you'll need to confirm its suitability before settling on a plan. For example, their cloud servers come preloaded with Linux, but can be configured to run Windows or another operating system of your choice.
>97-day money-back guarantee >Unlimited bandwidth and storage
>Limited options for Windows
What Customers Are Saying
DreamHost gets positive reviews for its technical capabilities and customer support: "I have never had an issue that was not resolved quickly, and in some cases DreamHost proactively dealt with the issue before I was aware of it." Another customer says that "I've rarely had a problem with their service and when there is a glitch, they are on it, helping a not-particularly-computer-literate person fix the problem quickly."
Everleap offers cloud hosting for developers, so it's a little more tech-driven than some of the other options on our list. It provides scalable ASP.NET cloud hosting that supports .NTE Core and ASP.NET, and describes itself as a "simpler, more affordable alternative to Azure" for those who are "tired of managing" their own Windows servers.
You can choose from one of two cloud hosting options: single site or multi-site. As the name implies, single site gets you one website with 5 GB of disk space, 1 GB of email storage, and 100 GB bandwidth. Pricing ranges from $20 to 25 per month, depending on how many months you subscribe for, from three months to one year. Power Packs are also available if you need to boost your disk space, memory, or bandwidth.
The multi-site plan supports up to five sites, with 500 GB bandwidth and 25 GB of storage space. You can also add on Power Packs and other enhancements, such as automated cloud backups, SSL certificates, domain name registrations, and more. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial, or get a full refund with their 60-day money-back guarantee.
Single site: $20/month Multi-site: $40/month
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at Everleap
Pros & Cons of Everleap Web Hosting
Everleap's pricing is pretty straightforward, with individually-priced add-ons that cover most of the upgrades you could want for your site. However, since some basics aren't included with all plans, you may find yourself paying more overall. Everleap's hosting plans are aimed at developers who have "outgrown" their existing web hosting.
>Clear pricing structure >30-day free trial
>Limited storage and bandwidth
What Customers Are Saying
Customers speak highly of Everleap's support team: "I receive the kind of support of a big company with the sense of personal attention like a small business." Another says, "The platform is well documented, so I did not need much help, but when I did, I was very impressed by the amazing service that was provided."
GoDaddy offers Windows hosting for ASP.NET, .Net Core, and SQL server users, with an easy-to-use Onyx Plesk control panel and one-click install of WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. You'll also get 200 MB MSSQL database storage and DDoS protection.
The Economy plan starts at $5.99 per month, and includes 100 GB storage for a single website, plus unmetered bandwidth. The Deluxe plan supports unlimited websites and storage for $7.99 per month, while Ultimate includes an SSL certificate and additional features for $12.99 per month. All plans come with a free domain name and a free year of Office 365 email, while website backups cost an extra $2.99 per month.
GoDaddy provides 24/7 security monitoring, as well as 24/7 customer support. If you subscribe to an annual plan, you'll get a 30-day money-back guarantee, but monthly subscribers only have 48 hours to request a full refund. GoDaddy also offers Linux hosting and managed WordPress hosting with an integrated website builder.
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at GoDaddy
Pros & Cons of GoDaddy Web Hosting
GoDaddy's hosting plans can accommodate everyone from experienced developers to small businesses looking to host their first website. You'll even get Office 365 Email for free for your first year. Some important features cost extra through, such as automatic backups, and you can expect to pay higher rates when you renew your plan.
>24/7 customer support >Microsoft integrations
>Backups cost more >Higher renewal rates
What Customers Are Saying
One customer was happy with GoDaddy's "reliable servers, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service, personalized to my business." Another says, "GoDaddy's Pro program is a must-have for any web designer/developer, as it makes it incredibly easy to handle all the logistics around clients' accounts."
HostGator offers several impressive features, including a full migration service, 24/7/365 support, and a 45-day money-back guarantee. They offer dedicated hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and more, as well as a drag-and-drop website builder.
When it comes to Windows hosting, they offer two plans for your ASP.NET website. The Personal plan starts at $4.76 per month, supports one domain, and includes a free SSL certificate. The Enterprise plan starts at $14.36 per month and supports five domains and a dedicated IP address. Both plans come with unmetered bandwidth and storage.
HostGator's Windows hosting features include the Parallels Plesk control panel, as well as unlimited subdomains, email addresses, and FTP accounts. You'll also get access to over 4,000 website templates and one-click script install. In addition to support via chat and phone, you can view over 500+ video tutorials in the online support portal.
Personal: $4.76/month Enterprise: $14.36/month
>24/7 Support >Free Domain >Website Builder >More features at HostGator
Pros & Cons of HostGator Web Hosting
HostGator is known for its shared hosting, which comes with unmetered bandwidth and storage and plenty of other useful features. HostGator doesn't currently offer Windows VPS hosting, though, so keep that in mind if you're thinking of scaling up in the future. All plans are backed by a money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
>Unmetered bandwidth and storage >45-day money-back guarantee
>No Windows VPS hosting
What Customers Are Saying
One customer says: "We have been with HostGator for over 5 years, and they haven't given us a reason to switch." Another says, "I have been with the Gators for the past 7 years ... and I have to say their uptime record is remarkable." A third says it's "an ideal source for shared web hosting and VPS solutions for bloggers or anyone else."
Hostinger offers a wide variety of hosting plans, including shared, cloud, email, and VPS hosting. Windows users can choose from four Windows VPS options, all of which come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
Windows VPS 1 starts at $26 per month, and includes 2 GB RAM, 50 GB storage, and 4 TB bandwidth. VPS 2 starts at $62 per month, and increases the specs to 4 GB RAM, 100 GB storage, and 5 TB bandwidth. Options 3 and 4 offer even more bandwidth and storage, maxing out at $250 per month. You'll also get a dedicated IP address, full root user access with SSH control, and Windows Server 2012 layout.
Hostinger supports high-level data backup management, an easy-to-use VPS control panel, and applications in .ASP, .NET, VB, and other programming languages. Other useful tools include a domain name checker to help you find a new domain, and a drag-and-drop website builder with professionally-created templates.
Windows VPS 1: $26/month Windows VPS 2: $62/month Windows VPS 3: $120/month Windows VPS 4: $250/month
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at Hostinger
Pros & Cons of Hostinger Web Hosting
Hostinger offers everything from cloud and VPS hosting to Minecraft hosting, so they're a pretty well-rounded hosting provider. They don't offer Windows servers for all options, though, so they may not be the right fit for all users. Their Power store makes it easy to add on additional features, such as Cloudflare protection, G Suite, and business email, but customer support is limited to live chat — no phone or ticketing system.
>G Suite and email integrations >Great Windows VPS options
>Support via live chat only >No shared Windows servers
What Customers Are Saying
Users say that Hostinger offers good value for the price: "They are reliable and patient. Even when it is a problem on my end, they help me out." Another says, "Considering the cheap price, it is a great deal. They offer so many features even on their cheapest plan."
Hostwinds offers both managed and unmanaged Windows VPS server options, so you can choose the best one for you depending on your experience level. Managed servers start at $7.99 per month and include 30 GB SSD disk space and 1 TB data transfer, all the way up to 100 GB disk space and 2 TB data transfer for $26.79 per month.
If you prefer unmanaged servers, you can choose the best combination of storage and bandwidth for you, with rates ranging from $9.89 to $339.29 per month. You'll have complete control over your server using the Cloud Control Portal, and can scale it up or down at any time. Windows Server 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all supported.
All plans include 1 Gbps ports, solid state drives, and a free website transfer, as well as nightly backups and snapshots so you can easily return to a previous state. Servers are monitored 24/7, and you can set up custom firewall profiles for added protection.
$7.99/month - $26.79/month
>24/7 Support >Free Domain >Database Backups >More features at Hostwinds
Pros & Cons of Hostwinds Web Hosting
Hostwinds offers a good balance of quality and price, with unmanaged VPS servers that can save you money if you don't need fully managed hosting. Hostwinds has three data centers — two in the U.S., and one in Amsterdam — all with 24/7 security and redundant power systems. You also get a 60-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 support.
>Flexible VPS plans >Nightly backups >24/7 monitoring and support
>Only some plans support Windows
What Customers Are Saying
Hostwinds gets consistently good feedback from customers. One says, "When you face a problem, they will fix it immediately," and another says, "I have hosted client sites with a private VPS for 5+ years and cannot say enough good things. Any issue I have had, even if caused by me or a client, has been met quickly and confidently."
InterServer offers several options for Windows users, including a Windows web hosting plan starting at $8 per month, with unlimited storage space and data transfer. You'll also get weekly backups, unlimited FTP accounts, free CloudFlare CDN, and more. All plans are backed by a price lock guarantee and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you don't have to worry about getting locked into a plan with high renewal rates. If you need help getting started, InterServer also offers free migration services and 24/7 support.
Shared web hosting isn't the only option available. You can also choose Windows VPS hosting using Windows Server 2016 or 2019. This option starts at $10 per month for 2 TB data transfer and 30 GB SSD storage, and offers 16 pricing tiers all the way up to 480 GB SSD storage and 32 TB data transfer for $160 per month.
All Windows VPS plans come with a Remote Desktop feature so you can access it 24/7, and use it for remote work, data processing, gaming, and more. You'll also get access to the Plesk control panel, and can set up data backups for $4.50 per month.
>Unlimited Storage and Bandwidth >Database Backups >24/7 Support >More features at InterServer
Pros & Cons of InterServer Web Hosting
InterServer's price-lock guarantee and 30-day refund policy make it easy to determine your total costs. Some features, though, cost extra, such as database backups on the Windows VPS plans. InterServer manages its own data centers near New York City for added security, and provides 24/7 support via phone, live chat, or ticketing system.
>Price-lock guarantee >Windows VPS plans
>Just one shared hosting plan for Windows
What Customers Are Saying
One customer says, "I have used their support system quite a bit, and I can tell you that they are responsive, friendly, and patient." Another says that "InterServer Hosting is affordable, offers great features and has customer service/technical support that actually seem to care about what I need."
Kamatera is an Israeli-based hosting provider that specializes in cloud hosting designed for business and enterprise users. You can choose from managed cloud services with a pay-as-you-go pricing model, so you only pay for the storage and bandwidth you need.
Pricing for cloud servers starts at $0.005 per hour, or $4 per month, and you can use a pricing calculator to estimate your costs in advance, based on your operating system, data center location, RAM, SSD storage, and more. Fully-managed service and daily backups are available for an additional cost.
Kamatera supports several web hosting control panels, including cPanel for Linux, and Plesk for Windows, and you can try out their cloud products for free for 30 days before committing. Data centers are located in Israel, the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Starting at $4/month
>Server Types: VPS, Cloud >24/7 Support >Database Backups >More features at Kamatera
Pros & Cons of Kamatera Web Hosting
Kamatera is geared toward businesses, so it may not be as practical for personal web hosting. Its pay-as-you-go pricing model and international data centers give you plenty of options for customizing your plan. But while customer support is available 24/7, only advanced and enterprise accounts get a guaranteed response time of under an hour.
>Pay-as-you-go pricing >International data centers
>No live chat support
What Customers Are Saying
Several business users speak highly of Kamatera's offerings: "Thanks to Kamatera and their professional support team we were able to build a stable and scaled infrastructure for our customers and products worldwide." Another customer says that "we moved all our servers to Kamatera's cloud servers after performance testing clearly showed that Kamatera performed 3 times faster than our previous provider."
Liquid Web offers three hosting options for Windows: VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and a dedicated server. VPS hosting starts at $80 per month, with 100 GB SSD disk space, 10 TB bandwidth, and the Plesk Onyx control panel. You can increase that to 200 GB SSD disk space and 10 TB bandwidth for a total of $135 per month. You'll also get free 100 GB backup with all plans, and an optional premium business email service.
Dedicated servers start at $199 per month, and cloud servers start at $250 per month, with 24/7 monitoring and support to ensure that there aren't any problems. Liquid Web promises a 59 second response time by phone or live chat, and a 59 minute response time via Helpdesk from the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting®.
Liquid Web also offers Managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting, multi-server hosting environments, and more.
Starting at $80/month
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at Liquid Web
Pros & Cons of Liquid Web Web Hosting
Liquid Web doesn't offer shared web hosting, so its Windows VPS plans may be a little pricey for some small business owners. You'll also have to pay for a year up front if you want to get the best rates. But with a responsive customer support team and plenty of options to choose from, it may be worth looking into depending on your needs.
>24/7/365 customer support
>No shared hosting
What Customers Are Saying
One customer reports that Liquid Web has been "incredibly fast, very responsive and incredibly helpful." Another says, "I switched all of my sites to Liquid Web a few months ago for my first VPS experience. It's been smooth, fast, and easy to use. At one point I suddenly ran out of disk space, and within minutes I was able to use their system to upgrade my plan and move my site to a larger partition."
TMD Hosting supports the latest ASP.NET frameworks, with a free SSL certificate for each domain and a dedicated application pool. You can choose from three Windows hosting plans: Starter, Business, and Enterprise, all of which include unlimited SSD storage and bandwidth, a free domain, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Starter plan starts at $3.99 per month and supports up to six websites, while the Business and Enterprise plans support unlimited websites. All plans come with the Plesk control panel, unlimited email accounts, and 24/7/365 customer support.
TMD Hosting makes it easy to get started from scratch with step-by-step tutorials and free installation, or you can migrate your existing website with free database transfer and compensation for unused months of service at your current hosting provider.
TMD Hosting has data centers in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Asia, with 24/7 security and Tier 1 infrastructure for reliable speeds and uptime.
>24/7 Support >SSL Certificate >Database Backups >More features at TMD Hosting
Pros & Cons of TMD Hosting Web Hosting
TMD Hosting offers unlimited storage and up to six websites on its Starter plan, which is more than many other providers. Not all plans support Windows hosting, but those that do include plenty of features, including the Plesk control panel. Its 60-day money-back guarantee and compensation for unused service make it less risky to switch.
>Unlimited storage and bandwidth >Unused service compensation
>Phone support during business hours only
What Customers Are Saying
One customer says "The service is responsive, quick, and accurate. The pricing is more than fair." Another says that "My site loads extremely fast and the customer support has been super helpful anytime I had an issue. They've helped me solve issues even when it had nothing to with the hosting."
WP Engine doesn't offer standard web hosting, so they aren't the right provider for you if you're looking for Windows servers. What they offer is managed WordPress hosting, and they can help you create everything from blogs to enterprise-level websites.
They also offer a free WordPress development environment called Local, which you can install on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices to build, test, and deploy WordPress sites. When you're ready to go, you can connect it to WP Engine and deploy your sites.
WP Engine's Startup plan costs $25 per month, and supports a single website, with 10 GB storage, 50 GB bandwidth, and up to 25,000 visits per month. Growth starts at $95 per month, and includes 20 GB storage, 200 GB bandwidth, and up to 10 websites. If you need more than that, you can choose from the Scale or Custom plans. All plans include a global CDN, automated SSL certificates, and an SSH gateway.
>Server Types: WordPress >24/7 Support >Database Backups >More features at WP Engine
Pros & Cons of WP Engine Web Hosting
WP Engine is for individuals or businesses who want to design a professional website using WordPress. Although it isn't an alternative to Windows web hosting, WP Engine offers some tools for Windows users, including Local, a development environment for building and testing WordPress sites. Support is available 24/7, but customers on the Starter plan are limited to phone support during CST business hours.
>Local development environment >60-day money-back guarantee
>No shared or VPS hosting >No domain names or email
What Customers Are Saying
One customer speaks highly of their experience with the support team: "I've needed help with technical questions and troubleshooting several times ... and the chat tech support specialists are always excellent. I get really clear answers in a very timely manner and they often think of things I haven't even thought of yet."
Windows Hosting - What You Need to Know
A Windows-driven hosting solution can provide significant advantages for those using ASP and .NET scripts or Microsoft Exchange (at a premium price). But before discussing this, let's get one thing out of the way:
You don't need a Windows server just because you use a Windows PC or laptop. Web hosting is completely independent of your own set-up at home or in the office.
Linux or Windows Hosting Platform?
Choosing a new hosting plan is a complicated process. As well as different capacities and resource allocations, you'll also come across different platforms: Windows and Linux.
There are various versions of both to choose from. Before signing up, you will need to decide whether Linux hosting will be the right option for your site, or whether you should invest in Windows hosting.
Most low-cost hosting is provided on Linux servers, but a Linux set-up isn't suitable for everyone.
If you designed (or plan to design) your site using ASP and .NET, you'll need a Windows host to properly support it. And there are some other good reasons to reject Linux hosting, too.
The top reasons to choose Windows over Linux hosting are:
You are using a programming language/database Linux doesn't support
You aren't looking for the cheapest option, you prefer more control
You want to be able to use Remote Desktop to access your server
You are using .NET framework
You don't like cPanel
The table below offers a quick break down of which hosting server you should choose, based on your needs. I will go into greater detail below.
Which Hosting Server is Right for You?
If you want:
Then Choose This Type of Hosting:
The cheapest option
To use ASP or .NET
To use Sharepoint
To use MS SQL or MS Access
To use PHP, CGI, Perl or Python
To use Plesk
To use cPanel and WHM
To easily use WordPress
To use Apache or a specific Apache module
* Windows hosting does support WordPress, but it is easier to use on Linux.
When to Choose Windows Hosting over Linux
The majority of the world's websites are hosted on Linux servers. While Linux is a great general purpose operating system, you'll need Windows for specific applications and technologies.
You'll need a Windows server for anything that requires the .NET framework. Specifically, Windows is required for anything written in ASP (which stands for Active Server Pages) or ASP.NET.
You will also need a Windows server if you're working with Visual Basic (VB).
Windows is required if you need to hook into any products in the Microsoft stack, such as Exchange, or if you're working in SharePoint. This includes designing content in SharePoint Designer.
FrontPage or SQL
It is very difficult (if not impossible) to find a web host that supports FrontPage extensions. Microsoft no longer supports FrontPage Extensions as of July 2015. (More on FrontPage.)
MS Access and MS SQL
If you are using an MS Access database or, if you are an MS SQL Server user, Windows hosting is the right service for you.
When Windows Hosting Won't Work
If you need to use PHP, CGI, Perl or Python, Linux is a better choice because it's more of an all-rounder.
And while WordPress can be installed on a Windows server, it's much wiser to go with Linux because of the large amount of support and documentation available to help you resolve problems.
Regarding databases, check with your host to see what they offer. Linux tends to use MySQL, while Windows servers usually run MS SQL (and MS Access, to some degree).
If you know you'll need to SSH into your server, you will need to go with Linux hosting.
How Does the Cost of Windows Hosting Compare to Linux Hosting?
If you're new to web development, you might be reading this page because you're a little intimidated by Linux. It sounds foreign and technical, and you've always used Windows. It likely feels safer and more familiar.
When it comes to hosting, however, there really isn't a big difference because you're not using a desktop interface anyways, just a control panel.
But one big difference that may influence your decision is cost.
As a general rule, Windows hosting is always more expensive, just because hosts need to purchase licenses for Windows software.
What About Shared Windows Hosting Prices?
For shared hosting, the cost difference is pretty small between Windows and Linux services. However, if you're looking for higher performance, like a VPS or dedicated server, many hosts (although not all) charge a significant amount more for Windows hosting.
In any case, Linux hosting for a comparable service will rarely be more expensive.
With performance and cost being better for Linux hosting, the only clear reason for sticking with Windows hosting is software requirements, which were outlined above.
Looking for high-value Windows hosting? InterServer offers a variety of Windows plans with unlimited storage, free backups, and free migration. Plus they provide a "Price Lock Guarantee" - that means your hosting price never goes up. Right now you can get special pricing on these plans by using this discount link.
Hosting control panels vary from host to host, and we recommend sticking with what you know. If you know how to use Plesk, and you find it productive, you'll find that many Windows hosts support it (as will some Linux hosts).
However, if you prefer cPanel and WHM and want to stick with those applications, you must host your site on a Linux machine.
Plesk Control Panel
The Plesk control panel is very good, and some prefer it to cPanel and WHM even when they have the choice.
Plesk combines both site and server management into one simple product, versus having to have two separate logins (cPanel for sites, and WHM for servers) to manage your hosting.
There are some other control panels on Windows servers alongside Plesk. DirectAdmin is another option you might see, but it's nowhere near as common.
One handy feature of Windows hosting is the ability to use Remote Desktop direct from your Mac or PC to your server. This is normally only allowed on dedicated server plans.
Pros and Cons of Windows Hosting
All web hosts will allow you to get a simple website online. However, we recommend that you choose Linux hosting unless you have a specific reason to choose Windows. Why?
Pros of Windows Hosting:
Is easy to use and requires less interaction with the command line
Is arguably easier to manage and update than Linux
Supports the specialized scripting languages we've already covered
Is just as stable as Linux if managed correctly by the host
But Beware of Windows Hosting if:
The script you need is written in PHP
You don't know your way around WordPress. Support for WordPress on Windows may require custom configuration
You want the cheapest shared hosting you can find.
You want to stay loyal to a particular hosting company that doesn't offer Windows hosting
You need Apache or a specific Apache module
You want the flexibility to customize your server
For those willing to pay a little more and tinker a little less, Windows-based hosting provides a stable platform for building robust Internet applications and websites.
Searching for the right Windows host? A2 Hosting scored #1 in our recent speed and performance tests. Right now you can save up to 50% on their Windows plans. Use this special discount link to get the deal.
Windows Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Linux hosting more commonly available?
Linux is popular because it's powerful and free. Some of the most popular scripts and applications have been developed for Linux, so over time, it has become the default choice for hosting websites.
If Linux is cheaper, why do people use Windows?
Some websites require a Windows server to function correctly. For example, if someone develops a web application in .NET, they will need to host it on a Windows server.
If you are planning on running your own shared email, calendars, or a contact manager through Microsoft Exchange, you will need to use a Windows server. Depending on your business needs, it might make sense to run everything on a Windows web hosting plan.
But assuming you don't have specialized requirements, there's no reason to choose Windows hosting. For example, software like WordPress or Drupal works best on Linux.
Why is Windows hosting more expensive than Linux?
Linux hosting is cheaper than Windows hosting because it is an open-source application that can be installed for free on any computer; Windows requires a paid subscription for installation. A Windows license costs around $200, which is typically built into the hosting plan's price. The Windows OS also utilizes more disk space and RAM than the Linux OS. More resources means a higher price tag. However, depending on your needs and preferences, paying for Windows hosting may be worth it.
Can I use a Windows computer to host a website?
Yes. Windows has its own server software, and it can be used to publish websites. You can purchase a Windows hosting plan for many hosting providers, but it is less common than Linux hosting.
What kind of hosting can I buy on a Windows server?
Depending on the host, all types of hosting are available, from shared packages right up to dedicated servers.
Which version of Windows do hosts provide?
They all run Windows Server. You'll need to check the plan specifics to see which version of Windows Server they're offering, because all hosts are different.
Can I use cPanel on Windows?
CPanel is not available for Windows, so you'll need to use an alternative control panel. Many hosts offer Plesk, but there are others.
Do I have to pay for Windows when I buy hosting?
The cost of a Windows hosting package includes the cost of a Windows license for your VPS or dedicated server. That's one of the reasons why Windows hosting tends to be more expensive than Linux hosting.
Do I need Windows hosting if I use Windows on my own computer?
No. You can use any hosting plan that you want, providing it supports the scripts or applications that you want to use to build your website. Your own computer's operating system makes no difference.
What's the default web server on Windows?
Microsoft has its own web server, IIS, which runs on the Windows Server operating system.
Does Apache Web Server run on Windows?
Yes. Apache Web Server is available for Windows, although it's less common than IIS.
Why do developers use the .NET framework?
With .NET, you can write web applications in a number of programming languages more typically used in desktop and embedded environments, like C++. Also, .NET's common language runtime allows a program to be written in multiple languages.
Can I upload files from my Linux or Mac computer to a Windows web server?
Yes. If you just need basic file transfer (using FTP or a variant of it), you can upload files to Windows without any issues. But you'll need a Windows computer to make the most of a Windows hosting account. For example, you can't develop .NET applications on a Linux computer.
Are there any other technologies that are exclusive to Windows?
Microsoft Silverlight can only be deployed on Windows. It's not as popular as it once was, but if you need to use it, you'll need to choose a hosting package that supports it.
Can I use Remote Desktop to manage a Windows Server?
If you have a VPS or dedicated server running Windows, you can usually connect to it using Remote Desktop, just as you would if you were connecting to a regular Windows computer.
If you have a shared hosting account on Windows, you can't use Remote Desktop.
What are the alternatives to Windows server?
If you don't want to use Windows to host your website, you'll probably need to sign up for a Linux hosting package. There are different distributions (Red Hat, Ubuntu, CentOS, etc), but you probably don't need to worry about this unless you have advanced requirements.
It is possible to buy Mac website hosting, although it is very rare. Companies that offer 'Mac friendly' hosting are usually offering Linux hosting with Mac-friendly support.
Our writing team comes from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in the arts and sciences. But what links them is their passion for the internet. All together they represent many decades of experience working in all facets of it - from programming and hardware creation to website design and marketing.
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Who's Best for Windows Hosting?
We think A2 Hosting is the best choice for Windows.