#1. A2 Hosting
Jonathan Griffin. Editor, Hosting Expert, SEO Developer, & SEO Consultant."A2 Hosting are by far one of the best Windows Hosting providers. They offer high quality hosting and support. Their Windows servers come with the latest technologies, dynamic RAM-based Caching including OpCache and Memcached. We recommend their Turbo plan to take advantage of all their features (A2 Optimized Site Accelerator, Railgun, HTTP/2 and more), and includes significantly more resources per account."
The above ratings are calculated from 59 customers.
- Plesk Control Panel
- MySQL 5.6 and Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL) 2016 Databases
- FREE Hackscan, Backups, and Firewall.
- Windows Server 2012 & 2016
- ASP.NET 2.x, 3.x and 4.x as well as Classic ASP, .NET Core 2.1, and IIS 8.5 & 10.
- Turbo Server, Unlimited Data Transfer, and A2 Optimized Caching (includes LiteSpeed, Memcached, PHP 7.2 & OPcache, SSD).
Jonathan Griffin. Editor, Hosting Expert, SEO Developer, & SEO Consultant."TMD Hosting is one of my favorite hosting providers. They offer excellent support, Memcache, OpCache, SSD Hosting, HTTP/2, Free SSL, and NGINX. Deployment of your apps is simple through the Plesk Control Panel, and Web Deploy."
The above ratings are calculated from 47 customers.
- Latest ASP .NET Framework with dedicated application pools.
- Remote MSSQL
- Unlimited SSD storage, and Free Domain.
- Windows Server 2012 R2 & Microsoft SQL Server
- Free SSL, cPanel, and Live Malware Protection.
- Fast 24 / 7 Technical Support, and daily backups.
About Windows Hosting
We shall take a look at some of the many advantages of using Windows, explain why it is a good idea to sign up with a web host that offers Windows Hosting.
You will find above a list of all the hosting companies we have reviewed that offer Windows Storage. We have only highlighted the very best, so the choice may be limited as only a few of the really good hosting providers offer Windows hosting.
While the most popular operating system within the web hosting industry is Linux and is widely available by many of the largest web hosting providers, Windows is lagging behind in second place. Because Windows is not quite as popular, many of the largest hosting providers do not offer it, but equally, there are plenty of specialists around that do.
For many, Windows is instantly recognizable due to its widespread use in the home PC market. For many, when purchasing web hosting, they will have never heard of Linux, and when faced with a choice between the two will be tempted to choose Windows, simply because that is what they are familiar with.
Let’s take a look at the differences.
Window vs Linux Web hosting: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between Windows and Linux hosting is the availability of various script languages and database applications. If your website requires Windows-based scripts or database application to display properly, you should select a Windows web hosting platform, otherwise we recommend choosing Linux.
The following are the script and database languages that require Windows-based platforms:
- ASP Classic
- MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
- Visual Basic Development
- MS Access (Microsoft Access)
- Microsoft Exchange
- Microsoft SharePoint C#
Apart from the technical aspects, Linux is open source, and as such requires no licence to use. Windows Server is slightly more expensive due to the requirement for a licence.
When is Windows not suitable?
Certain technologies such as Python will not work, and others such as PHP, CGI and Perl are better suited to Linux, as it is much more widely supported.
For databases, Linux tends to use MySQL or MariaDB, with some shared hosting providers offering PostgreSQL on premium plans. Windows usually runs MSSQL.
What to look for when purchasing
There are a number of features that are specific to Windows that you may want to look out for when choosing a host \ plan:
- Control Panel - This is probably one of the most important things. We would recommend choosing a hosting provider that offers Plesk. This will make managing your hosting account extremely easy, allowing you to manage all aspects from file management, to email create and more.
- ASP.NET framework version - Unless you have specific requirements, you will want to choose a hosting provider that uses the latest version of ASP.NET.
- Latest Windows Server Version - The industry standard version at the moment in Windows Server 2012 R2, despite the 2016 version having been launched.
Windows Hosting FAQ
What is Windows?
Windows is an operating system created by Microsoft. While you may be used to the desktop version 7, 8 or 10, web hosting servers use a special version called Windows Server. The latest version is 2016.
I use Windows at home and for my business computer. Does this mean I should use Windows for my hosting?
No. In fact, unless you need some of the technology unique to the Windows Server (ASP.net, C++, .NET) then we recommend you choose Linux Hosting. Linux hosting is more widespread and is often much better optimized for general websites, such as those based on WordPress.
What are the alternatives to a Windows Server?
he most common operating systems are those based on Linux, like Ubuntu or Centos. These can be configured to use the most popular web servers such as Apache or NGINX.
Can I run Apache on a Windows Server?
Yes, it will run Apache along with PHP if required.
Can you get the cPanel control panel on Windows?
No, cPanel is restricted to Linux systems. However, a great alternative is Plesk. You can read about the differences here.
Why would I choose a Windows Server when Linux is free?
In most cases you wouldn’t. The only reason we recommend choosing it, is if you need some specific technology like ASP.net that is not available on Linux.
Which do you recommend, Linux or Windows?
Linux is by far the better choice when you do not need Windows-specific technologies. It is also the most common, and can run popular control panels such as cPanel.
Jonathan Griffin Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.
Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.