With the dominance of Linux-based hosting environments — roughly 70% percent of websites are using the operating system — ASP.NET and other Windows-based services can be harder to find and more expensive to acquire.
But for the ASP.NET, C+, and DotNetNuke fans out there, finding a top-notch hosting plan is just as an important and nuanced journey as those experienced by more mainstream LAMP stack site owners.
In addition to the ample demands on storage, bandwidth, and memory, ASP.NET applications require modern infrastructure and hosting providers to stay abreast of Windows updates and security patches, along with the constant customer support and user-friendly features required for a positive hosting experience.
Finding the right hosting plan and provider for ASP.NET sites and applications can be a challenge, especially considering the ubiquity of Linux and PHP options. To help you on your quest, we’ve compiled a list of features that separate the best from the rest.
Because it was developed by Microsoft, ASP.NET runs best on Windows-oriented infrastructure and hosting plans. The programming language is quite resource-intensive, meaning a strong server is a must-have option for developers.
Fortunately, HostGator excels at high-speed hardware and includes unlimited storage and bandwidth in all tiers of its Windows hosting packages, along with a free SSL certificate and support for multiple versions of ASP.NET.
With Windows hosting plans opening up the door to so many Microsoft programs, developers will want to capitalize on the package with the most number of tools, especially from providers who regularly update the services to the most recent iterations.
Here, we recommend InterServer for offering modern components while still supporting several older technologies. In addition to running classic ASP, along with multiple iterations of ASP.NET, InterServer keeps its servers at 50% capacity to ensure more than enough resources are available for site owners.
Seeing hosts offer unlimited storage space in any hosting plan is pretty common, and ASP.NET hosting is no different. One key differentiating factor, however, is the databases available to serve content to your site or web application.
Microsoft SQL Server is the obvious database choice to store data for ASP.NET websites and applications, but site owners may also want to use MySQL. ASP.NET also works well with Microsoft Access, but that platform isn’t recommended for web applications. Because the licenses for Microsoft products can be expensive, hosting providers often limit the number or size of MS SQL servers.
However, HostGator removes all restrictions on ASP.NET hosting customers by including unlimited MySQL or MSSQL databases. We wish the host were running something more recent than MS SQL 2008, but the value is obvious when plans are combined with unlimited storage and bandwidth.
Although ASP.NET is an open-source language, the related Microsoft products to create and process your code can make Windows hosting plans an expensive endeavor. PHP is usually hosted on completely open-source LAMP stacks, which stand for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (or Python or Perl).
When it comes to making hosting affordable, few are better than InterServer. Instead of cutting corners, as free hosts tend to do (we’ll get into that later), InterServer provides tons of superb, modern features, all without annual contracts. The company wants to earn your business every month and won’t lock you into expensive, long-term deals.
Although PHP continues to dominate the server-side programming marketplace (roughly 15% of sites rely on ASP.NET, compared to 80% of websites that use PHP), ASP.NET enjoys a cult following among experienced developers.
Although free anything sounds appealing, trust us — take that code and apply it to an affordable hosting plan from a reputable provider. Free services come and go, and the plans often come with substandard infrastructure or support. That means your website or application will be slow and not terribly secure.
Never fear, however: The options we presented higher up on the page will keep your budget at a minimum. You’ll appreciate the added services and server resources.