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.
The Best Windows Hosting Services
Find What You’re Looking For
The Best Windows Hosting Providers Reviewed
Hostgator’s credibility spans almost 20 years and over 2 million websites. HostGator offers a variety of hosting options that can accommodate even the most demanding website. When planning out your website, take some time to consider the appropriate hosting environment. Their Windows hosting solutions have two levels based on whether you’re running an SMB business or a larger enterprise company. Their Plesk control panel is feature-rich making it easy to create sites and deploy applications.
Hostgator provides unlimited sub-domains, FTP & email accounts, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, & access databases including proper compatibility of your Windows-based programs to match the needs of your e-commerce website. It has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. It comes with programming features that allow you to customize your website according to your business needs. Hostgator understands that Windows hosting may have more vulnerabilities than Linux hosting, they provide strong security to help you avoid online attacks. They use firewalls to protect their servers and offer SSL certificates as part of their offerings. It is packed with admin tools such as secure directories, file managers, scheduled tasks, and SmarterStats.
HostGator offers built-in free features like site transfers, open-source scripts such as WordPress, which can be installed with just a click. They offer 24/7/365 customer support.
Pros and 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.”
Liquid Web offers managed dedicated server solutions to support your business needs. It is available with Linux or Windows operating systems, their bare-metal dedicated servers come with Proactive Sonar Monitoring™ and ServerSecure hardening. Their Windows hosting comes with optimized security settings with exclusive ServerSecure protection. It offers IPMI access that allows you to monitor and manage your dedicated Windows server remotely without comprising access or security.
Liquid Web’s Windows hosting offers single- and dual-processor bare-metal Dedicated Servers. You can choose between self-managed, core-managed, and fully managed Dedicated Server Hosting plans depending on your business needs. Both Windows hosting plans come with Threat Stack Oversight Intrusion Detection System and 1000 GB Acronis Cyber Backups.
Pros and Cons of Liquid Web Hosting
All Liquid Web dedicated servers come standard with a secondary drive pre-installed to backup your critical data. They use Plesk only for e-commerce websites in Windows environments and offer real-time monitoring to mitigate threats and shield your website and server from sudden attacks. They offer a 100% uptime guarantee. They offer 24/7/365 customer assistance.
- High-performance plans
- 100% network/power uptime guarantee
- Excellent support team
- Windows option is available
What Customers Are Saying
Full refund within 30 days
1&1 Ionos is designed for Windows Developer. It has three-tiered Windows hosting plans namely Business, Pro, and Expert that is packed with collaboration tools, security features, marketing solutions, and a Railgun CDN. Their Windows hosting gives you from Windows® Server 2019, ASP.NET 4.8 and .NET 6.0, Geo-redundancy, and guaranteed availability. It comes with a Wildcard SSL certificate which guarantees the security and protection of every information exchanged between your website and visitors.
They provide daily backups of your data with all ASP.NET hosting packages. Their Windows Hosting runs the latest versions of Windows Server, ASP.NET, and. NET. With geo-redundancy, the performance of your ASP hosting will be stable even if physical problems occur on a server. It ensures top levels of speed and performance. The operating system of their virtual private server is available in Windows server.
Their Windows hosting plans come with SiteLock that checks your website, and databases for malware, security leaks, and other hacker attacks. You can use the SiteLock certificate to your website to earn credibility including the SSL certificates with the HTTPS security protocol. IONOS has a 99.99% uptime guarantee and provides 24/7customer support with IONOS Windows server hosting.”
Pros and Cons of 1&1 Ionos Web Hosting
- Unmatched introductory offer for the Business subscription
- The content delivery network and malware protection are available with Expert tier
- All plans come with a professional email
- More expensive than budget alternatives over the long term
What Customers Are Saying
1&1 IONOS customers are happy with the platform’s reliable uptime and ease of setup on both Linux and Windows servers. The most common complaints are nonpayment, as some subscribers report losing their domains or even being reported to debt collectors after missing payments.
GoDaddy’s Windows Hosting offers four plans (Starter, Economy, Deluxe, and Ultimate) to choose from depending on your business needs. Their Windows hosting is designed for ASP.NET, ASP, .Net Core, and SQL Server users. All plans utilize Windows Server 2012 R2, it is a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-use server solution designed and priced for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. It is an ideal first server that helps to reduce costs, increase productivity, and serve as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses.
Their Windows hosting plans come with a one-click install of popular apps such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Their Onyx Plesk is included in every Windows Hosting plan, it is a control panel that easily manages your server and installs third-party applications to help in your e-commerce website management.
In addition to their Windows Hosting features is a 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 monitoring with DDoS security and 1-click setup for domains registered with GoDaddy.
Pros and Cons of GoDaddy
Wide selection of hosting plans
One year of Microsoft 365 email included for free with all shared hosting plans
24/7 phone and live chat support
High-quality video guides
Affordable, but cheaper plans are available elsewhere
What Customers Are Saying
Users tend to be quite happy with the quality of GoDaddy’s services. They also report that GoDaddy’s customer support is always responsive and helpful.
Hostwinds: Best Customization for Windows Hosting
Hostwinds offers fully managed and unmanaged Windows VPS hosting plans to provide structure and server to your e-commerce website. Hostwinds allows you to launch your server with the version of Windows you need and you can choose from Windows Serve 2019, 2016, and 2012 depending on your expertise and business needs.
Their proprietary Cloud Control Panel gives you the tools you need to manage your Windows servers. It provides snapshots that take a complete real-time backup of your Windows VPS. It recovers your Windows server anytime and launches multiple Windows virtual private servers that allow you to deploy pre-configured Windows servers in just a few clicks. Their cloud firewalls enable you to manage what traffic you want your Windows VPS to allow. This firewall is implemented externally from your Windows VPS, it provides additional security against malware that may try to disable your standard Windows firewall. Their Windows hosting plans are equipped with load balancers that provide you with the ability to instantly begin dividing your traffic up between your various Windows servers at Hostwinds.
Hostwinds has a 99.99% uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer support. Their Server Monitoring proactively monitors your server and automatically opens a support ticket on your behalf in case of a technical issue.
Pros and Cons of Hostwinds Web Hosting
- Offers a wide range of payment options and services, including Skrill and bitcoin.
- 24/7 support is available through live chat, email, and phone plus a great knowledgebase.
- It’s one of the few hosts to offer both Windows and Linux hosting, as well as managed and unmanaged options.
- SSDs and other features are available on many plans to speed up your website.
- Hostwinds only has 2 U.S.-based data centers, so your site will not be as fast for visitors internationally.
- You have to pay extra for SSL certificates, which many hosts provide for free.
- Refunds have strict conditions and the money-back guarantee only applies to specific plans and services.
What Customers Are Saying
Hostwinds positive reviews always commend their technical support and speed performance. One of their satisfied customers mentioned, “I am 100% happy with Hostwinds after using them for seven years. Zero complaints. I’ve never experienced downtime. We develop and host many different kinds of WordPress sites and the server performance has always been better (front end and back end) than any other shared web hosting companies that we have tried in the past.”
Interserver’s Windows VPS hosting plan comes with excellent stability and speed. Their Windows VPS hosting plan helps you to launch a new Windows Virtual Private server powered by the Microsoft native Hyper-v platform, upgrade your environment as you grow, and make amazing websites and applications with ASP.NET, MSSQL, five different versions of PHP, Perl, Python, and SSI. It is also packed with third-party integrations without interruption as integrations such as DigiCert SSL, CloudLinux, Cloudflare, Atomicorp, NodeJs, PHP, NGINX, Let’s Encrypt, Git, ImunifyAV, Backup to Cloud Pro, and more.
Interserver’s Plesk is an easy-to-use control panel for Windows. It helps in building and managing multiple sites from a single dashboard, running updates, monitoring performance, and onboarding new prospects all from the same place. It offers broad security levels across OS, networks,s, and apps. Built into the Plesk hosting control panel core and enhanced through their class-leading security partners. This Includes automated AI-powered regression testing, cloning, staging environment, backup and restores features.
Interserver Windows VPS hosting plan comes with enhanced website security and boosts Search Engine rankings through their free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate available in the one-click installer in your Plesk panel. It has a 99.9% uptime guarantee and their in-house expert team is always ready to assist you 24/7/365. All you need to reach us out via ticket system, phone call, or live chat options.
Pros and Cons of Interserver
Unlimited data storage and bandwidth.
Fewer websites on each server
461 scripts available for 1 click install.
No Free Domain Name
Slower load speeds
Server location in the United States only
What Customers Are Saying
Interserver is one of the web hosting companies that give quality service in the long term. One of their customers mentioned, “This web service offers the fastest response speeds in relation to its price, making its hosting services faster on the market. The reliability provided by Interserver is very high as it allows you to maintain almost perfect average hosting uptimes making your websites available without any inconvenience that affects the availability of the website. Maintains an attractive list of paid plans to meet all user needs.”
What is Windows Hosting?
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.
How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for Windows?
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 determine the top-10 Windows hosts.
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.
|If you want:||Then Choose This Type of Hosting:|
|The cheapest option||Linux|
|To use ASP or .NET||Windows|
|To use Sharepoint||Windows|
|To use MS SQL or MS Access||Windows|
|To use PHP, CGI, Perl or Python||Linux|
|To use Plesk||Linux/Windows|
|To use cPanel and WHM||Linux|
|To easily use WordPress||Linux*|
|To use Apache or a specific Apache module||Linux|
* 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.
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.
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?
- 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
- 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.
Recommended Reading and Resources
Best ASP.NET Hosting A single-stop reference point for finding the best ASP.NET hosts. Our interactive compare tools will help you make a good choice quickly. Using a MS SQL Database? These Web Hosting Providers Are Your Best Bet Most hosts do not support MS SQL. How do you find a good host? What should you look for? Our veteran software engineer has the answers. ASP Hosting: Which Brand is Best for Your Site in 2018? Support for ASP is expected to continue into 2020. Our guide will save you time and help you find solid hosting options. FrontPage Alternatives Helpful background, history, and details on FrontPage, plus good alternatives to consider. An interesting overview of the history of IIS 7 and the modern .NET framework. Plus technical guidance on hosting. Written by a highly experienced software engineer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Windows
Why is Linux hosting more commonly available?
If Linux is cheaper, why do people use Windows?
Why is Windows hosting more expensive than Linux?
Can I use a Windows computer to host a website?
What kind of hosting can I buy on a Windows server?
Which version of Windows do hosts provide?
Can I use cPanel on Windows?
Do I have to pay for Windows when I buy hosting?
Do I need Windows hosting if I use Windows on my own computer?
What’s the default web server on Windows?
Does Apache Web Server run on Windows?
Why do developers use the .NET framework?
Can I upload files from my Linux or Mac computer to a Windows web server?
Are there any other technologies that are exclusive to Windows?
Can I use Remote Desktop to manage a Windows Server?
What are the alternatives to Windows server?
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin:
- Popular Host Choice for 2022BluehostStarting at $2.75/mo View Current Deal
- SiteGroundStarting at $3.99/mo View Current Deal
- HostingerStarting at $2.99/mo View Current Deal
- WP EngineStarting at $20/mo View Current Deal
- A2 HostingStarting at $2.99/mo View Current Deal
- DreamHostStarting at $2.95/mo View Current Deal