Windows hosting services are some of the most popular available and will provide you with a way of hosting web pages that have been created using either classic ASP or ASP.NET as well as other technologies that may be relevant to the development of your website as Windows can provide you with features that are unavailable on Linux web hosting packages. Windows web hosting services are very different in the way that Windows is a completely different operating system to Linux meaning that you can come to expect different features and performance from each operating system. Windows web hosting is available as form standard Windows web hosting as well as Windows dedicated server hosting meaning that you will be able to select the appropriate level of web hosting for your requirements, whatever those requirements may be. Pricing is the main differentiating factor for most between Windows web hosting and Linux web hosting as Windows is a commercial operating system with Linux being an open source alternative for most. As Windows is a popular choice, there are many web hosting companies that are going to be offering such services; such competition will allow for lower prices but it also means that you will need to consider your choice more carefully.
Windows as an operating system is able to support a wide variety of applications that aren’t available on Linux distributions. A good example of this would be Microsoft SQL Server, and because this is a commercial application developed by Microsoft it will only work on servers running the Windows operating system. There are also other applications and services developed by Microsoft for the server environment that aren’t capable of functioning on Linux; another fine example of this would be Microsoft Exchange Server, a collaboration system that is hugely popular with larger businesses, and because it is a Microsoft application most businesses are then committed to running their entire internal email infrastructure on the Windows operating system.
Windows web hosting when compared to Linux web hosting is slightly pricier, the main reason for this being that web hosting companies will have to factor the cost of the Windows operating system into the prices that they charge for their Windows web hosting packages. However, it is because of this that Windows web hosting is more generally aimed at businesses since such establishments find it easier to justify the cost of web hosting services if they feel that they are going to get a good return from them. The cost of Windows hosting is ever increased by the additional applications that web hosting companies have installed in order to enhance your Windows web hosting experience. The higher end versions of Microsoft SQL Server used by most web hosting businesses cost a lot to license per server which then has to be passed on to you as the customer; it is for this reason that services such as Exchange Server email hosting are usually sold separately as by including them with a web hosting package, the cost of the hosting service would be unaffordable for many.
Hyper-V is a feature that is part of Windows Server 2008 and allows you to host any number of virtual machines on your Windows Server 2008 server without the need for any additional hardware or software, as Hyper-V is a core component of the operating system. Previous to this web hosting providers had to use third-party solutions for Windows VPS hosting services such as Virtuozzo, all of which cost money which in turn has to be factored into the cost of Windows VPS server hosting. As Hyper-V is a core component of the operating system, web hosting companies don’t have to pay anything extra in order to be able to offer Windows VPS hosting, thus reducing the cost to you as the consumer. Hyper-V hosting is now one of the most popular forms of Windows web hosting available as it has revolutionized the market as well as lowering the cost of Windows VPS hosting meaning that it is now more accessible to start-ups and smaller businesses that require a dedicated web hosting environment but don’t necessarily have the capital to facilitate such a venture.
There is still the choice of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 available when choosing most Windows web hosting services, primarily because there are certain technologies that work better with the older version of the operating system rather than the newer one. The choice is mainly available with dedicated Windows web hosting as some businesses have complex requirements that dictate the need for a particular version of the operating system; for example, Virtuozzo based Windows VPS hosting services are going to be hosted on Windows Server 2003 simply because the application will only function on Windows Server 2003 and is not compatible with Windows Server 2008 based systems.
There is still a huge market for Windows web hosting due to the fact that Microsoft’s popular scripting frameworks, classic ASP and ASP.NET, are used by many web developers to create dynamic and scalable websites that in turn can be hosted in a Windows hosting environment. Websites developed using either framework can then be integrated into databases that have been created using either Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server allowing you to create a fully dynamic website that is running off an external database, thus meaning that it is likely to be a very efficient setup.
In conclusion, Windows web hosting is only recommended for Windows web developers and businesses that have a distinct need for Windows web hosting due to how their website has been developed or other requirements that could influence your choice of web hosting platform. It is important to remember that a majority of technologies, particularly open source ones, will work on Windows will also work on Linux, thus meaning that you should check your requirements against what Linux may be able to offer you as by choosing a Linux web hosting service over a Windows web hosting service, you’re more likely to save yourself some money.