One of the most important decisions every website owner must make is choosing the right type of web hosting services. And there are a lot of different types of hosting plans out there.
Selecting the best web hosting solutions for your website depends on a number of different factors, including the programs you use to build and maintain your website. For a certain subset of website owners, that makes considering ASP.NET web hosting services an important part of the process of finding the best plan for you.
Before we can provide a good explanation of what ASP.NET web hosting is and who it’s right for, we need to define what ASP.NET is.
What Is ASP.NET?
ASP.NET is an open source framework programmers can use to build dynamic websites, apps, games, and online services with the .NET platform. In ASP.NET, programmers build web forms that become the building blocks of the larger website or app they work to create.
While ASP.NET is not as commonly used as PHP—the most ubiquitous of the programming languages used to build websites—it provides some distinct benefits for web designers that make it a strong choice for many websites.
10 Pros of Using ASP.NET
ASP.NET isn’t for everybody, which is why it has a much smaller market share than PHP. But the pros of using ASP.NET to build your website or app are notable enough to make it well worth consideration. Here are ten top reasons to consider using ASP.NET.
1. It’s open source.
As an open-source framework, any developer or programmer can make changes to the ASP.NET architecture to make it work the way they need. And often developers will share any updates or improvements they make with the larger community, so you can benefit from the work being done by a wide number of talented, skilled ASP.NET programmers.
Any open source piece of software or program gets the benefit of all the great minds that use it. Every programmer that sees a way to make it more flexible, secure, or feature-rich can contribute to it. With over 60,000 active contributors, you can count on ASP.NET to just keep getting better.
2. It’s known for being high speed.
ASP.NET makes it easier to build a site while using less code than other programming options. With less code to process, websites and apps load faster and more efficiently.
ASP.NET packages also uses compiled code rather than interpreted code. Compiled code is translated into object code once, then executed. And every time after that, it loads faster. In contrast, interpreted code has to be read and interpreted every time a user accesses it, which slows things down.
While you always have options for speeding up your website, no matter what you build it with, ASP.NET means you’re starting off with a website that will work and load that much faster than with other options you could choose.
3. It’s low cost.
In addition to being open source, ASP.NET is also free. You can download the latest version of the software from the website for nothing. You can write ASP.NET code in any simple text editor, including free options like Microsoft’s Visual Studio application.
In some cases, as with Visual Studio, the most useful text editors have a free basic plan you can use to start, and paid versions that provide more useful features for the common needs of big businesses, such as collaboration options. You may end up spending some money to get the full use of it you need, but businesses on a budget have the option of using ASP.NET for free.
4. It’s relatively easy to use.
While PHP has a reputation for being easier to use, ASP.NET also has many features that make it intuitive for programmers or reduce the amount of work required to create a website or app. For one thing, programming with ASP.NET requires creating less code than most other options. That both means less time spent working on code for developers, and that your pages will load faster because it takes less time to process the code that’s there.
For another, it offers code behind mode, which separates the design and the code. This creates separate files for the design part of a page, and the code part of a page. That makes it easier to test things out and make changes as you go without messing anything up.
Finally, ASP.NET allows for template-based page development and server-side caching, both of which mean you can make the design elements you build go further and easily re-use them for different parts of the website or application.
While ASP.NET is primarily a resource for professional developers rather than beginners, they have a range of free resources available for those who want to learn the ropes.
5. It has a large developer community.
Even though ASP.NET is relatively easy to use, many website owners will want to hire a professional developer to help with the particulars of building out a website or app. Luckily, the ASP.NET community is big enough that finding a skilled developer to hire who has experience in using the framework shouldn’t be a problem in most cases.
And having a large community also means that, as an open source software, there are more smart minds working to improve upon ASP.NET on a regular basis. Many of the issues it had in the past have been fixed, and anything about it you don’t like today may well be taken care of in the months or years to come.
6. It requires less setup for Windows users.
If your business already uses Windows products, then picking a Windows framework to build your website or app on will make the overall process easier on your team. Since it’s made by Windows, ASP.NET works seamlessly with other Windows applications. Getting your various products to play nice together and work in tandem will be simple.
And you won’t have to worry about an update to ASP.NET or any of your other Windows applications screwing up compatibility. Windows will make sure that updated versions of its various products and applications still work well together, even as they all evolve over time.
7. It offers support for multiple languages.
Programmers using ASP.NET have a couple of different programming languages they can choose from: C# and VB.net.
C# in particular is a popular option with many developers because it’s powerful, flexible, and easy to learn. It’s one of the most popular programming languages today and is known for being particularly well suited for building Microsoft applications, games, and mobile development.
8. It’s now compatible with all servers.
Some articles on ASP.NET list one of the main disadvantages as being that it only works with Windows servers. In fact, several years ago Windows released the ASP.NET Core which made the program compatible with all types of servers—Linux, MacOS, and Windows.
While it still may work best with a Windows server, since it was initially designed with that compatibility in mind, you can use ASP.NET no matter which type of web server you prefer.
9. It’s supported by Microsoft.
Microsoft is one of the biggest and most powerful tech companies in the world. Any product that has their backing can count on regular maintenance, updates, and improvements. With some free products, there’s always the risk that their creators will stop supporting them and anyone dependent on them will have to start from scratch, but ASP.NET has the power of a company that’s not going anywhere behind it.
10. It’s got a great reputation for security.
One of the main areas where most experts agree that the ASP.NET service beats PHP is for security. The program supports multi-factor authentication protocols that allow users to control who has access to the website or app they create with the framework. And ASP.NET includes built-in features that protect against common hacker protocols like cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL (structured query language) injection attacks, open redirect attacks, and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).
Website security is an increasingly important issue for all website owners to consider, especially as hacks and high-profile data breaches become more common. Choosing ASP.NET is one of several steps you can take to make your website more secure.
5 Cons of Using ASP.NET
That’s a long list of pros, which may have you wondering why so many people still choose PHP over ASP.NET. It’s not all positives, there are a few downsides to choosing ASP.NET as well.
1. It’s not compatible with fewer CMSes than PHP.
One of the main reasons that some people prefer PHP is that it works with popular content management systems like WordPress.
For people more comfortable using a CMS, which makes creating and updating a website easier if you don’t know how to code, ASP.NET puts a serious limitation in their path. With over a quarter of the entire internet running on WordPress, and content management systems like Drupal and Joomla powering much of the web as well, that makes PHP the natural choice for a majority of websites.
2. It has fewer templates and plugins.
Because ASP.NET has fewer users, it also has fewer extras. With fewer people to develop useful features like templates and plugins, there just aren’t as many available to users of ASP.NET. These kinds of extras extend the functionality of a program and can make it easier for people to create the exact kind of website or app they want.
While there are still definitely options you can take advantage of with ASP.NET, fewer choices means getting your website where you want it to be will be harder.
3. It’s potentially expensive if you’re not already using Windows.
As we already mentioned, using ASP.NET is technically free. But using it tends to make the most sense for companies that already have access to a number of Windows products. One of the big benefits it offers is working seamlessly with all those other Windows solutions, so if you need something a Windows product offers while working on your website in ASP.NET, you’ll likely have to shell out for an additional product.
Not everyone that uses ASP.NET will feel the need to spend money on other Windows solutions, but some will. If you end up deciding you need the additional functionality various Windows products provide, the cost can quickly add up.
4. It has a smaller community than PHP.
While ASP.NET has a community that’s devoted, it’s much smaller than the community that uses PHP. That means fewer support resources and fewer developers working to make the framework better. It also means businesses will find it harder to find professional developers that are skilled in ASP.NET than PHP (although far from impossible). And you won’t have as many forums or user groups to turn to with questions.
While that is an inconvenience, there is enough of a community out there that you may not feel a lack if you do choose to go with ASP.NET. But if having a supportive community is an important part of your decision when choosing what to build your website or app with, other options beat ASP.NET in this category.
5. It’s harder to learn than PHP.
ASP.NET is relatively easy for developers to learn, but it has more of a learning curve than PHP. And because you can’t use intuitive content management systems like WordPress with it, it’s generally out of reach for many beginners that can’t afford to learn programming languages themselves or hire a professional when building out their website.
For big businesses with a budget to put toward building a website or app, this is likely to be a non-issue since finding skilled ASP.NET programmers to hire won’t be too hard. But for smaller businesses and individuals building a more basic website, it’s a good reason to pick a simpler solution.
What Is ASP.NET Hosting?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what ASP.NET itself is, we come back around to the main question at hand: what is ASP.NET web hosting? ASP.NET hosting is any web hosting plan designed to be compatible with ASP.NET.
In many cases, that means Windows hosting, but since ASP.NET is now compatible with other types of servers, it doesn’t have to mean that.
Two main things define ASP.NET hosting services:
1. It promises compatibility with ASP.NET and all associated web applications.
ASP.NET hosting solutions must provide seamless compatibility with ASP.NET itself. But you’ll also want to make sure your web hosting plan provides compatibility with other web applications you’re likely to use with ASP.NET, such as the Plesk Control Panel and any other Windows products you use.
2. It has an easy installation option.
A good ASP.NET hosting plan will include simple one-click installation that lets you add ASP.NET to your web hosting platform within seconds. You have enough work to do building your website, game, or app—you don’t have time to spend on a complicated installation process. A good ASP.NET hosting option ensures you don’t have to spend any longer on this step than necessary.
What to Look for in an ASP.NET Web Hosting Plan
If you determine that using ASP.NET is the best option for your website, then an ASP.NET hosting plan is a smart choice. When researching your options, look for a web hosting plan that includes:
- A 99.9% Uptime Guarantee – Uptime is the amount of time your website is working and accessible to visitors. It’s one of the main differentiating factors between different web hosting companies. The best companies promise at least 99.9% uptime and back that claim up with a money-back guarantee.
- 24/7 Customer Support – The moment you have an issue with your website, you want to get it fixed. 24/7 customer support means you can reach someone right away and get the problem taken care of faster.
- Plenty of Bandwidth – Look for an ASP.NET hosting provider that offers plans at different levels, especially if your website or app will need a significant amount of bandwidth. If you need it, make sure you can get an enterprise-level plan compatible with ASP.NET.
- A Reputation for Security – Choosing ASP.NET to build your website is one smart step you can take for security, choosing the right web hosting provider is another. A web hosting provider that uses strong firewalls and offers security features like an SSL certificate that will provide an extra level of protection that keeps your website and its visitors safer.
HostGator’s ASP.NET web hosting services offer everything on the list. We make it easy to add ASP.NET to your hosting account so you can get started faster. And we have one of the top reputations of any web hosting company in the industry. If you’re still not sure about the right web hosting provider or company for your ASP.NET website, our sales representatives and support team are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have. If you’re looking into a different service like dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, or shared hosting plans, our experienced team can help you find the best package for your needs.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.