Introduction to Shared Windows Hosting
The best decision you can make for your website is to choose the right hosting plan. While there are various options in the market, be sure to choose one compatible with your Operating System (OS).
If you’ve run a website before, you may have come across the term shared hosting. This is when different websites share one physical server, its space, and resources. Many first-time website owners prefer to use shared hosting plans because of their low cost and accessibility. Plus, with this hosting plan, the hosting service provider handles the technical parts of running the server, making it a beginner-friendly option.
It differs from dedicated hosting, which means a single server is hosting one site at a time, and Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS), where different site owners share one server, but each gets a partitioned section. However, these alternatives are expensive and require users to maintain their own servers.
Our expert team has conducted extensive real-time performance testing of several shared windows companies. They carried out an independent study that includes thousands of user reviews, tests, and surveys on some of the leading shared windows hosting providers. We understand if you don’t want to read the whole study right now, so let’s cut the story short.
Here are our recommendations for the best-shared windows hosting providers.
Short on Time? Check Our Top Best Shared Windows Hosting Providers
How Do We Rank and How You Should Choose Your Best Shared Windows Hosting?
- Uptime & Speed8%
- Reliable Customer Support7%
- Ease of Use5%
- Flexible Plans & Pricing15%
- Resources That Don’t Limit You8%
- Diverse Security Features5%
- Valuable Hosting Extras12%
- User Reviews30%
What Is Best Shared Windows Hosting, And Who Is It For?
Windows hosting refers to any website that runs on a Windows operating system. Most website hosting plans offer two hosting types – Linux and Windows.
- Linux hosting is a popular website hosting service, with many website owners hosting their sites because of its flexible and affordable pricing. It is compatible with MySQL and PHP, and supports scripts like PhpBB, Zen Cart, and WordPress. Click here for our Shared Hosting Pricing page.
- Windows hosting, on the flip side, offers Windows-based technologies to its users, like Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), Microsoft Access, Microsoft Exchange, ASP, and . NET. So, this hosting service is suitable for users whose website uses Windows tools and languages.
Many first-time users fall into the trap of thinking they must use the same operating system as their personal computer because they know how it works. But when it comes to website hosting, it is not advisable to tie your choice to your personal preference.
Rather, the compatibility of the operating system with your website’s operating software matters. Some websites work only with Linux, others with Windows, and yet others, like WordPress, can run on both systems.
Overall, shared windows hosting is recommended if you have a small site with limited storage, RAM, and CPU needs. It’s ideal for small businesses, especially because it helps cut costs, an important feature to look out for.
However, this is not to say that shared windows hosting is without constraints, as all users share one server and have to use the same configuration and operating system the host provides. So, you ordinarily cannot optimize the server for your own needs, and the host prohibits your sites from running heavy applications like streaming to prevent one user hogging all of the server’s resources.
If your site falls into the category that will benefit from a shared windows hosting plan, then read on because, in the next segment, we will detail some of the best options in the market and help you choose the best windows hosting server for your website.
The Best Shared Windows Hosting Services of 2023 (Bought and Tested):
I would go for 1&1 Ionos if I wanted an affordable, easy-to-use Windows hosting provider with hands-on technical support.
- Overall Score: 4.4
- Ease of Use: 4.3
- Useful Features: 4.4
- Uptime & Speed: 4.4
- Customer Support: 4.3
- Plans & Pricing: 4.4
While it manages over 12 million domains worldwide, 1&1 Ionos is not for everyone. Personally, It is recommended for small businesses that want cheap pricing and dedicated support.
Its online reviews are mixed, with many users complaining about sneaky add-ons and difficulty canceling plans. So, Ionos can do more in terms of its service, but it still offers good value for money and a wide range of hosting options.
Ease of Use: 1&1 Ionos has a custom setup, different from other service providers that work with cPanel. While this is a unique and creative approach, it can get confusing for users. Since they target small business owners who may be beginners, it is best to update its control panel to something more user-friendly.
Useful Features: You get free daily backups, auto-installation of WordPress and other apps, a free SSL certificate, and more for every hosting plan.
Uptime & Speed: This service provider has a great uptime score. After testing, it showed a 99.98 uptime score, which matches the “almost 100% uptime” claim on its website. So, stability with this plan is guaranteed.
While it may not be the fastest hosting service provider, 1&1 Ionos does not perform poorly, as it has 15 data centers with performance varying depending on the data center in use. Usually, you’d get a data center closer to you.
Customer Support: Since Ionos had rebranded to 1 & 1 Ionos, it upgraded its abysmal customer service, and now each user receives one-on-one support from a dedicated customer support agent, free of charge.
Plans & Pricing: 1 & 1 Ionos is a budget-friendly service provider, beating every other service provider’s offer with a $1 monthly rate. While other platforms have complex pricing structures, Ionos is upfront, with fixed prices for its first year and subsequent upgrades.
All plans come with unlimited storage, one free domain name for a year, and one email account with 2 GB of email storage.
Pros & Cons
- Strong uptime
- Fast loading speed
- A free domain name and email account
- Free SSL security
- Cheap hosting service
- Dedicated support for each customer
- Only available in select countries
- No free site migration
- Hidden costs
- Negative online reviews
- Complex control panel
If you want a reliable Windows shared hosting provider with friendly customer care, you should consider going with HostGator. Since they have been in the web hosting business since 2002, with such a huge customer base, there’s evidence that they’re doing something right.
They provide a range of web hosting services suitable for almost every website, starting at only $2.75 a month.
- Overall Score: 5.0
- Ease of Use: 4.9
- Useful Features: 5.0
- Uptime & Speed: 4.9
- Customer Support: 5.0
- Plans & Pricing: 4.9
HostGator stands out as one of the oldest, biggest, and most reliable hosting service providers, promising super savings with 65% off, 99% uptime, and free domain, among other perks. It is where the pros go to host!
Ease of Use: HostGator was created with beginners in mind. As such, the site is full of tutorials, and articles in its Knowledgebase, to help new users navigate the world of data centers and DNS. All its templates are customizable and modern, with a drag-and-drop feature to make the design process easy.
The combination of a native customer portal and a traditional cPanel is simple and functional, making everything well categorized and easy to find. From the dashboard, you can use its most basic features, while the more complex stuff is stored in the cPanel.
Useful Features: HostGator offers shared hosting plans with one-click installs, allowing you to integrate apps easily; a free SSL certificate that shows your site visitors that you take their security seriously; unmetered bandwidth to handle all the traffic your site brings in; site migration that lets you move an existing site to HostGator, and more.
Uptime & Speed: With HostGator, you get a 99% uptime guaranteed to keep your site up round the clock. The service has also improved its loading times, taking only seconds to load web pages, as it knows the impact of fast page loading times on your visitors’ experience and the trickle-down effect on your site itself.
Customer Support: HostGator provides live chat, email and phone support, and a knowledge base for quick answers to any problems you may have. It also has a Twitter support account and a blog where you can learn how to use the platform properly. The best part of its customer service is an agent ready to attend to you 24/7.
Plans & Pricing: There are three plans to pick from, depending on your usage requirements, with the cheapest plan starting at $2.75, on the condition that you sign up for three years, after which the price reverts to $6.95 a month. If that is too much of a commitment, opt for the annual plan for $3.95 a month.
Money-Back Guarantee: HostGator goes beyond the average 30-day money-back guarantee by instituting a 45-day refund policy. So, you can use this service for more than a month and still get your money back if you’re not comfortable with the service.
This guarantee, however, covers only users in the shared, reseller, and VPS packages, and if your plan came with a free domain name, the service would deduct a $15 fee from the refund amount – a small price to pay. After adding these to the other parameters we analyzed, it was an easy decision, declaring this our best-shared Windows hosting overall.
Pros & Cons
- Affordable prices
- Fast loading times
- 24/7 customer support
- Free site migration
- Free domain for a year
- High renewal fees
- Servers located only in the United States
Ranking comparison between the Top Providers
Why You Should Choose A Shared Windows Hosting Plan
When starting your business or website, you may have to decide between getting a Linux or Windows shared hosting plan. While they may be limiting because many websites link to the same server, they are cheaper than dedicated or VPS hosting plans.
Here are some reasons why you should choose Windows over any other option:
- Windows as a platform is easier for newcomers, especially as it offers familiar Microsoft products. You don’t have to start learning new things or systems before using your website.
- If your website has to work with Microsoft solutions or programs like ASP.Net or MS Access, it only makes sense to choose a Windows hosting plan because of its compatibility.
- Windows servers are very stable and reliable, and using a top Windows shared hosting provider will guarantee that your site stays online at all times. Their plans are also scalable, so you can upgrade when needed.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Shared Windows Hosting Plan
When you start, the traffic demands on your website may not be much, but as your business grows, so will your website traffic. So, when looking for a shared Windows hosting provider, go for one that offers high scalability.
The plan you go for needs an unlimited database capacity because you will need it as your website grows. Check out their file transfer protocols because this determines how you will transfer files between the network and your computer; you don’t want limitations when the time arises.
There are many tempting offers on the internet, but take a step back and check a hosting provider’s reputation before committing to a package. These user reviews from third-party sites give unbiased insight into a hosting provider’s quality standards.
It would be wise to go for reasonable market value over tempting discounts.
Web hosting services typically have two fees – the initial set-up and renewal costs. Many hosting service providers give amazing discounts, charging less upon sign-up, but the renewal charges may be too heavy to bear.
So, read the fine print before choosing a shared Windows hosting service. Your chosen plan should match your budget, so check for transparent pricing, which tells you what to expect in the future.
The important question to ask yourself is whether you can keep up with the provider’s pricing or not. Go for the best price-value ratio and not the cheapest available package.
Features and Added Services
Before choosing a shared Windows hosting provider, investigate what other benefits the prospective provider offers. You should look for free SSL certificates, free domain registration, SSH access, and the kind of control panel it provides.
Some hosting providers offer customized control panels, but a standard option like a cPanel may be better for you. So, double-check these factors before choosing a plan.
With shared hosting, your website may face challenges like slow page loading, page unavailability, and more. What do you do? Who do you turn to? Your hosting service provider?
This is where customer support comes in. Look out for hosting providers that offer 24/7 support through different channels like live chat, emails, social media, and more. Also, ensure their support team consists of real people, not just bots or machines.
Speed and Website Security
A website that takes forever to load is an absolute turn-off for visitors and the site owner. Even if you have a cheap hosting plan, you would still want your website to load fast.
As you already know, your hosting service determines your website speed. So, do your research and choose a company that ranks high up the list of services with fast performance.
Security is another concern, especially with shared hosting packages. Hackers will find it difficult to access and steal data from a site that is well monitored. So, ensure that your chosen hosting package comes with the best possible website security systems.
Managed vs. Unmanaged
A network switch is the brain box of a network, the networking hardware that connects all devices and redirects and forwards data to its destination. Managed switches generally allow users better control over how their data travels and who can access it.
With managed switches, you can adjust each port to any setting and configure the network in many different ways. These managed switches allow you to track data and use them for network capacity and troubleshooting purposes.
On the flip side, with unmanaged switches, all devices belong to the same domain, and when two devices in the same domain try to send data simultaneously, a collision may occur.
The major differences between managed and unmanaged networks are their features, cost, security, control, and performance. Unmanaged switches, for instance, have basic security, while managed systems have better-secured systems.
Another difference is in cost, as unmanaged switches are more affordable than their managed counterparts. Small businesses can deploy unmanaged switches, but a standard organization typically requires a managed switch.
Best Shared Windows Hosting Services: Final Recommendations / Summary
As you can see, shared Windows hosting is the better option for small businesses, newbies, websites that do not have enough traffic, and people on a budget. It is preferable if you start a website from scratch or already have an existing medium-scale website. As your site grows, you can upgrade, but this is a good place to start.
But, remember that not all shared Windows hosting providers are the same, as some offer more comprehensive policies than others. So, consider the parameters in this guide when choosing your preferred plan.
The best way to find the right fit for your needs is through user and expert reviews. Third parties who have used the service before you may be the best way to determine what a service is worth. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees before committing to a plan.