First things First. Why would you like to have Windows Based Hosting when there are Linux packages for cheaper rates ? The answer is – it depends on what application you are looking to use for your hosting. Consider tools and scripting languages you plan to use – if you use PHP, Perl or MySQL, Linux is way forward. If apps are Microsoft-specific, then Windows is what you need. Clear…? Now let’s proceed with essential ingredients of any Windows Hosting Plan. 1.ASP Support – The clear reason why you chose a windows plan is to use Microsoft Specific Languages. Active Server Pages, Microsoft's technology to enables HTML pages to be dynamic and interactive by embedding scripts. Check all windows hosting plans and make sure, host doesn’t charge for this extra.
2..NET Support – ASP.net is next generation of Microsoft's Active Server Page (ASP), a feature of their Internet Information Server (IIS). ASP.net is different from ASP in two major ways: it supports code written in compiled languages like C++, Visual Basic, and Perl, and, it features server controls that can separate code from content, allowing WYSIWYG editing of pages. Most of hosts give this feature free of charge while few charge extra. Go for it if you really need it.
3.CDONTS - CDONTS stands for 'Collaboration Data Objects for Windows NT Server' and it’s a Messaging Component comes along with Windows NT/2000. A windows hosting plan without this is Incomplete. This provides you easiest solution for your messaging thro’ your website ASP pages, provided you have SMTP support.
4.DATABASES – Microsoft Access 2000 Database is supported by all windows hosting plans. This will do if you are a starter. For experienced campaigners, MS-Sql is a must have. This is an advanced feature and most of hosting companies charge extra. The control for Databases must be provided in Control Panel. Check that.
5.DATABASE Connection – DSN or DSNless Connections, whatever case may be, please check if host has provided option in Control Panel to create/manage DSNs. (Data Source Name). If DSNs are NOT allowed, ask for Connection String for DSNless connections.
6.ASP Components – Apart from default components, there are loads of third party software. Check list of such components that host provides. ASP Upload, ASPImage, Dundas Mailer, ASPjpeg, ASPEncrypt are few popular components. At times you may require to have your own components (DLLs) installed. This is provided by most of hosts, but after DLL undergoes a complete test in server environment. This does not come free.