So, you’re ready for a Windows VPS! This powerful hosting solution can provide you with ample resources and robust capabilities, including easy remote access and a familiar Windows GUI.
What’s the catch? For starters, some hosts offer the newer server OS, Windows Server 2016, while others supply only older versions. Some companies are so retro they provide the 2003 version.
In addition to that, every company defines “managed” hosting a bit differently. And then, of course, are the licenses. Windows hosting requires licenses for everything from control panels to databases.
Don’t take unnecessary risks. Read on to find out what the best Windows VPS companies offer, and which one is right for you.
Our Top Windows VPS Hosting Picks
- Hostinger – Super popular hosting service that provides four good Windows VPS configurations to choose from
- Liquid Web – A real premium experience that offers powerhouse virtual machines with a bunch of useful and exciting extra features
- Hostwinds – Totally customizable, from bare-bones to totally managed, lets you provision the exact VPS you need
- InterServer – An all-American company that services U.S. customers and visitors with a variety of powerful VPS configurations
- GoDaddy – Famed web host offers a few Windows VPS plans to choose from, and while resources are adequate, extra features can get expensive
- Contabo – Two state-of-the-art data centers in Germany and a wealth of great features make it a fantastic option for European audiences.
What We Look For in the Best Windows VPS Vendors
During my tests, I tried running an application developed for 2016 on a 2008 VPS. Results were catastrophic. I also gave unmanaged hosting a shot, and found out it was quite similar to a Tamagotchi. Same heartbreak, too, every time it… goes to the farm.
Compared to the many shared hosting plans available on the market, my expectations from Windows VPS hosting are much higher. When choosing one of the hosts on this list, you can be sure you’ll get:
- Performance – Just as with any other kind of hosting, I always look for blazing fast speeds and uncompromising uptime. I want your websites to load immediately and to always be available.
- Windows Licenses – Windows VPS is a curious thing, as it requires specific Microsoft licenses. Some web hosts sell only the server, leaving you to take care of the rest. Not these hosts.
- Scalability – Windows VPS is an advanced hosting solution that can meet the needs of a rapidly growing website, but what happens when you get even more visitors? Your VPS has to be able to scale up accordingly.
- Managed VPS – You’re here because you want to host a website, not because you want to get a Ph.D. equivalent in configuring virtual servers. That’s what managed services are for. These guys are pros, and they’re here for you.
- Cheap VPS Hosting – You may have made the big time, but you’re still on a budget. I can’t think of much use for a phenomenal service that costs as much as a second mortgage. These hosts are affordable.
Alright, so those are the ground rules. Ready for our top 6 picks? Let’s begin.
1. Hostinger – Easily Scale Up from Shared Hosting
What about VPS? The discounts aren’t as crazy here, but you’ll still find some excellent configurations to choose from. Hostinger provides four Windows VPS plans, offering users of the shared plans a chance to seamlessly upgrade up.
Keep in mind that while the VPS is unmanaged per se, you’ll still have access to Hostinger’s 24/7/365 support. I was personally blown away by the dedication of the support agents, and you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands.
- Powered by the latest Intel Xeon processors and 128GB of RAM per server – With 50GB of disk space and 4TB of bandwidth on the most basic configuration, even a medium-sized e-commerce store will be happy.
- Scale with Ease – Any time that you feel like you need more resources, you can change your plan accordingly.
- Dedicated IP – Saves you the risk of being blacklisted because of another site that’s sharing your IP. Allows for direct access, even without setting up a DNS, and may improve SEO.
- Windows Server 2012 – Not the latest Windows OS for servers, as that would be 2016, but still a great option for running .NET and MSSQL based web applications.
Want to read more about Hostinger? Check out our in-depth review.
2. Liquid Web – Premium VPS that’s Jam-Packed with Extra Features
Liquid Web is one of the most respected and professional companies in the business – serving a smaller client base, but keeping it mighty happy. Liquid Web offers completely managed VPS services, and they come with a bunch of great perks.
Independent benchmarks place the company’s fast VPS hosting as one of the best options available today, outperforming many big names in terms of page loading times and server responses.
Windows VPS is available only from the second plan up, and only when purchasing monthly hosting. I’m not sure exactly as to why that is, and it does get a bit pricier, but this a premium service like few others.
- CloudFlare CDN – No longer will physical server locations impact your international visitor’s loading times. CloudFlare CDN is included free of charge, and your website will be promptly delivered to visitors anywhere – from Japan to Argentina.
- ServerSecure and DDoS Protection – The security suite is included with all VPS plans, and will keep your data secure and safe from any unwanted access. Additionally, the company provides a shield from DDoS attacks.
- Backups – Local backups let you operate with peace of mind. No matter what disaster befalls you, there will be a copy of your website waiting.
- Windows Server 2012 and 2016 – Choose the OS version you want, according to your needs and your website’s dependencies.
To see if Liquid Web is the right solution for you, read our expert review.
Hostwinds made a name for itself as a fair and transparent company, detailing every possible feature in the hosting plans. The VPS plans are no different – you’ll have absolute control over what server configuration you receive, and what services it contains.
This method allows Hostwinds to provide what may be the cheapest VPS plans in the market. The Windows VPS plans are no different, and at first their prices confused me – they were so low I thought they were for shared hosting.
It’s important to take into account that costs can balloon quite quickly, as introductory prices usually double after the first payment period. Additionally, Windows Server OS licenses and Plesk licenses (both are a must) will be added to your cart during checkout.
- Highest level of customization available – Choose your configuration, and easily upgrade (or even downgrade) in the future. Add any OS version, application, panel, or other extra you desire. You can even supply your own OS installation!
- Snapshots – Nightly backups that allow you to immediately restore your site to any previous point in time where a snapshot was taken.
- Free Website Transfer – Let Hostwinds’ pros take care of moving your website for you. Enjoy your new VPS setup after everything has been taken care of.
- Enterprise Firewall – Bolster your security with an advanced firewall that provides a reliable defense against the numerous malicious attackers that lurk online.
Curious to learn more about Hostwinds? Don’t miss our detailed review.
American powerhouse InterServer offers a variety of hosting services, operating off its three state-of-the-art data centers. With two in New Jersey and one in Los Angeles, any U.S. based business is promised lightning fast performance from coast to coast.
The company gives special attention to the often neglected Windows hosting, providing no less than 16 different Windows VPS configurations. This selection makes it possible to host virtually anything, from a successful blog to a multi-site network.
- Managed VPS – InterServer’s staff are available around the clock, to troubleshoot any OS issue you might encounter. Additionally, the team will update your server and firewall themselves.
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee – InterServer commits to a binding 99.9% uptime guarantee, right in the service level agreement. If at any given month the guarantee isn’t met (highly unlikely), up to 50% of the monthly fee will be returned in credits.
- Choose between Windows 10, Server 2012, or Server 2016 – No matter what Windows project you’re running, you’ll have the appropriate OS version.
- 24/7 Support – Responsive, professional, in-house support representatives that are always on call.
Read our expert review to learn more about InterServer.
Established domain name provider GoDaddy has been around for ages, making headlines in the early 2000s with its racy ads. It has gotten quite the reputation due to its many upsells and only-sometimes-available support, but its VPS offerings are quite decent.
Using the same tried-and-true beginner-friendly interface, GoDaddy allows anybody to quickly provision a Windows VPS. You’ll have four different plans to choose from, ranging from a 2GB to 8GB of RAM, giving small to medium websites a lot of room to grow.
The pricing structure can get a bit confusing, as the “unmanaged” option does not actually include Windows OS licenses or Plesk control panel licenses. I recommend paying close attention during checkout.
- Three Management Levels – Self-managed, managed, and fully managed. Only managed and fully managed include proprietary licenses. Self-managed is for server professionals only.
- Choice of OS – Windows Server 2008 or 2012. Newer Windows Server 2016 is not available.
- Migrations – Free migrations are included in the fully managed level.
- Variety of Extra Features Available – While other hosts provide them free of charge and indefinitely, features like SSL certificates and automatic backups need to be purchased separately with GoDaddy.
Find out more about GoDaddy in our expert review.
Contabo’s website might not be the latest word in design, but what the company lacks in visuals it more than makes up for in performance. With two state-of-the-art data centers, both located in Germany, Contabo provides one of the most reliable hosting services in all of Europe.
All seven VPS plans are available with both Linux and Windows as their operating system and can be customized to your specifications. Windows Server 2012 is supported on all plans, and the four 100% SSD plans also support the newer version, 2016.
Factor in the bargain prices, convenient payment periods, and the great features available, and Contabo becomes a no-brainer for targeting European audiences. Just remember that all plans are unmanaged, so it’s up to you to set up the servers and keep them up-to-date.
- Choose between an SSD boost or 100% SSD – SSD boosted servers are slightly slower, but also cheaper and come with much more storage. With the pricier 100% SSD plans you’ll get faster and more efficient machines, but less space.
- Advanced server management – Contabo’s customer control panel allows you to easily set up root access, reboot your VPS, and even reinstall Windows if need be.
- Server snapshots – Available only with the 100% SSD plans. Before attempting a system update, snap away to save the current state of your VPS. If anything goes wrong and you want to rewind, just restore the snapshot.
- DDoS protection – All plans automatically include Contabo’s DDoS protection system, which promises to block 99% of DDoS attacks.
- Extra backup space and monitoring services – Available at an extra cost, these options can help you sleep a little better at night. Contabo’s staff will update you if your VPS ever becomes unavailable, and you’ll be able to store backups on a completely separate server.
The Underdogs Snatch the Win
Compared to its Linux counterpart, Windows VPS is more expensive, less popular, and generally harder to set up. The reason to choose Windows VPS hosting is almost always a dependency on Microsoft technologies, such as .NET, ASP.NET, and MSSQL.
In a surprising turn of events, many hosting companies don’t line up to provide service for Microsoft’s operating system. Lots of the best VPS providers choose to focus entirely on Linux, leaving the market up for grabs.
Big brands like Hostinger and GoDaddy give it their best, but in the end it’s smaller, lesser-known names that take home the trophy. Providing an excellent mix of premium managed services, and leaving lots of room for customization, they keep the prices low and deliver the goods.
If you’re looking to host your web application or website, whether it’s a blog, a business site, or an e-commerce store, I recommend Liquid Web or Hostwinds. Out of two, Hostwinds is the cheaper option.
If you’re still not sure which solution is the right one for you, this quick comparison table should be helpful.
|Backups||Windows OS Options||Management Level|
|Hostinger||Manual data backups included|
|Liquid Web||Local site backups are included with all plans. Cloud backups can be purchased at an additional cost|
|Hostwinds||Nightly automatic backups to the cloud are included in all plans|
|InterServer||Premium backup service to the InterServer cloud can be purchased at an additional cost|
|GoDaddy||Disaster recovery backups only, plus one on-demand backup available on managed and fully managed levels|
|Contabo||All 100% SSD plans come with server snapshots, and extra backup space on a separate server can be purchased|