We centered our review around a few key factors we feel to be the most important when evaluating VPS hosting options.
Hosting servers are, at their core, fairly similar to the PCs we use every day. The capabilities of their hardware determine how quickly and smoothly the hosted sites will load and run. In your search for the best Microsoft Windows VPS hosting providers, the essential components to look into are the CPU and RAM.
The CPU represents the server’s muscle, determining how quickly the server can process information and whether it can handle high traffic loads or complicated database queries. CPU power is measured in clock strength (GHz) and the number of cores the processor has. For websites primarily running static pages, CPU power won’t be much of a prerequisite. However, if you’re running a content management system or have an interactive site, you’ll need a CPU capable of handling more instructions.
RAM (Random Access Memory) acts as the server’s short-term memory and is also a crucial component when choosing the best Windows-based VPS hosting provider. RAM is used to temporarily store data that the various applications and processes on your site need to access to run properly. A larger RAM capacity increases the temporary workspace they have at their disposal, alleviating the need to fetch that data from permanent storage. In other words, more RAM equals a quicker website.
All servers, including those for VPS website hosting, utilize cloud, solid-state, or hard drives for backups, config files, and images. There’s really not much wisdom to it – the more storage space you have, the better. Of course, the providers on our best VPS Windows hosting list have varying capacities, and you should pick the ones that satisfy your storage needs. The bare minimum you’ll need is 100 GB, although some basic packages offer much less than this.
You’ll also have to choose between cloud, SSD, and HDD storage. Traditional hard drives are cheaper and usually come with larger storage capacities but are generally slower than SSDs. On the other hand, SSDs bring lightning speeds with smaller volumes but at a higher price.
A Windows License
A unique aspect of Windows VPS web hosting is that it requires a Microsoft license in order to run. These licenses can be costly, but many hosting companies bundle the best VPS hosting with a free Windows license. This is not always the case, however, so make sure to check that out. Alternatively, a few hosting providers might let you use your own Windows license for the server.
Managed vs. Unmanaged
Managed server hosting means that the provider’s IT professionals will be in charge of server-level management, security, updates, and so forth. As you might’ve guessed, managed servers are more expensive than unmanaged ones. However, managed servers are ideal if you lack the IT knowledge to perform these tasks yourself. Additionally, opting for one of the best managed Windows VPS hosting providers can turn out cheaper in the long run than hiring someone specifically for this job. On the other hand, if you possess the required skills yourself, unmanaged hosting is the way to go.
The majority of VPS hosting services impose bandwidth caps in their plans, limiting how much data can be downloaded or uploaded, as well as constricting your overall monthly data transfers. There are providers with plans that offer unlimited monthly bandwidth as well. There are no rules for how much bandwidth you’ll need, but always go above your projected requirements and choose companies that allow you to increase the cap if needed.
When choosing between the best VPS hosting providers, remember to check out their security services. Blog-oriented websites with static pages can probably do without it, but e-commerce websites or those handling sensitive user information need top-notch security. SSL encryption is considered the industry standard for website security, represented by a padlock symbol next to the URL. Besides SSL/TLS encryption, security features to look out for are backups, security monitoring, and malware protection. These often come as premium features, so make room in your budget for them, too.