Shared Windows Hosting: What Is Plex and Why is it a Popular Alternative?

windows hostingMany providers still offer Windows Hosting to many companies running websites, primarily because of its vast cross compatibility features. This type of hosting is based on Windows servers (whose 2012 version is set to be released soon) that are usually incorporated with full-featured control panel software, Plesk. This combination is usually operated in a shared hosting environment where resources are shared among users of a Web server. This includes the server’s hardware, the database storage, the operating system and the various applications necessary for running a website. In general, these are partitioned and allocated to each user of that server, giving them access to what technically appears to be their separate database and email storage space. They can also host their own web content, and with Plesk, users are given the capability of managing their own domains, maintain their email accounts, manage their databases and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) services, as well as create directories to protect passwords.

If you are planning to use ASP.Net or Classic ASP (also known as Active Server Page, a Microsoft scripting engine using languages like VBScript and JScript that can be implemented into the Web server to create Web pages with custom functionalities), then a Windows Hosting plan can work for you. The same thing goes for using database management systems like MySQL and Access. Since this type mostly works on a shared hosting environment, you must take note of how much traffic is your website getting.

The usual practice of providers is to regulate the usage of the CPU resources of only up to 25% at any given time for each user, to ensure the optimum performance of the physical server. Even with this limitation, a lot of small and medium scale businesses are recommended to go for this type of Windows Hosting, because moderate traffic is expected by businesses with websites that use this hosting environment. With the expertise that your host can provide, these primary considerations and the features that come with your plan, you can be sure that your business will still get the reliability and security you need from a Web hosting account.

One of the key features that you might want to check first with your host is if the plan would allow you to host several domains. Having this as a default feature on your plan helps you save from additional costs of hosting these multiple domains separately, in case you plan to register more domains in the future. Since this Web hosting plan is incorporated with a highly functional control panel, managing your websites can save more of your time.

Another key feature that comes with Windows Hosting with Plesk is your ability to check on a listing of all the domains hosted in your account. With this feature, you can create and change your domains and even see how much traffic the domain is getting. Under this category is the “Virtual Host Template”, and this is where you can configure Plesk to automatically create a new domain for files and directories, such as http docs and error docs into your Web space.

One other feature in this category is the “Domain Template”. With this feature, you can build and change templates to automatically set up your own hosting account. The templates in turn may include preferences for mailing lists, the hosting setup, the domain setup and over usage limitations.

Plesk also has a “Web Site” category with shortcuts including “Web Hosting Settings”. This is where you can setup your hosting accounts and assign PHP, .NET Framework or ASP. The “Domains Aliases” feature is where you have the ability to add domains without any effect on your domain limits. This practically helps you secure top level domains for your website.

The “Web Users” feature is where you can build an individualized location for a personal Web page and separate FTP access for that web user. This in turn creates subdirectories for your main domain. The “Subdomains” feature is where you can create, change or remove a sub domain or a domain with a prefix with your main domain. The “DNS Settings” is where you can add, delete or modify DNS (Domain Name Server)records to CNAME, NS, SPF or MX. The “Site Preview” is where you can check if the functionalities of your websites are working using a temporary URL, and if your websites are not being propagated from the actual server.

Another key feature that is offered with Windows Hosting with Plesk falls under the control panel’s main page header “Files”. This is where you can generally have control over your files if you happen to not have an FTP program. With the Plesk “File Manager”, you can delete, add or modify files listed in directories under a parent directory. Aside from this, it also features a function where you can add a username and a password to access files or folders in your website, preventing instances of anonymous and unauthorized access to the directories. On the other hand, you can also register your FTP account using your domain as the FTP host and typing in the username and password for the account to be accessed. Of course, an FTP program from a third party provider is needed to use this feature. You can also create FTP accounts using this feature, which is found under the “Files” category.

“Virtual Directories” is another feature where you can setup and configure such directories as required by applications, such as ASP Web apps. Such virtual directories will have links to directories found in your physical server’s hard drives. You can have a certain setup for ASP.NET with this feature, or even limit or grant permissions for the access of the directories and protect them with a password.

Other features found with the control panel include company email shortcuts to manage your email, and the applications and services shortcuts for controlling your database and web applications. It also features a view of your website statistics, including traffic, logs and usage of resources. The “Account” shortcut will also be handy in updating your personal data, change your interface theme and modify the password in accessing the control panel.

These are the many features that you can take advantage of with a shared Windows hosting type of Web hosting plan. With the additional help of your provider, this can be set up with a lot of convenience.

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