Our Host4ASP.net Shared Hosting Review
We haven’t had the opportunity to review a new hosting provider in quite a while, and when we were approached by Host4ASP.net, we were someone dubious that we would have the time to carry out a Host4ASP.net Review. It is quite fortunate that we did because unlike most of our other hosts these focus solely on Windows hosting.
Finding a decent ASP.net host can be pretty tricky as many of the mainstream hosts do not offer it, especially as some of the technicalities involved can make it more difficult for support staff to be fully versed in Linux and Windows. This is where a specialist host can make the difference. Couple that with a decent range of plans with both normal Disk Storage, and our favorite SSD Storage we think Host4ASP.net has a winning formula. So, with our initial view out the way, let us dig into some of the details.
So Who are Host4ASP.net?
According to our contact at the company, they were founded in 2013 by Eunge and Ray (the domain was registered in June 2013) and are entirely independent. They offer to host in both Chicago, US and Hong Kong, with their business correspondence address located in Chicago. What their contact didn’t tell us was that the business address is the same as the Datacenter Colocrossing business address, which makes us wonder if they are located elsewhere but want to have the appearance of a US postal address.
Further research shows that the owner actually may be Endless Force Group Limited (David Bartak) although we couldn’t find any further references around the web of this company except to an address at “P.O.Box 438 Road Town, Tortola VG1110 Road Town Tortola VG1110 200433 British Indian Ocean Territory “. With their Chinese roots (their Chinese brand is “zhuji91.com”) it is hard to say where the founders are located. The only Linkedin Profile for the company is very limited but does show their language as both English and Chinese (which makes sense). If you need Asia Hosting located in Hong Kong, their experience with the native market could make them a prime choice. Further references show that they were formerly known as Ravi.net that was launched seven years ago, before changing names to Host4ASP.net. Indeed, these guys have been established in the industry for quite a long time.
Not knowing who you are dealing with does start to raise some alarm bells, and as while they seem to be established we would urge some caution here.
- 2007 \ 2008 – was originally named as Ravi NET that was launched seven years ago. It was rebranded to Host4ASP.NET in 2013.
- August 2013 – launched 2 Windows hosting packages with different features and prices.
- December 2013 – offered 3 SSD hosting packages for better speed and performance.
- April 2014 – launched 3 Hong Kong hosting packages for those that do business in Hong Kong and Asia
- September 2014 – released three private SSL certificates for customers
- November 2014 – added more features as well as changing to unlimited Bandwidth plans.
The Different Plans
Host4ASP.net have the perfect balance of features and pricing with all their different plans. If you are on a budget, you can grab one of their basic plans from just $2.95 per month, but if you want slightly better performance we highly recommend checking out their SSD Hosting Plans that start from just $4.95.
Standard Disk Storage Plans
You can see below a table showing a selection of the difference between the different standard plans:
|$2.95 pm (usually $4.95)||$3.95 pm (usually $6.95)||$9.95 pm (usually $15.95)|
|1 Website||6 Websites||Unlimited Websites|
|10GB storage||Unlimited Storage||Unlimited Storage|
|15m Site Idle Timeout||30m Site Idle Timeout||60m Site Idle Timeout|
|256MB Site Memory||512MB Site Memory||1GB Site Memory|
|10 Email Accounts||30 Email Accounts||Unlimited Email Accounts|
|Remote IIS Management||Remote IIS Management|
|Unlimited Concurrent Connections||Unlimited Concurrent Connections|
|BetterSecurity Suite||BetterSecurity Suite|
|Free SSL & Ded. IP|
In addition, all accounts have the following features:
- Unlimited Data Transfer
- IIS 8.5 – Full Trust
- MSSQL 2012/2014 & MySQL
- Classic ASP
- ASP.NET 2.0/3.5SP1/4.5
- ASP.NET MVC 3/4/5
- Silverlight 4/5
- PHP 5.2/5.3/5.4
- Zend Optimizer / Zend Guard Loader
- – SQL Server 2012/2014
- – Remote Access to MSSQL DBs
- – SQL Backup and SQL Restore
- – SQL Management Studio Access Allowed
- – SQL Server Local DB
- – MySQL5 & phpMyAdmin
- – Access Databases
Host4ASP.net SSD Hosting Plans
If you prefer a little more speed and responsiveness for your site then we would highly recommend the SSD plans. These are exactly the same specification as the plans highlighted above, except a little more expensive:
- Basic – $4.95pm (usually $6.95)
- Advance – $6.95pm (usually $9.95)
- Business – $14.95pm (usually $20.95)
They don’t seem to promote these plans, or their Hong Kong based hosting very well on their site, but if you check the footer you will see links to these plans.
Our Concerns about the plans
Our only concern about the hosting plans is the amount of Site Memory allocated. We think that the 256MB allocated to the Basic plan is not sufficient for all but a very basic website, and you may soon find yourself needing to upgrade. This seems to us to be one of the main methods of upselling used by Host4ASP.net. However, the pricing is so competitive (i.e. good value) that we can’t blame them. Setting realistic resource limits on budget plans is essential to avoid overselling, and to achieve a more stable server in the long run. We would, therefore, suggest choosing, at least, the Advance plan to lock in the initial discount on the plan that should be more appropriate for the slightly more busy site.
The Control Panel
Host4ASP.net uses Websitepanel for its control panel, and you can see a full demo of their control panel here. You can see a screenshot of their demo below, and while the styling is very basic, it is easy to navigate and access all the features you might need from File Manager to Database management.
Unfortunately, we are not overly familiar with the WebSitePanel control panel, so it is hard to say if it is better or worse than the more popular Plesk (noting that cPanel only works on Linux).
They offer two methods of getting support; either by Live Chat or by Ticket. Both options are available 24 x 7, and they endeavor to respond to your ticket within 2 hours and resolution within 48 hours. This is very respectable in line with many of the mainstream hosting providers.
We had a look around the Internet for indications of whether their support is any good, but there seems to be a distinct lack of what we would call “real” user reviews around. Certainly we found many fake user reviews in addition to editorial reviews (on review sites) a few references back to 2006 (note that this must have been a previous owner of the domain as the company was started in 2013). Even on Microsoft’s own ASP.net, the reviews do seem a little keyword rich that is not natural and makes us question their authenticity.
On the flip side, we have found no negative reviews either, which we often see when a hosting company fails to deliver adequate support. Also, because they only offer Windows Hosting, they will be more capable of dealing with asp.net related issues than a host that primarily specialized in Linux.
Couple that with their very active blog with many helpful guides, it not only demonstrates that they are a forward looking and active company, but also that they have a fair amount of expertise at their disposal.
Overall, we will give them the benefit of the doubt here (fake reviews are often left by webmasters and affiliates rather than a hosting company), as our brief conversations with them on Live Chat found them quite helpful and indeed keen to help with two support guys ending up responding in our chat!
We have already discussed the different plans and the main features of their hosting above. Now we will turn to some of the most important ones
The following comparison table published on their site gives an insight into some of the technical features:
The highlights of these features have to be the following:
- MS Web Deploy – This is a great tool for Windows servers that allow you to package easily up and deploy web applications more easily.
- WebMatrix – This is a lightweight web development tool from Microsoft that is designed for all the top programming languages such as ASP.net, PHP, Node.js and, of course, HTML5.
- Node.js – This is becoming a very popular programming language that unfortunately is not supported on many shared servers. It allows you for instance to install sites such as Ghost.
- Remote IIS Management – The ability to remotely connect to your server makes managing your account much simpler.
- Better Security Suite – Anti-spam, Anti-virus, and DDoS Protection.
We are not tracking the uptime of any sites hosted by them ourselves, but our usual metric of checking social media and forums for complaints about downtime have returned none that is an excellent sign.
Despite them not explicitly reporting their data center partner on their website, they have given an address that is identical to ColoCrossing’s datacenter in Chicago. They are a very reputable datacenter, with a motto “Dedicated to Uptime”. By choosing a reliable data center and associated Enterprise grade hardware they have instant credibility and are highly likely to be able to achieve their 99.9% uptime guarantee.
We will shortly be testing our standard test website on one of their hosting plans, and will update this section with the results in due course.
This host offers excellent value, especially for a Windows server. Our only concern is that you may need to get the Advance or Business plan for the more busy sites due to the way they allocated memory. That being said, the Business plan does give a dedicated IP, and Free SSL along with much greater resource allocations, so while more expensive it still is reasonable value compared to other Business hosting plans.
- Specialist ASP.Net \ Windows Hosting Provider
- IIS Remote Management
- Full Trust Level
- Choice of the latest ASP.NET MVC including 5.0
- MSSQL 2012/2014 included as standard
- MS Web Deploy included
- WebMatrix included
- Choice of SSD Hosting if you need additional performance. Great for database driven applications.
- Located at a top Datacenter (Colocrossing)
- Only around 2 years old, with not overly transparent information on where they are based or owned by.
- Their starter plan does not have the best resource allocations, especially memory.
- Doesn’t offer PHP 5.5 or PHP 5.6 (limited to earlier versions).
Host4ASP.net Reviews – Final Thoughts
As a relatively new company, there are many things that make them very appealing. They seem to have a good knowledge of ASP.net and their plans seem to be very feature rich compared to their competitors. Couple that with SSD hosting in a very decent datacenter (Colocrossing) at a very fair pricing point there is very little reason not to consider them if you need ASP.net hosting. The only caveat is that we think the memory allocations are a little low so we would recommend either their Advance or Business Plan. Considering their Advance plans is only a dollar or so more, this is worthwhile.
More recently, the feedback from our users has not been very positive. Therefore, we must urge some caution before signing up with them.