As described in the previous two posts, we are trying to pick a few outstanding hosting services that are fully compatible with MonoX, have decent user support and are sensibly priced. We learned that it is possible to find a good service for as little as $5 per month, with support for multiple sites and unlimited number of databases. However, shared hosting has its limitations: you'll never know when your virtual neighbour with whom you share the same box will issue a resource-intensive database query. Maybe the application running next to yours is really poorly written and tends to bring CPU utilization to 100%? Situations like these happen very often in all shared hosting scenarios. On the other hand, you cannot afford spending hundreds of dollars per month on dedicated servers or collocation, but need a higher level service. This is where Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting steps in.
From Wikipedia: "VPS is a marketing term used by Internet hosting services to refer to a virtual machine for use exclusively by an individual customer of the service. The term is used to emphasize that the virtual machine, although running in software on the same physical computer as other customers' virtual machines, is functionally equivalent to a separate physical computer, is dedicated to the individual customer's needs, has the privacy of a separate physical computer".
Our adventure with versious hosting companies continued with purchasing a few Windows-based VPS services. The experience was much better than with low-end shared hosting providers. Whichever hosting control panel you use, nothing can compare with the good old Remote Desktop connection. You can control all aspects of your virtual server just like it is a real dedicated box. The only difference is in the system performance, but VPS hosting is way ahead of any shared hosting provider in this regard. We would suggest to go with Hyper-V technology since it is true virtualization with higher level of isolation than other approaches like Virtuozzo.
Again, we have a clear winner in the VPS ASP.NET hosting category: SoftSys
. We picked them as a hosting review candidate after reading numerous reviews and forum posts, along with some other, bigger and well established players in the industry.
It was a positive experience right from the beginning: fast and simple ordering process and unbelievably low prices. Their Bronze VPS package comes with 1 Gb of guaranteed dedicated RAM, 1 virtual CPU, and a bundle of application licences for only $30. This is what we tested, and although this amount of RAM is a bit on a tight side for a Windows server with SQL Server Express and IIS on it, it worked without major glitches. Of course, it would be much better to use a stronger package or to move DB server to another VPS, but still - it works as is. Additionally, the server image came with everything we needed, including SQL Server. Installing MonoX was a breeze, since we could work with the server just as it was at our fingertips.
Again, the final word on SoftSys will be posted after we finish the load testing of MonoX at their VPS, but this may very well be the best experience so far. With their price tags set so low, they offer the best price/performance ratio for advanced ASP.NET application hosting.