ASP Hosting explained
Servers that can execute ASP Scripts
What is ASP hosting?ASP hosting is a kind of web hosting, that allows web pages written in the script language ASP (Active Server Pages) to be executed. Due to the script engine that is installed on the server, ASP language is "understood" by the web server and thus the orders and source codes can be interpreted. In this way, interactive contents can be created. A simple example: if a web page should output the current date and time, a scripting language is necessary - HTML does not have the ability to output dynamic content and would not be able to tell you what time it is.
ASP source code is not understood and executed by every server. Remember that servers executing Perl or PHP do not necesserily understand ASP. There are special requirements, so ASP code can be interpreted.
Wich platforms support ASP hosting?
ASP hosting is mostly realized by hosting on Windows servers with Microsoft's Internet Information Server installed. ASP.NET is a similar language and the successor of ASP. The language VBscript (VB means Visual Basic) is used in ASP code to write scripts for server-side applications. When a web page with ASP content is requested from the server, it will interpret and execute the ASP source codes first and then finally send the completely rendered page to the browser. In this way, dynamic content can be rendered into HTML content, e.g. content that was requested from a database.
Although ASP hosting is mostly performed on Windows hosting platforms, there is a software called Chili!Soft ASP by Sun Microsystems, that enables the use of ASP scripts on Linux and other server systems. We at the editorial have decent experience with programing in ASP (since more than 12 years) and do recommend to use Windows/Internet Information Server platforms for ASP hosting, instead of Linux/Chili!Soft ASP. In our opinion, the Windows-environment is the most stable and ideal for deploying ASP scripts.
The list of Top ASP hosting providers our editors compiled, all do use original Windows servers. On these servers, mostly PHP will work as a script language as well. Many even provide support for Python and other languages. The typical scripts for PHP are written between tags. Everything in between is interpreted as PHP by the server. ASP code is written between <% and %> - all inside these brackets is to be interpreted as ASP conde by the server. In this way, you can even write mixed pages, that contain PHP and ASP source codes. There are several additional features available for ASP hosting, that make this language more powerful. ASP.NET support with AJAX is something like that.
How to simulate ASP hosting on your desktop for testing and developing
If you develope ASP pages, you will need a test server, that can interpret ASP code, preferrably in-house. If you don't have a seperate computer for that (with Internet Information Server installed) you can install the free package "Personal Web Server" (PWS) on your Windows desktop computer. PWS is a simple version of IIS, that can however interpretASP code and execute it correctly. Depending on your Windows version, it may be that you need to download it from www.microsoft.com to install it.
Besides PHP, ASP is one of the most common scripting languages. It is very powerful and there are a lot of free software packages that can be used on ASP hosting servers: Blogs, galleries, content management, forums and much more.
Best ASP hosting Providers reviewed thoroughly
Our expert webmasters research the web every day to evaluate hosting providers and their packages - in this case ASP hosting plans. We have compiled a list of the best Windows hosting roviders on today's market for our readers.