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Yes, it's true that Linux hosting has always been more readily accessible than Windows. What I've noticed though, during this search and over the past years in response to requests from clients, is that it's (rapidly) getting harder and harder to find cost-effective Windows hosting plans. So much so, that the great majority of UK hosts don't even bother to state that their solution is Linux-based - it's now a safe assumption. This certainly wasn't the case 10 years ago. Hosting companies are pulling out of Windows hosting at a rate of knots. That I've come across 2 in 2 days who still advertise Windows hosting but have actually stopped offering it (and not yet updated their own websites) seems to be a symptom of that.
I guess you're right that a lot of users are moving their sites into the Azure cloud. I have investigated that a couple of times, but found the pricing model to be incredibly complex, to the point of being unfathomable. Combine that with separate / additional costs for d/b hosting and a very different model for managing hosting services etc, moving hosting to the cloud (at least to Azure) is definitely non-trivial.
Self-hosting is all very well, perhaps for development / demo sites, but for production sites - even low volume ones - raises issues about network speeds, reliability, power supply resilience etc; and that's without the time involved in managing the server + op.system and configuring routers, security etc (and a self-hosted internet-accessible site must be a prime target for hackers, who could potentially wreak havoc on my home network).
Your observation that if there were profit in ASP.Net hosting then more companies would be doing it, is well made!
A lot of the subdomains are demo sites of past projects and I need to just copy them and forget about them, definitely don't want to be swapping databases or frameworks! Finding a non MS d/b is easy, most hosts support MySql (as that's used by default by Wordpress). Quite a few are switching to MariaDB I've noticed. (Fast2Host did that a few months ago, with no warning, and crashed all my MySql sites - although very close, MySql and MariaDB are NOT the same thing! (F2H tried to tell me that MariaDB was "the new name" for MySql; it's stupidity like that that's driving me away from them together with the unreliability).
Yeah, MariaDB was forked from MySql by former MySql developers just after the acquisition by Oracle. It has drifted from MySql a bit during the years of development since, so if you are developing to Oracle MySql, you would have to do some reconfiguration for it to work properly with MariaDB.
I feel your pain and have been through a few hosting providers but a few years ago I found HostingUk.Net. They have been excellent. I use their Developer Hosting Silver, very reasonably priced and quite flexible. I had one client where their SQL Express database needed to exceed the normal limit and they allowed it with no extra charges. Give them a lookup, I have been very happy with them. The only negative I have is that periodically my sites will go for a few minutes. This is normally down to upgrades. On a couple of occasions it's been down to someone else's processes running amok but support have always been quick to resolve it.
If around 25 euro per month is a good price for you then shoot me a message.
For that you will get a dedicated virtual machine with server 2012R2, IIS8.5, SQL2017 Express (db's up to 10Gb) direct access through Remote Desktop etc.
Nightly a single snapshots (more snapshots will cost more).
Tempting but at this stage in my career (winding down!) don't really want to take on a dedicated virtual box. It's around double what I'm paying now / can pay for a replacement shared host, so can't really justify it. Sounds a good price though, so thanks for that.
I did once get Azure to run one of my ASP.Net sites (linked to an existing MySql d/b hosted elsewhere), but it took a day to work through the maze of config screens. I found it unbelievably complex, though it was probably just not what I'm used to. Never did work out even a rough guestimate of costs though. Plus adding things like MySql were complex / costly (though MS Sql Server, or functional equivalent, seemed simple enough - though I never really understood exactly WHAT database it was).
At the moment it doesn't seem possible to just migrate from shared hosting to Azure without a vast amount of work, and for these "demo" sites that can't be justified; even ongoing, the learning curve with Azure seems, from where I'm standing, almost insurmountable. That there are hundreds of "learn azure" offerings suggests it's not just me. When I switched shared hosts (and came across Plesk for the first time) it took about 15 minutes to feel comfortable with doing all my site's admin in Plesk. Azure is a whole new paradigm and environment, with tentacles reaching down into VisualStudio. I appreciate it might be a cheaper option, especially as I have lots of low-use, low data sites - but there's no way I can find out how much it might cost.
I am using GoDaddy for my Windows Hosting. I agree their SSL cost is high, but it is possible to use Let's Encrypt SSL certs on their sites. There are YouTube videos that show how.
I have a number of domains registered with GoDaddy, and but haven't registered one recently. They used to offer free emails with domains that lasted forever, but they started offering Outlook 365 and may be trying to wean their clients off the GoDaddy email services.
In the past I've used ASP Host Portal. They offer a lot from Windows and Linux hosting, to shared/dedicated servers and shared/dedicated cloud servers all in different tiers, and also email. They have data centers all over the world including London. It was very affordable. They even have an option where they will manage the dedicated server for you (updates, protection, etc.) The reason why I switched was because on the shared host, someone kept hitting the CPU limit and they said there was nothing they could do about it. It would cause my site to go down for hours at a time. It was happening more frequently so instead of switching to a dedicated server I moved to Azure since I thought it would be good to learn for future employment opportunities.
I second the vote for looking at Azure. For you sub-site, you can use the basic (free or shared) plan if your project's fit the requirements. They don't support custome certificates, however, you can use a free cloudflare account to apply HTTPS (using the Cloudflare cert from CloudFlare to Azure)
They have also added a new pricing model for SQL that is based on usage. To see pricing, go to the Azure Pricing Calculator ()[^], select SQL, for Computer Tier select "ServerLess". The pricing is much more reasonable.
Back to the websites, the Free App Service plan is free (but limited in options), shared starts around $10 per month, and basic is 54.75 per month (B1: 1 Core, 1.75 GB Ram, 10GB Storage).
I don't use MySql, but a quick look at the SAAS (Software as a Service) for MySql shows around $50 per month. It may very likely be cheaper to setup a Linux VM and install MySql, depending on your requirements.
I looked at the pricing using the East US region, but you might want something closer. They have UK South, and North Europe regions for something closer to you, but it may affect pricing.
If you purchase Visual Studio (yearly subscription), you can use the Azure Subscription that gives you 50$ credit per month which allows you to set things up and not have to pay anything as long as you don't exceed the credit. Another option is to get a Test/Dev Subscription which has reduced pricing.
I've found Azure to be very easy to deal with and once you get comfortable with how to manage thing you'll find that it is generally trouble free.
AWS "Lightsail" product has been working well for me.
Windows Server VM with 2 Gig RAM allowance has a predictable USD 20 per month base price.
I have also had good value from "databasemart" in the US who are windows hosting specialists.
I don't know if they are a "windows" host, but have you looked at Siteground? I know they are based out of the UK, but I think their data center is out of Spain. I use them and I really like them, but I am not as advanced a user as you are.