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This article has information on Active Server Pages or ASP web hosting. Keep reading to learn about ASP web hosting history, ASP compatibility, compare versions of ASP, see how ASP compares, and tips on how to choose an ASP web hosting company.

Active Server Pages, or ASP as it is more commonly called, is the name for Microsoft’s first venture into server-side script engines to generate web pages dynamically. By integrating the execution of web applications into the web server, as opposed to the external execution or, say, CGI programs or scripts, ASP introduced a new level of efficiency when it was invented. Web pages made with ASP have a .asp file extension.

The current counterparts to ASP for Unix and Linux servers include JavaServer Pages and PHP. ColdFusion runs on all of them, and some third-party ASP products, like iASP, also run on non-Windows servers, but are much less popular. Other versions include Released in 2002, ASP.NET, which is based on the .NET Framework, is also from Microsoft. For the most part, but not entirely, ASP.NET pages are programmed and compiled rather than scripted, and as a result, they run faster. Web pages built with ASP.NET are called “web forms” and have a .aspx extension.

ASP.NET AJAX, released in January 2007, is an extension of ASP.NET, which implements Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax). It is designed for building web applications that are interactive and works primarily in an ASP.NET 2.0 environment. With these further developments, ASP is sometimes referred to as “Classic ASP.”

Choosing an ASP Web Host

First, settling on ASP means you need to find a Windows Web Hosting company – or one that offers Windows servers as an option – because ASP is Windows only. Furthermore, ASP.NET hosting is more widely available than ASP.NET AJAX hosting, and ASP web hosting is more widely available than ASP.NET hosting.

If you look, for example, for free ASP web hosting, you may find notices like “Standard ASP scripts” (which suggests that not every type of script will work), serious space restrictions, forced ads, no FTP ability, no ability to use your own domain name, and/or requirements to register with advertisers or post to a forum. In addition, many free ASP web hosting sites have very low ratings. With all these restrictions, you are strongly urged to consider a paid website if you want to use ASP web hosting.

As always, when you find a site with Windows servers and the ASP offerings you require, check the versions of all pertinent components to ensure that everything will work properly.

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