ASP.net is a framework for creating interactive and dynamic websites and is created and maintained by Microsoft. It has been around since 2002, and is widely used on Windows based servers. ASP stands for Active Server Page, hence the dynamic nature of the language when used for web pages. Essentially, ASP.net code will be embedded in HTML that is processed by the server before being passed over to the client for viewing. Other interactive objects on web pages can include Java applets and ActiveX applets. The great thing about ASP.net is that any .NET language can be used it code it, such as Visual Basic or C#. It can also be linked to databases to offer changing content on website. There are thousands of website that use this technology, and many belong to high profile companies. The XBox Live website, MSNBC website, and Stack Overflow website, all use ASP.net as the programming language that runs the site.
ASP.net web pages will not work on every server. First and foremost, it is necessary to have a Windows server with Internet Information Services (IIS) and the .NET framework installed in order to display the pages to clients. The scripts may also require databases in the form of SQL or Access in order to display the dynamic content. Linux servers will not work, and special configurations will be necessary in order to able to get the website to work. This may also require extra monetary investment, due to the Microsoft license that is required for Windows servers. This will most likely prohibit all but the most dedicated and knowledegable webmasters from using ASP.net hosting.
Creating an ASP.net site requires a bit of knowledge in design and programming, due to the required language and editors needed. Most developers will use Microsoft Visual Studio which includes a lot of tools such as drag and drop controls, debugging, code editing, and more. This is not for the faint of heart or non-technical user due to the technical background needed, and the knowledge of higher level programming languages needed to create a website. For the most part, the websites are object oriented, and if that means nothing to you, then you are not ready to create websites with ASP.net.
Finding a service provider for ASP.net will be one of the most important decisions made when creating a website. It is important to use a well-known and reputable company so that the customer is not cheated out of his or her money and possibly have personal and financial information stolen. It may be worth it to get into pre-sales contact with the hosting company to verify all the necessary components and frameworks are installed in order to host an ASP.net server. Another decision that needs to be made is whether the website will be hosted on a Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, or Dedicated Hosting service, but for most, Shared Hosting will be sufficient and relatively cheap. Overall, it should cost around $100 a month to host an ASP.net server.