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SmarterASP.NET has been around since 1999, providing ASP.NET as well as Linux-based hosting to small as well as medium-sized businesses.
Due to the fact that it has been on the market for quite a while now, it gives you access to the features you will find everywhere else to run a website; however, it specializes in ASP.net.
There is no website builder available, though, they do have their own in-house control panel. This means that the company behind this hosting service built its own solution to meet the exact needs of its customers, instead of relying on a pre-made solution.
The product itself is tailored towards developers, and it shows as this is not a very user-friendly experience. It does, however, keep things simple with simplistic UI/UX elements. Advanced users will have a blast using it, that’s for sure.
It promises a 99% uptime guarantee, and for the most part, throughout my testing, it lived up to this goal. You also have SAN storage technology, which essentially allows your data to be stored in high-performance Dell Equalogic Sans, giving you the performance and reliability you need.
With those things out of the way, let us jump into SmarterASP.net and actually see what we are dealing with.
Getting Started with SmarterASP.net
If you’re planning on making an account for SmarterASP.net and are still unsure that this is the right choice for your specific needs, well, I’ve got excellent news. There’s a 30-day free trial, which extends to 60 days if you share it on social media. They’ve obviously done this for exposure, but 30 more days just for clicking a share button? Sign me up!
No, literally, I signed up for the free trial for the purposes of this guide, as it literally gives you access to almost everything.
Now, the first time you visit the website, you’ll be greeted by the pricing plans.
What I really love here is the fact that these are the default prices, as in, whenever you renew, this is the price you’ll always need to pay.
I’ll get more in-depth into the pricing plans as we go along, but for the time being, I just wanted to say that I’m impressed with the transparency. I have always despised that $0.99 per month offer, but that’s only the case if you commit for three years, and if you pick a single month just to test it out, that offer is gone forever—points plus for this SmarterASP.net.
Anyway, I’ll click on “buy now” in the free trial since, hey, it’s free, so let’s see how it goes.
On the hosting plan section, I selected the 60-day free trial. Technically it’s a 30-day trial until you share, and I have to point that out, but hey, it’s free, so I cannot really complain.
You can even add coupon codes if you’re actually buying a package, so there’s that too.
You’ll also need to enter your login name, email, confirm email, password, confirm password, and agree to the terms and conditions of use. You’ll even have the ability to add an affiliate ID if someone has referred you. Click on “Signup Now”.
You’ll then be sent an email for verification. You can also go through the SMS verification route.
Here, you’ll need to click on the link to activate your account, and you should be good to go.
Now, once you activate your account, you’ll be prompted to go to the “hostings” tab that looks like this.
This is where you are essentially creating your account.
On other hosts, you might need to log into your control panel; however, each hosting account comes with a Hosting Account ID. You can give out this Hosting Account ID to staff members so they can ONLY access your hosting control panel, not your Account Center.
Finally, click on “Submit”.
Once you are done, it should end up looking something like this.
Click on the control panel here to begin your hosting adventure.
You’ll now see this menu.
Here you can add a new site or add subdomains.
On your pre-added websites, such as site1 in my example, you can add an SSL certificate, add a domain name, show WebDeploy Info and access the File manager.
If you click on the little three dots, you’ll get access to a lot more interesting features.
This allows you to change the site and site’s root folder names.
This allows you to change the root directory of your website.
This allows you to view your ASP.NET Version on each website.
Here you can change your website’s PHP Version.
You can create a custom error page here.
This helps improve transfer speed and bandwidth utilization and can be turned on or off.
As the name implies, here, you can turn the website on or off.
Once you click on delete website, you’ll be forwarded to another screen, where you can remove everything or just all corresponding email accounts and DNS records.
The domain manager lets you create new domains in a simple and intuitive way.
Now, visitor stats essentially tells you how many people have viewed your website, and it gets updated regularly; think along the lines of analytics. This feature is unfortunately only available with a paid hosting plan.
This lets you set up FTP users; it’s quite simple and intuitive.
Click on “Add FTP User” and you will be redirected to a screen where you can create a username, a password, and select a folder.
This is an extensible client-server tool for syncing content as well as configurations to IIS. Developers will end up using this to publish a compiled web application.
SMTP Sample Code
This is a function that will copy our ASP.NET/PHP SMTP testing script into your account. You can then simply run it to test it. You can also review the source code.
You can select between ASP.NET C#, ASP.NET VB, ASP, and PHP and click on submit.
This lets you IP block people in one of the simplest ways I’ve seen.
IIS Log Manager
Here you can review and download the IIS log.
Create .Net App
This lets you create a .Net App, as the name itself implies, where you can select a folder to create it in and click on “Create” to begin the process.
Create Virtual Dir
This is a feature that lets you create virtual directories.
Here you can set certain pages to redirect to certain other pages by just selecting them.
You can even enable 1-Click force HTTPS, which is a unique feature.
This function allows you to enable or disable default document behavior for your Web site or application.
Here you can create custom errors, as the name might imply.
Here you can create new or overwrite custom errors.
Here you can modify the script engine, as well as the script mapping.
Remote IIS Manager
Here you can modify the Remote ISS Manager and Fix ACL with a single click.
This is a free tool that helps protect you from common attacks as well as exploits, and this is where it can be turned on or off.
Now, you also have add-ons that you can add and purchase, all of which have their own specific functions as well as billing terms.
The Affiliate Program
What I genuinely found exciting about this hosting plan because you also get an affiliate plan.
You get $5 for each trial customer and 60% for new paid customers, and yes, for every paid customer you refer, you get 60% of what they charge.
On databases, you can select between MSSQL, MySQL, SQL Reporting, or Advance Custom Backup.
In the database manager menu, you can add a database, to do this, simply click on “Add Database”.
Here you can select the database type between MSSQL 2008, MSSQL 2012, MSSQL 2014, MSSQL 2016, MSSQL 2017, and MSSQL 2019.
You need to set a name, as well as a password, and select the DB Disk Quota. Finally, click on Submit.
And that’s all there is to create a database; it’s now active and can support up to 1000MB.
Here you can easily back it up or restore it.
You can shrink the database, Webconnect, Change the password, Modify the Quota, Refresh Disk Usage, access Database User Manager, and Delete on the advanced tab.
This lets you set up both personal and corporate emails.
This lets you manage the files through the file permission tab.
You can switch between read-only as well as read/write. Click on Update once you are done.
You can select between the most popular, Free ASP.NET Applications, and Free PHP Applications on apps.
The best part about this is the fact that you can install them with a single click.
Let’s install WordPress as an example.
After clicking on install, click on next.
Here you need to select a destination site and create a new database.
Next, choose a name and a password.
You’ll need to ensure that the folder is Empty before the installation begins; you can click on Confirm and Install to start the process.
Then it only takes a few seconds for it to complete.
You’ll see this at the bottom, make sure you save it in a safe place.
Here’s how the website will end up looking.
You can also log in through wp-login. Here you’ll have access to WordPress.
Here you can enable Cloudflare’s CDN Service for Free.
Here, you can manage your SSL certificate, buy a new one, or import an existing one with ease.
Now you have two more options, the Advanced Tab and the WordPress ProDesk Tab.
Let’s get the WordPress ProDesk tab out of the way first; this section is designed to optimize your WordPress site by scanning your existing site and enhancing it.
Click on “Scan for WP Sites”
Here you can enable or disable protection, firewall, caching, auto-update and CDN.
As for the Advanced tab, I saved the best for last.
Here you can access the pool manager, schedule tasks, manage the outgoing port, manage the control panel user(s), Webconfig Encrypt, and Work Queue.
Here you can restart the pool, stop the pool, start the pool, change the ASP.NET version, and view the pool log.
You can schedule tasks here; however, this is only a feature when you buy a plan.
Control Panel User(s)
Here you can create additional users to log in to this hosting account’s control panel, which can be convenient.
As the names imply, you can link to generate an RSA key here, confirm the key container, and upload the RSA File.
Here you can review your pending work queue.
I mentioned that we’d go back to pricing, so let’s see what we get with each plan.
Now, you have ASP.NET Plans.
Then you have Semi-Dedicated Plans
Followed by VPS Plans
Cloud Server Plans
Finally, Reseller Plans
All of this is priced competitively, so you should know exactly what you need before purchasing a plan.
Speed and Performance
Now, with that competitive pricing, you might as-well expect the performance to live up to this. While everyone can have a slightly different experience, in my case, everything went smoothly and with a reliable speed. With connection speeds as quick as 13 milliseconds, and the slowest speeds going up to 600 milliseconds, I can safely say that I was pleasantly surprised at the speed.
The data transfer is also quick, so you know they have fast storage units in there as well.
Support Experience at SmarterASP.Net
When it comes to the customer support team, they can be contacted in multiple ways.
You can report abuse at firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, which is quite unique.
Then you have the Helpdesk.
Here you can review your tickets, create a new ticket, and view closed tickets.
Simply write your question or error message, and click on submit.
You also have access to the Knowledge Base, which is convenient.
Then you have Live Chat Support that’s online all the time.
I’ll try to close my account to see how they’ll react and how long it will take them to respond.
They responded quickly and told me the information I needed to know.
When it comes to cancellations, you need to follow a few simple steps. Log into your control panel, click on the help desk, and select create a support ticket. Then you need to enter a subject, I’d enter “cancel account and request refunds” here. Next, you need to fill out the online form with the reason for your cancellation and submit it. Within two to three days you should receive an email confirmation about your cancellation and refund.
Keep in mind that you might not be fully refunded, depending on what exactly you did throughout the time period, but still, you do get many of your funds back. This is mostly due to the fact that you can enable a lot of third-party services which might not include the same policies, it's up to you. This is why I’d recommend starting with the 60-day trial first.
Pros and Cons of SmarterASP.Net
- High Performance
- Good Customer Support
- 60 Day Free Trial Available
- High Level of Security
- Not Beginner Friendly
- Certain Features Unavailable for Testing in Free Trial
I would honestly not recommend this to just about anyone. This is a specialized company that offers specialized services for ASP.net users.
This means that if you do not use the aforementioned technology, there is no other reason for you to pick this hosting solution, as its competition offers a lot more for your everyday hosting needs. That being said, if you do indeed rely on ASP.net, there is no better hosting provider. It has competitive pricing, it’s heaven for developers and solid performance.