SmarterASP.NET is a hosting provider with an exceptional offer of a 60-day free trial, instant activation and a free temporary URL (so you don’t even have to wait for the DNS to propagate). When you’re a beginner in the online world, being able to get started without spending a dime on hosting sounds like a dream come true.
But is this hosting as good as its offer for new customers? And is the trial plan worth trying out? Let’s find it all out in this SmarterASP.NET review.
What is SmarterASP.NET?
SmarterASP.NET is a hosting company which, as the name suggests, offers 4-tier Superior Shared ASP.NET hosting. ASP.NET is an open source application framework developed by Microsoft. But Windows hosting isn't the only service this provider offers.
There is a whole lineup of services offered by SmarterASP.NET:
- Windows Server 2012/2008 R2 (4 tiers)
- Semi-Dedicated ASP.NET Hosting – servers shared between max 5 to 10 customers (4 tiers)
- Linux Plan (4 tiers)
- Windows SSD + VPS (4 tiers)
- Reseller Plans (4 tiers)
- Domain registration - global and country-specific TLDs
Although you might think that company, offering such a generous free trial package must be a new player, trying to get the attraction, SmarterASP.NET is an experienced company that was established back in 1999.
Its goal is to offer maximum efficiency at full privacy and security for the user. To achieve that, this company maintains round-the-clock management and one of the most powerful physical data center security in the business.
And while SmarterASP.NET's offer looks pretty standard, what distinguishes it are the ASP.NET packages.
I, personally, believe that Linux plans offer more features, are more versatile, and much more popular (they are also more affordable), but keeping in mind that SmarterASP.NET is developed by Microsoft we just can't skip the Windows plans.
So, in this SmarterASP.NET review, I'll take a look at both Windows and Linux web hosting plans.
SmarterASP.NET Windows Pricing
We just can't skip Windows plans as they are flagmen of SmarterASP.NET. Here we have three unlimited plans starting with $2.95/mo and going up to $7.95/mo. But the best part is that you can try these services completely for free.
SmarterASP.NET has a 60-day trial. And although it is quite limited, it allows you to actually start using the services with no money invested. You don’t even need a credit card to sign up. How good is that?
Let's take a quick look at how the plans line up:
- 60 DAYS Trial - $0, 1 website, 1GB storage, 1 domain, 1 database, 10GB bandwidth.
- .NET Basic - $2.95/month, all of the above unlimited.
- .NET Advance - $4.95/month, all of the above unlimited.
- .NET Premium - $7.95/month, all of the above unlimited.
SmartASP.NET has no restrictions on disk space or bandwidth. Moreover, you can add as many domains as you want. But let's see all the essential features:
|60 Days Trial||.NET|
Again, three paid plans have the same unlimited basics and that means that we need to dive a little bit deeper. There are various characteristics that differ amongst these plans but the most obvious are in MSSQL & MySQL features:
As you can see, the difference between the number of MSSQL & MySQL server databases and disk space varies significantly.
And overall, you are provided with SSD servers in locations of the U.S. or Netherlands. And you also get the anti-DDoS and anti-malware protection included with all plans.
Naturally, there is no cPanel with Windows hosting, SmartASP.NET equips you with the in-house control panel.
And again, this hosting provider does not offer website builder or free assisted website transfer (this one costs $49.95). But you get one-click installations for WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, NopCommerce and other.
The free plan doesn't offer any email features but I guess that's understandable for a free plan. On the other hand, the Basic plan is cut down on some quite essential email features (like Mailing List, Auto Subscribe and UnSubscribe).
But I could not write a SmarterASP.NET review if I didn’t point out the usual pricing catch. There's the same catch as seen in many other web hosting providers where the advertised price is only available with long-termed billing cycle.
Let's see how the SmarterASP.NET Windows offer presents for each term:
|Duration||Basic .NET||Advance .NET||Premium .NET|
|3 months||$13.5 ($4.5/mo)||$19.5 ($6.5/mo)||$28.5 ($9.5/mo)|
|6 months||$23.7 ($3.95/mo)||$35.7 ($5.95/mo)||$53.7 ($8.95/mo)|
|12 months||$35.4 ($2.95/mo)||$59.4 ($4.95/mo)||$95.4 ($7.95/mo)|
|24 months||$63.72 ($2.65/mo)||$106.92 ($4.45/mo)||$171.72 ($7.15/mo)|
|36 months||$90.27 ($2.5/mo)||$151.47 ($4.2/mo)||$243.27 ($6.76/mo)|
So for example, depending on the period, the Premium plan will cost you from $6.76/mo (36-months billing cycle) to $9.50/mo (3-months billing cycle). And as all prices are paid upfront, if you choose the 3-years-long plan, that’ll be $243.27, making a 15% discount.
All in all, SmarterASP.NET Windows hosting plans are really powerful and the pricing system allows you to get a good deal with a longer term hosting. And even if you end up disliking it, you can opt for a 60-day money back guarantee!
SmarterASP.NET Linux Pricing
Here we have offers starting for $2/mo and $4/mo. And of course, you can choose the 60 days Free Trial as well.
So let’s see what are the main differences between the plans:
- 60 Days Trial - $0, 1 website, 1GB storage, 1 domain, 1 database.
- Linux PRO - $2/month, all of the above unlimited.
- Linux TURBO - $4/month, all of the above unlimited.
If both Pro and Turbo offered the same unlimited basics, what’s the main difference?
The Turbo plan offers the so-called Turbo Server which can provide you with up to 20 times faster page loads, SSH access and more mailing features.
Of course, the pricing pattern is the same as in Windows packages. The advertised price for these plans was, as mentioned above, $2 and $4 per month respectively.
Depending on the period, the Pro plan will cost you $2 - $3 a month, and the Turbo plan $4 - $5 per month. All prices are paid upfront, so if you choose the 3-years-long plan, that’ll be $72 and $144 respectively:
You get to choose from five possible subscription periods - 3,6,12,24, and 36 months. To get the cheapest monthly cost, you have to pick the longest term.
This is how the offer presents for each duration:
|Duration||Linux Pro||Linux Turbo|
|3 months||$9 ($3/mo)||$15 ($5/mo)|
|6 months||$18 ($3/mo)||$30 ($5/mo)|
|12 months||$36 ($3/mo)||$60 ($5/mo)|
|24 months||$60 ($2.5/mo)||$108 ($4.5/mo)|
|36 months||$72 ($2/mo)||$144 ($4/mo)|
And let's not forget the free trial - it’s for the entirety of 60 days. The best about it is that it can be used separately from the 60 days money back guarantee. If you were to refund, this would give you four months of free hosting!
On the other hand, the paid plans are actually affordable with great features. Here's a table with the basic characteristics of those SmarterASP.NET Linux based plans:
|60 Days Trial||Linux Pro||Linux Turbo|
As said earlier, the differences between Pro and Turbo plans are not that big – unless you need SSH access or want all the pro mailing capabilities. Interestingly for the trial plan, it doesn’t even allow you to set up an email!
But all the plans have SSD servers with the locations in the U.S. or Netherlands. And you get the anti-DDoS and anti-malware protection included. As for the hosting administration, there is the cPanel.
However, SmarterASP.NET doesn't offer a website builder. And to get the assisted website transfer it will cost you $49.95.
But overall, with paid plans, you get an unmetered service along with full website security for a very reasonable price.
Interestingly, all the benefits that I picked for my SmarterASP.NET review are related to the features that are quite uncommon for other budget web hosts.
Affordable ASP.NET hosting
This is a huge benefit for someone who is looking for an affordable ASP.NET shared hosting package. They support the latest ASP.NET versions of 4.6 and 4.5, as well as MVC 5 and 4.0 hosting. All that for a very affordable price of $2.95/month ($35.4 upfront for 12 months) for the basic plan. A highly competitive offer.
Great trial & money back
To attract new customers, some web hosting companies offer free trials (usually 7, 14 or 30-days long). Other companies don’t offer them at all and instead offer a 30-day or 60-day money back guarantee. The latter makes it harder for the user to change their mind as they have to pay upfront.
Compared to all that, the offer of a 60-day free trial (no cc required) is a steal. And yet they still give their clients a 60-day money back guarantee which starts only after they finished the trial!
Built-in Cloudflare integration
If your website is hosted in one location but is accessed by people from all around the world, those who live further from your data center will suffer. Luckily for all those who operate internationally, SmarterASP.NET offers a Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network) integration out of the box. Thanks to that, your website can load up to 4 times faster! And you don’t even need to be a pro to set it up.
Naturally, there are some negatives – but SmarterASP.NET review is not unique in it, as every web hosting company has some weaker spots.
Low performance – a bit behind industry leaders
Unfortunately, the performance lacks compared to some of the more popular web hosting options – such as Hostinger. SmarterASP.NET was graded C, which is below the average:
But, this should not be surprising – in the end, it’s one of the more affordable web hosts. They are offering 99.9% uptime guarantee – according to our Uptime Calculator, but it may be not enough to keep your website online as much as you want. Other providers can guarantee 99.99% or even 100% uptime which is quite a significant difference keeping in mind a long time period.
Just two server locations
In the era of budget $1 or $2 web hosts that offer data centers in multiple locations all around the world, being present just in Europe and the US (Amsterdam & downtown LA) is far from enough. Especially considering the rapid growth of online businesses in the Asian markets. Hopefully, their CDN can speed up your site enough to offset that.
Complicated choice – especially for beginners
Although their advertising is pretty clear right from the moment you enter the site, once you try to sign up, it’s not that easy to pick the right server – Linux or ASP.NET. In the end, the majority of beginners will look for the most affordable option to host a WordPress site or two. Scanning them could lead to losing customers.
On the other hand, I can’t forget that the target audience of this web host is different than that of a typical budget web host. That’s why I don’t think in this case it’s that a big drawback.
SmarterASP.Net Review Summary
To sum it up, I believe that SmarterASP.NET offer is excellent for anyone who wants to start off. Without spending a dime on hosting, you can have a fully functional website.
All that with cPanel and 1-click WordPress installation. Naturally, as your business starts growing, you might look after something better tailored to your needs. But for a newcomer? A perfect playground I can sincerely recommend.
- 60 day trial
- 60 days money back guarantee
- Built-in CDN
- Affordable ASP.NET hosting
- Subpar performance
- Just two server locations
- Overwhelming hosting offer for a beginner