I still seriously think that the best Windows web hosting you can find is at your home. Now when internet service providers lock port 80 on a regular basis, this turns out to be a little expensive. However, if it comes to the utmost control and flexibility of the options, self-hosting is the best. I might even write a post sometime in the future about that. But... the best alternative to self-hosting turned out to be VPS hosting for me.
Bad quality. Sorry guys at 1and1, I tried my best and have to cancel it now. The major issues are - slowness, frequent crashes, inability to open any ports easily without going through the Bangalore customer service, extreme complexity in order to install anything. I mean.. come on, I have the same .NET code running on a dozen of various hosting solutions - from dedicated servers to basic Windows hosting. Nothing gave me so much trouble as the VPS hosting at 1and1. Once they set it up for you... there is nothing working on it. .NET Framework does not work, you have to initialize it yourself (aspnet_regiis), there is no SQL express, all ports are closed completely. Internet Explorer can't even get to Microsoft.com. Besides that, the price is way higher than competition. And the worst thing is their customer service, especially on weekends. You open ticket Friday afternoon, the server is down through the entire weekend, and they close the ticket automatically for you Monday while the server is still down.
Instead of getting VPS with 1and1, try their dedicated server. I am hosting a large traffic site with them for more than a year already and it appears to be extremely stable and consistently fast. Costs a tad more than VPS though.
Ok quality. I had to maintain a couple of VPS servers on vpsland and even ordered one for myself there. Not cheap (about the same as 1and1) , same as slow. The good thing the ports that you normally need are open (80, 81, 8080), and IE works. You will still get hard time to install SQL express on their servers, I guess they lock you out intentionally so you order a SQL package from them or something. The good thing the server is more stable that 1and1 and they use Parallels control panel where you can reboot your server. 1and1 does not use Parallels, they have their own buggy Java user interface.
Now this is a good one. Costs 3 times less than 1and1 ($26 vs $75) for the same specs, comes with working .NET framework and SQL express right out of the box. All ports you need are open, IE works out of the box. Everything is really fast, clean and neat. This is how I would set up the server if I did it. That's the place where I'm moving my old 1and1 VPS to.