If you’re a new or casual Webmaster and your site
is non-revenue generating with static HTML pages you
generated from boxed software, you probably are hosted
on a Linux server. This is the best solution overall
for you because Linux hosting costs less and you hardly
ever need to delve into the more advanced functions.
Server operating system becomes a non-issue. All you
need to do is to have a good host.
The moment you decide you want your site to have more
complex features like members only area, e-commerce,
live help and so on, then the server operating system
might be important. Interactive features rely on server
side programs that process your site visitor’s
input and returns something intelligent. There are many
programs out there but most common are ASP, PHP and
Windows Desktop And Server Operating System
Just because you run a windows desktop doesn’t
mean you must opt for Windows web hosting. This is true
vice versa. Whatever operating system you use on your
desktop has little to do with your choice of hosts.
As long as you understand your FTP or web publishing
software, your host can be any operating system.
What is important however is you know what you want
your site to do, what you want to offer on your web
site. This is what will ultimately lead you to the type
of hosting. As mentioned before, interactive sites usually
rely on ASP, PHP or Perl type languages. Each programming
language has it’s own strengths and weaknesses
and sometimes one can give you something the other can’t
although not very often. PHP and Perl are Linux based
and ASP Windows.
If you opt to use ASP to power your web site, then you’ll
want to go with Windows hosting. You might be told that
ASP is available on Linux hosting packages and that
is true. But bear in mind it might not work as well
on Linux as they would on Windows. This is also true
the other way around. While you can have PHP or Perl
on a Windows web host, they weren’t developed
for Windows and might not work as well. In fact, there
are often disclaimers about using these languages on
Some hosts have successfully implemented
these programming languages for the different platforms.
Be very clear in this case about the scripts you want
to use because server configurations for Windows can
be vastly different from Linux. This might cause the
script to fail or not function at it’s full potential.
It’s always best to go with the operating system
the language was built for.
You’ll most likely be told flatly Unix based servers
have better security. Mainly because these operating
systems have consistently been reliable while Windows
is a big target for exploitation. Hosting wise it boils
down to one thing. No matter how secure the operating
system is, your site cannot be secure if your host has
not configured it correctly and isn’t updated
often or swiftly.
In speed and performance they both perform well. Hardware
is a big factor here. Again, look to your host. Do they
upgrade well ahead or do they max out the resources
before doing so?
In conclusion, the key that decides if you should have
a Windows or Linux host is what you want your site to
do now and in the foreseeable future.
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