Hosting UNIX or Windows?

This question, the answer to which is obvious to an experienced webmaster , can stump the beginner.

Below is a comparison of the two most popular platforms – UNIX and Windows , supported by the overwhelming majority of providers. Also, an attempt was made to dispel some misconceptions regarding these platforms.

One of the biggest misconceptions among newbies is that you should place your site on the platform that you used when developing, i.e. if you plan to host the project on a UNIX server, then you need to develop it on a UNIX machine. It’s not like that at all. The operating system with which you work on your computer when creating a site can be any.

Ease of use hosting platform

In recent years, providers have made every effort to make it easier for clients to administer websites under both UNIX and Windows. Today there is no difference between these platforms in relation to ease and ease of use. If you are an experienced user and prefer to use a shell , choose UNIX . However, if you are a beginner, you will find user-friendly control panels with a web interface on both platforms .

Hosting Reliability

Experts agree that UNIX is more reliable. However, my personal experience of 3-year operation of IIS 3.0 under Windows NT 4.0, shows that the reliability of the Windows platform can be significantly closer to UNIX. To a much greater extent, the professional level of service personnel affects reliability. This means that you can make a decision about choosing a platform, given first the other differences in the features of the platforms.

Hosting speed

There is not any significant difference between the two platforms regarding performance in solving problems of hosting .

Hosting Features

This is the factor by which the two platforms differ the most. But there are not many tasks implemented on one platform, and which can not be implemented on another. The main difference in how this result is achieved. For example, if your site uses a database , you can use either a PHP /  MySQL bundle for UNIX or ASP/ MS SQL for Windows. There is a trend towards developing solutions that will be supported on both platforms. For example, Microsoft FrontPage is supported on both UNIX and Windows.

Hosting cost

Here, UNIX is still advantageous due to the fact that, firstly, most software products under UNIX are distributed under free licenses, and secondly, it is much easier for UNIX to achieve the same level of reliability and efficiency than for Windows.

If you definitely do not plan to use technologies and solutions supported only by the Windows platform (see below), then it most likely makes sense to choose a UNIX platform.