At last you are completely ready to publish a website and you are looking for an appropriate hosting provider among billiards of accessible services and tariff schedules. Thus you should notice that the majority of hosting providers use Linux or Unix operating systems on the web servers. Microsoft Windows operating system is offered less often as a choice. So, what is the difference?
The majority of people are familiar with Microsoft Windows as it is mostly used for home editions, at work and at school. It is very simple in usage for beginners and does not demand any knowledge of the console commands. In Windows Home and advanced Server variations you should just open the necessary folder simply specifying with the cursor and clicking with the mouse. Unix and Linux are systems with an open initial code (“open-source” code). This means that they are free, and source codes are properly documented and easily extended. There are no essential differences Between Unix and Linux. Unix is much older and is not compatible with personal computers x86.
On the contrary, Linux can work on high-power servers and on usual x86 computers. Linux is delivered in the big diversity of stuff though the majority of the hosting-companies choose Red Hat Linux or Mandrake Linux which have proved their rights to be true “workhorses” and are capable to maintain hundreds sites and millions hits a day. Unix produced a lot of popular now modifications known as FreeBSD and OpenBSD, they are widely accessible. While simplicity in usage is very important for a home or working computer, its absence as a whole does not make the big problem for a web server. Eventually, you do most part of the design on your working computer.
Certainly, if you do not use any exotic programming systems, operation modules, you will not notice any difference between Windows and Unix servers. Both Linux/Unix and Windows server can support with ease highly-visited sites and various additions like chat-rooms, email and web statistics. The most essential distinction is in the price and software compatibility. As it is necessary to get and update the Windows licence regularly, Windows-hosting packages are usually more expensive than Unix packages. Also tariff schedules on the Unix basis often give free email, databases (MySQL), statistics, scripts. Whereas Windows tariff schedules work with Microsoft software (for example, MS SQL) which is available for money for the hosting-provider too. Both Linux and Windows can fulfill the programs on popular of web programming languages such as php, perl, or java.
If your site uses active server pages then it will host on Windows-server more reliably. Certainly, it can work on an Unix-server too, but there can be small malfunctions which initially are not obvious. Again, if you use Microsoft SQL databases, these bases will be supported as a part of Windows-packages of hosting. In a counterbalance to it, Linux or Unix packages often include MySQL in the structure of database. This means that your bases will need to be converted into this format for normal operation. If at present you use any of Microsoft programming platforms (especially active server pages) or its indirect products (MS SQL 2000), you should stop the choice on Windows hosting-package.
For the average web designer there will be no big difference between Linux/Unix or Windows web hosting. Nevertheless, before you order a web hosting, be convinced that all components of your site — the design, programming, databases and all the rest — will work on this package. If have some doubts, ask advice from the hosting company department of sales or technical support before making a purchase.