Two main operating systems are used by web servers: Linux and Windows. When searching for web hosting, you will find that some hosting services are Windows based while others are Linux based. Although Linux has often been considered a more stable and reliable option, there are benefits to using Windows based servers. And in most cases Windows is just as reliable and secure.
Windows based hosting should be used if you are going to be using Windows technologies. When using applications that were developed using a Windows based programming languages and technologies such as ASP, ASP.NET, COM, MS SQL server, MS Access, you will also want Window based hosting. There are some popular hosting features that are available on Windows based servers but not Unix. These features include: ASP, ASP.NET, MS SQL Server 2000, MS Access, Windows Media and Visual Basic Scripting.
If your website will use searchable online databases, Windows is most likely your best option. Windows based hosting works well with databases. This is especially important for businesses that will be utilizing large databases with their websites. The same is true if your website is going to have chat capabilities.
Windows based hosting can provide a great way to host your website. However, there can be some difficulties associated with Windows based hosting. By selecting a good web host, you can give yourself some piece of mind that your website will be hosted without difficulty. Find a hosting company with knowledgeable technical staff. It is excellent if the staff has MCSA or MCSE Certifications or ideally both.
Windows based hosting is usually considered to be easier to use. This is especially true for people who are not very experienced webmasters. If you have a good knowledge of Microsoft Applications, it is not usually difficult to learn how to use Microsoft Applications for your hosting needs. For people who are not very experienced webmasters or really just own a site they need hosted without having much knowledge the commands for Linux may be a bit difficult to understand for use.
You can benefit from Windows hosting. However, there are some aspects that may be looked upon as being a disadvantage to Windows based hosting. Typically, it will cost more than Linux hosting. The reason is that hosting providers can get most Linux programs for free but will need to pay for Windows technology. Therefore, you will have to pay more as a customer.
Just as some programs and applications work better with Windows, others are more compatible or used with Linux. This is something you will need to consider when searing for hosting. PHP and MySQL will work with Linux hosting, but Windows too support can run MySQL databases and PHP. You may also want to consider Linux hosting if you think you need CGI scripts or Java Servers pages. Those server technologies are completely compatible with Linux.
When deciding if you should use Linux or Windows hosting remember that Windows may not always be known as being as flexible or stable, but there are many other factors that affect your hosting aside from the platform used. Windows is very user friendly and for the most part is a reliable and has as much speed. It may simply come down to what applications you need for your website.