Should I Host on a Linux Or Windows Hosting Provider?
With hundreds of companies competing for your hosting business, it's important that you make an informed decision when you chose your web hosting provider. Hosting your site with the wrong company can cost you hundreds of wasted man hours that can be avoided by spending an hour or two evaluating your options.
The first, and most important, factor to consider when choosing a web hosting provider is what operating system your web application needs to run on.
What Type of Pages Will Your Web Site Contain?
If you plan on hosting standard HTML pages on your website and nothing else, the operating system of your web hosting provider won't really matter. An HTML Page can be served from both a Windows hosting Provider and a Linux hosting provider.
However, if you plan on having a web developer work on your website to create dynamic, database driven web pages, you need to do some research. Will your website be using special back end software languages?
If you need to utilize languages such as PHP, Perl or CGI you will most likely need a Linux hosting provider. However, if you will be using ASP, ASP.NET, or other Microsoft based languages, you will need to find a Windows hosting provider. These Microsoft technologies WILL NOT RUN on a Linux operating system.
What Type of Database Will Your Web Site Use?
If you plan on utilizing a database with your website, what database will you use? Microsoft Access is an easy to use, relatively inexpensive database that can be used in conjunction with websites. However, Microsoft Access can only be served from a Windows hosting provider. A Company that only provides Linux hosting capabilities will not support Access databases.
A great alternative to Access is MySQL which can be run off of a Linux host or a Windows host. MySQL is fast becoming the standard in web site databases because of its ability to be easily transferred from one server to another. In addition, most hosting providers have online MySQL tools that allow you to use the database software without incurring any additional expense.
In addition, adding utilities such as Flash or multimedia videos (think YouTube) can be added to a web page regardless of the operating system installed by your web hosting provider.
Because Windows is a licensed, proprietary operating system, the costs associated with Windows hosting is usually higher than Linux hosting. If you don't need to use a Microsoft based database or web language, you are probably better off using a Linux hosting provider for your site.
Typically, Linux hosting costs less than five dollars a month and Windows hosting costs less than $10 a month. The extra $60 a year for a Windows hosting provider can add up, especially if you plan on hosting multiple web sites for your company.