Web Hosting Operating Systems: Unix & Windows

Do you know what is an Operating System?

Before we go any further into Unix or Windows operating system, you have to be clear about what’s an operating system. Operation system, or normally known as OS, is a platform for your computer to work. The infamous Windows owned by Bill Gates Microsoft is an OS, Apple’s Mac is another.

OS has to be installed on your computer before any other software. The operating system is so important that it takes care of almost all the basic operation on your computer: from shutting down the PC to handling the memory to coordination among hardwares.

Now in case you not know, not just that your personal computer needs an OS.

Your web hosting server needs one too! (surprise? duh…) In the world of web hosting OS, there’re two major players, namely Unix and Windows.

We shall have a look on them in details.

Unix: Linux & FreeBSD

While there are more than 80% of the PCs runs on Windows; there aren’t so much running on servers. Instead, web hosting server are normally runs on Unix base. Reason Unix is so popular is because that the OS is an open source operting system – thus free to use.

The 2 most popular variations are Linux and FreeBSD.

Windows Server

On top of Windows Vista, XP, ME; Microsoft do have their own operating system designed specifically for servers.
One of the well-known server OS from Microsoft is Windows Server 2003, and in case you’re familiar with Windows, you should be aware that Windows Sever 2008 is already in the market.
But why do most servers choose to run on Unix instead of Windows?
Unix is developed in the Universities for the purpose of research and has been focusing more on networking and speed. Windows is a commercial product developed and targeted to the home users. Unix is built to be more powerful, secure and fast while Windows is built to be more user friendly and easy to use.
After so many years of development, Unix has been evolved into a very stable, secure and powerful platform for the servers. On the other hand, Windows (Microsoft Corporation) is still consider to be a new comer to the server market.
windows vs unix

What you need to know: Unix or Windows?

You should always go for a Unix web host unless you have some specific requirements that require Windows platform.

Not only Unix is more powerful and secure in networking but it is also cheaper because Unix is *FREE*! If a web host setup their servers to run Windows 2003, he will need to purchase the license from Microsoft and this will increase the hosting price.

You will need a Windows host if you want to use some Windows-only features. The most common are ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, etc. If you have never heard of any of these application, you most probably won’t need a Windows host.

Cut it short, ASP, ASP.NET and ColdFusion are scripting language. Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Access are databases.

So, Unix or Windows hosting? The answer is simple and direct: Unix. Get Unix web hosting whenever is possible.

More related readings

Besides Unix/Windows hosting, there are more factors that should be included when considering a web hosting. The hosting company past records, cost, server reliability… these are all crucial points for a good web host. Next, we’ll have a look on how to choose a good web host.