On the Internet you will find a multitude of Web Hosting Providers offering different packages on different platforms, each touting why theirs is the best and why you should host with them. Windows is better than Linux, Linux is better than UNIX, UNIX is better than Windows. Just who do you believe? Which platform should you choose for your website?
There is no straight answer to this question, since all of the above platforms
have their merits. The trick of the matter is figuring out which platform is better
for your websites own unique needs.
Let?s take a look at the three options available. The first is Windows. Microsoft
has created their own web server software that runs in Windows, called Internet
Information Server (IIS). This software allows people to create web pages using
ASP/ASP.NET, in addition to standardized web languages such as PERL. It?s strength
lies in it?s compatibility. Using IIS and ASP, a windows programmer can leverage
his/her knowledge and incorporate windows COM objects and data access directly
into their web application. MS Access and SQL Server are very easy to manipulate
using ASP. The main drawback to this platform is price. If you run your own server,
you will pay thousands of dollars in licensing fees just to get your server running,
and additional fees if you want to also have a SQL database.
Next web have UNIX. UNIX has been around for quite a long time, and is known
to be a very stable operating system. Most variations of UNIX were designed to
only run on certain hardware platforms. Security is another proven strongpoint
of a UNIX system. The main drawback with a UNIX system is their flexibility in
terms of potential features and enhancements you can add to enrich your website.
Distributions such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD are free.
Finally, there is Linux. Linux is a derivative of UNIX which is much more flexible
than its predecessor. It is based on the same basic architecture, and tends to
be very stable and secure. Linux can be run on a large variety of hardware, and
is constantly being developed and improved. There are many distributions available,
most of which can freely be downloaded from the Internet at no charge. PHP, one
of the main staples of Internet Programming at the time of this writing, is currently
BEST suited for the Linux platform.
So the question remains which should you use? This depends completely on the
requirements of your website, and the skill-set of your development team.