UNIX or Windows? Which Server Do you Require?

Ready to pick a web host for your Web site? You need a fast and efficient site for your customers, and you want administrating the server, or hosting the account to be easy with reliable support. You need to decide, then, if your site warrants a Microsoft Windows server or a UNIX server.

Stability or Easy User-Management

The first question to ask when making this decision is which is more important to you: stability or easy user-management. UNIX based servers are primarily superior in up time and in stability as compared to their Windows based counterparts. On the other hand, while they may need to be rebooted more often, Windows servers are far easier to administer and use.

With the stability and the security of UNIX in mind, one con of the UNIX OS is that it is somewhat daunting for new users to understand and administer. UNIX utilizes a command line interface for administration. Remember DOS prompt? It can be tricky to understand and remember for a novice. In addition, in order to maintain a stable UNIX machine, one must update the software as well as the kernel regularly. This process is significantly more difficult than its Windows counterpart task.

Web Site Structure

The structuring of your Web site may help you to make your decision. Which scripting do you plan to use for your site? If you will be creating a dynamic site, and decide that you want to go with Perl, a popular script, as your language of choice then UNIX should be your operating system. This holds true for script languages such as PHP and Pythlon also. On the other hand, if you choose to go with an ASP-based site then Windows is the server for you. Choosing the native platform for the appropriate server will always beat a cloned interpreter. For example, some UNIX systems can run ASP scripts, but the script execution will be a lesser quality.

Frequency of Updates

If you choose a Windows-based web server (unless your hosting account takes care of it for you as they should) you will need to update the software with security patches from Microsoft's web site almost weekly to prevent your site from being exploited. UNIX administrators, however, will only have to do update monthly as UNIX, more secure by nature, needs fewer patches and software updates.

Either way, if you do everything within the perimeters the server allows, a UNIX hosted web site or a Windows hosted web site will function relatively equally. Both servers are capable of satisfying a client. Find your best match, and go, go, go.