Linux and Windows 2000 are the types of software also known as operating systems that web servers use to perform, the kind of thing that web servers perform.
The following are the guidelines to assist in the decision making as to choose which among the two: -
It’s not compulsory to opt for Windows web hosting if one is using a windows desktop PC and the reverse is also true. Web host choice has very less to do with the operating system one is using. The only requirement is having knowledge of using FTP or web publishing software and then anyone can opt for any of the operating system. The most important factor is one must be fully aware of the functions of his/her website and also the purpose for which it is designed. That will help in determining the type of web hosting that will be most fruitful. Usually, interactive websites rely on ASP, PHP, or Perl type languages.
How to choose between Linux Web Hosting and Windows 2000 Web Hosting?
In Web hosting, Linux was for some time, been widely considered the best OS for Web servers. Due to several factors like reliability, stability and efficiency it is most widely used for the demanding environment of Web and mail servers. In fact due to traditional stability most of the client’s websites of aalpha NET runs on the Linux OS in particular.
However the most important question is what application one is searching for? One must consider the tools and scripting languages that he/she is planning to use i.e. if one is using PHP, Perl or MySQL then Linux is the best option. But if applications are Microsoft-specific, then Windows is what is needed.
If one’s site is what might be termed as “brochure-ware” then Linux servers will serve best. Brochure-ware means a site that provides sort of information that in the past might have been provided on paper in the form of brochures, newsletters or data sheets. Thus brochure-ware sites offer some interaction through enquiry forms and can certainly incorporate online purchasing and other routine e-commerce functions.
However if one’s site incorporates an online searchable database or interactive chat facilities then Windows 2000 or NT is considered best in most of the cases. It is little bit expensive but in return it provides reduced development time and better functionality.
Thus compensating the extra cost.
Advantages of using Linux based web server compared to Windows based web server:
Stability: Traditionally Linux/Unix operating systems were considered to be very stable and robust. With up time as high as 99.9%, a web site housed on a Linux operating system was considered best. While talking in reference to maintaining the system up time other factors like power supply, network admin skills, and network load etc. also matters a lot.
Reduced cost of ownership: In terms of cost the Linux OS comes absolutely free of cost or at very insignificant cost that too mainly cost of distribution. In addition it is well equipped with full-fledged server, and desktop applications that are free along with the OS. The server applications like FTP, Web Server, and DNS Server, File Server etc are free as well as very stable.
Easy to use: In case of Linux web hosting it is quite easy to host on Linux web servers. There is no major difference between uploading process and hosting in case of both Linux and Windows web servers. One must make sure that the Front Page extensions are enabled while using a Windows based tool such as Front Page for uploading a web site on to a Linux based web server. However this is only required if one is uploading using HTTP feature of Front Page. Also it is possible to upload a web site using FTP, as Front Page makes it possible. Just one needs to select an address with ftp for up loading using front-page FTP option. However one must take care that while selecting “Front Page Extensions” during web site design, he/she must enable Front Page extensions on a Linux web server also. Now days, all Linux web servers comes with installable Front Page extensions, making hosting on a Linux platform easier. One can almost use all types of file extensions or scripts while using Linux web server. The following are some of the commonly supported extensions-.cgi, .html, .htm, .pl, .php, .shtml, .xml,etc.
That means one can host web sites with different types of server side scripts including .cgi, .pl, .php, and .asp along with plug-in.
Easy movements between hosts: It’s quite easy to shift to another server in case of Linux based web server. A web site designed to be hosted on a Linux based web server can be easily hosted on a Windows web server but that facility is not available in case of Windows based web servers.
Wider Use: Linux/Unix based web hosting has wider use in comparison to Windows based web hosting.
Scalability: A web site designed is quite dynamic and needs modifications from time to time as per customer’s requirement. Therefore it is preferable to design a web site keeping the requirement of scalability in mind. A web site designed for compatibility with a Linux/Unix based web server fulfills this requirement easily without making any site wide design changes.
In against to that, Linux based web server is not fully compatible with Microsoft technologies. So if one is using any specialized applications or VB for development of his/her web site, it is preferable to host with a Windows based web server.