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Decisions, Decisions - Windows or Linux Hosting?

These days the differences between Windows and Linux hosting are not as numerous as they once were. Still, some differences continue, as do misconceptions about what might make one type of hosting better than the other. So the question is: which will you choose? Here we will give you the information you need to make the best choice for your website.

 Misconceptions

 First, letís clear up some misunderstandings. Many think if you run Windows on your PC you are limited to Windows web hosting, and the same for Linux. This is not the case. Access to your files will be through FTP (file transfer protocol), so regardless of what you use on your PC, you have options in selecting your hosting operating system.

 It is also a commonly held belief that Windows is more vulnerable to security problems. Linux is also vulnerable to many of the same issues, but tends to be updated and patched faster. Whichever operating system you use, choosing a host that has competent, timely network administration is what will give you peace of mind you want when it comes to security.

 Some also feel that Linux is always the cheaper choice because of being open source. True, Linux is free, but the cost of Windows hosting is sometimes absorbed by the web host. Usually youíll find there is a slight price increase for Windows hosting and often hosts only offer Linux hosting. With a careful search, though, you can find reputable hosts such as 1&1 Internet that offer both Windows and Linux hosting packages at similar price points.

 What Matters Most

 So, if either operating system will work with your PC, and security and cost arenít really the big issues that many think they are, does it really matter which one you choose?

 The most important factor in your decision between Windows and Linux hosting is scripting language. Your choice in scripting language will probably be based on two main things: what you are familiar with using; and what your long-term vision is for the website.

 These are the main considerations:

  • If you are building a static, content-driven site, Linux is your best choice. It supports applications scripted in PHP, Perl or MySQL.
  • If you are creating a dynamic site Ė one with a searchable database or interactive chat -- you will be better off with a Windows platform. Windows supports ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion and MsSQL. PHP is usually associated with Linux, but it can also be used with Windows.

Both platforms support HTML, Javascript, Flash, RealPlayer, pop mail IDs and FrontPage.

Once you have decided on which operating system is the best fit, though, you are not locked in indefinitely. A web site designed to be hosted on one platform can be moved to a different platform, though some find the transfer from Linux to Windows to be easier than the other way round. Choosing a web host that offers both Linux and Windows packages will make the process easier if, for example, you start with a simple static site and later decide to add dynamic pages.

 The Bottom Line

 In the end, itís not about which is better, but which is better for YOU. Clearly identify your needs and goals, and youíll have no problem identifying which platform is best for your website.