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Friday, August 9, 2013

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Opening Windows for Web Servers and Airing out the Confusion

Web hosting comes with a lot of decisions. Perhaps one of the most important ones you will have to make is which operating system to use on your server. Windows and Linux have strong shares in the web hosting market. Windows has 52.2 percent market share when it comes to overall server revenue, Server Watch reports. While this number has been on a slow decline, Windows Hosting by MyHosting and other providers might be the perfect fit for your website. The Windows server environment has a number of advantages over Linux and Unix. Here are some of those, along with some disadvantages, to help you make your next site decision.

Advantages of Windows Hosting
The Windows server environment is almost required if you have a lot of development that focuses on ASP and .NET applications. Linux server environments don't innately support these technologies, and it's a lot easier to make PHP and MySQL work on Windows than it is to get ASP working on Linux. Windows Server 2012 is a powerful development tool, and it's all but necessary if your business invests research and development in these areas. When you have network administrators who have worked in a Windows environment their entire tech careers, the transition from desktop Windows to server Windows is smoother than from Windows to Linux.

Windows Server 2012 also has strong support for its applications that have web components. According to, it's essentially required if you are using Microsoft FrontPage extensions, Access databases, and Visual Interdev. Microsoft designed the server operating system with a user-friendly interface designed to help network administrators do their jobs quickly and easily. There are a number of snap-in applications that assist with specific administration tasks and troubleshooting. It's certainly easier on the eyes than the back-ends of Linux and Unix server operating systems.

Disadvantages of Windows Hosting
The Windows server operating systems are designed to require somewhat frequent reboots compared to Linux and Unix servers. Some Linux distributions do not need to be rebooted even when the kernel is updated. Windows updates do not have this advantage. Typically, Windows servers cost more due to operating system licensing. Unlike Linux, the host has to pay a significant price for each copy of the operating system. This adds to the hosting overhead, which is passed on to customers.

On the scripting side of things, CGI and Perl are more difficult to use on Windows. You also can't use telnet or SSH to access the server -- you need to go through the Windows server interface. You can't go by a script website without tripping over free scripts for Linux- and Unix-based servers. You don't have the same access with a Windows server, so if you prefer specific website scripts, confirm you can successfully run them on a Windows box before you buy. The Windows operating system also has a higher system requirement to run, as it takes up more resources than comparable Linux distributions. This is another factor that drives the price of the hosting higher than comparable Linux servers.

Do you prefer Windows servers? What influenced that decision? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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