This is one of the first decisions you need to make when looking for someone to host your website. The vast majority of hosting services being offered today are based either on Windows or Linux.
Features common to both platforms.
|ASP (Active Server Pages)||x|
|Internet Information Server 6.0||x|
|Server Side Includes||x||x|
What if I’m programming a dynamic web site?
If you are using active content such as a forum, shopping cart or blog, you’ll need to choose your hosting platform accordingly. There are a few types of server-side scripting languages including PHP, ASP and ASP.NET. Some languages such as PHP are available for both Linux and Windows systems, but are more commonly deployed on Linux. ASP and the newer ASP.NET are native to Windows. They provide, among other things, access to Visual Basic and the VB Scripting language. A decision to utilize ASP or ASP.NET may be a deciding factor for you in the choice of platform you look for in a hosting company.
What environment works best for databases?
Each environment supports databases. MySQL and PostgreSQL are common databases on Linux-based servers and also now available on Windows. Microsoft Access databases are typically available only on a Windows platform while Microsoft SQL is only available on Windows. Most sites use MySQL or PostgreSQL because they are less expensive then Microsoft SQL, which is a robust database system.
So, which one is the best?
Recent advances in operating systems have brought the feature sets of Windows and Linux-based hosting much closer to each other. Whereas previously there were significant advantages to one over the other for particular applications, these differences have diminished to the point where the choice of operating system is no longer as important. Use the chart above to make sure the system you choose works for your use.