Differences Between Unix and Windows Web Hosting

Web hosting services are available to individuals who have designed their websites and are ready to make the site available to the public. Many individuals choose to host their website on a remote server and others choose to host their websites on an in-house server. Depending upon the selection, users have a choice between Unix and Windows based hosting service.

Though Unix and Windows both offer web hosting options, the code used for website development will essentially be the same. For instance, a user can create a website using FrontPage. However, Unix or Windows may be used to host the website.

There are some differences between the usability, maintenance of the site, software applications, reliability, and cost of the two web hosting services. However, the choice is entirely a personal preference.

Usability

For the novice, Windows is more user-friendly. Computer users can navigate the interface using a mouse without entering command lines. Command lines are more common in a Unix based interface. Most individuals have used a Windows application. Therefore, users will select a Windows web hosting application by default. Technical users prefer the Unix web hosting interface.

Maintenance of the Site

Unix allows users to modify code. Free servers host Unix applications. Therefore, users of Unix applications will have full access to any source code. If the user encounters errors, users with enough technical savvy can modify the code themselves without technical assistance from the designer. However, individuals who encounter an error on a Windows based web hosting server will need to consult a technical designer from Microsoft to alleviate the problem. Website developers who utilize proprietary information on their sites prefer Unix. Unix allows developers to maintain control of the website rather than a Microsoft technician.

Software Applications

Microsoft web hosting users may have access to the following applications:

• Microsoft Access Database Applications
• VBScript Scripting Languages
• ASP

However, Microsoft software applications are not compatible with Unix applications. Alternatively, Unix web hosting applications may make use of the following software applications:

• MySQL Database Applications
• PostgreSQL Database Applications
• Perl Scripting Languages
• PHP

Reliability

Experts recommend Unix over Windows in terms of reliability. Users report less time that the system is down due to problems. Unix systems can operate for days without any reported problems. In fact, a Unix system is operational 99.9 percent of the time.

Windows tends to have maintenance problems, if the system has been running to long. For reliability and stability, users prefer Unix systems for web hosting projects.

Costs

Unix offers web hosting for less than Windows web hosting. Unix web hosting services also offer setup and domains for free. Most Unix web hosting applications offer unlimited disk space and data transfer, as well as, money back guarantees.

Alternatively, Windows offers free setup, but most companies charge a minimal amount for domains. Windows offers unlimited disk space and data transfer, as well.

cPanel

Many novices do not select Unix as a web hosting service because its applications are not as user-friendly as Windows based applications. Most common users are familiar with Windows based applications in home use. Therefore, when selecting a web hosting platform, the user automatically defaults to a Windows based application. However, there are some benefits to using Unix.

Unix is more reliable, stable, and costs less than Windows based applications. To make Unix web hosting more appealing to consumers, cPanel was introduced as a user-friendly option. cPanel uses tools to automate the web hosting process. This creates an environment that is more intuitive to the common user, while maintaining the stability and reliability of Unix web hosting. Thus, it becomes more appealing to individuals who are accustomed to the Windows environment.

cPanel supports server operating systems, such as Red Hat Linux, Free BSD, and CentOS. PHP, MySQL, Apache, Perl, BIND, and Postgres are also supported by cPanel.

Summary

Selecting a web hosting service is a personal choice. The choice depends entirely upon the user that will be maintaining the site on the server once it is loaded. Therefore, the user must select the most comfortable web hosting platform for his or her needs.