As mentioned in the introduction to this series, probably the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing between UNIX and Windows hosting is what type of applications you plan to run.
Do you plan on selling anything through your web site now or in the future? If not, then don’t worry about this aspect of the comparison. However, if your current or future plans involve some type of online storefront, then you’ll want to make some careful considerations here.
If you already know what software you plan to use for e-commerce, find out which operating systems it’s compatible with. The number of UNIX applications in this area is getting larger day by day, but most commercial products are still geared towards Windows platforms. In short, choosing a Windows hosting service will give you more options in terms of software you can run. Be sure to check with potential providers, too, since they may offer e-commerce solutions as part of a hosting package.
Other Applications and Tools
When considering which applications to use with your web site, a lot will depend on personal preference and your experience levels. If you’re new to database programming, and don’t want to get stuck trying to navigate a steep learning curve, Windows hosting may be a better alternative since the applications were developed with ease of use in mind. On the other hand, more experienced database programmers can choose a PHP/MySQL solution, which is a perfect match for UNIX.
What about FrontPage Extensions?
Even though FrontPage is pretty much dead, there are still people using it to publish their site. Moreover, Microsoft’s new web design product, Expression Web, offers developers the option to publish their sites using FrontPage extensions.
Should this matter when selecting a web hosting service?
In actuality, FrontPage extensions are available for both UNIX and Windows. If you’re really set on using this tool to help publish your site, you’ll still need to check with your host to see if support for FrontPage extensions is available. However, the operating system itself doesn’t matter here.