In the world of web hosting there are two main types of operating system platforms on which you may host your web site. These are namely: UNIX and Windows . Each has its own set of unique features, advantages and disadvantages.
While it is difficult to say which one is the better choice, it is not as difficult to answer which is the better choice given your needs. The language which your site is programmed in is what primarily defines the type of hosting you need.
Please, note that the operating system that you have on your desktop computer (Windows,MAC) has absolutely nothing to do with the one that the web hosting company uses to serve your web site. Most personal sites are created with MS FrontPage and even although that is a Microsoft product, it can be hosted perfectly on a UNIX web server with FrontPage Extensions installed.
While there is some debate about which operating system performs better, in our opinion both perform comparably in low-stress conditions however UNIX servers under high load (which is what is important) are somehow better than Windows servers.
Web sites usually change over time. They start off small and grow as the needs of the person or organization running them grow. While both web hosting platforms can often adapt to your growing needs, Most UNIX-based programming features like PHP and MySQL can also be launched easily on a Windows web hosting server. While Microsoft technologies like ASP, .NET, SQL, MS Access and VB development need explicitly a Windows server. Well for example you can have classic ASP code on a UNIX web hosting machine, however we cannot tell the same for .NET, SQL and MS Access. Therefore if you wish to use the latter, you will need to pick up Windows web hosting package.
Web sites designed and programmed to be served under a UNIX-based web server can easily be hosted on a Windows server, whereas the reverse is not always true. This makes programming for UNIX the better choice.
Servers hosting your web site require operating systems and licenses just like everyone else. Windows and other related applications like SQL Server each cost a significant amount of money; on the other hand, Linux is a free operating system to download, install and operate. Windows web hosting results in being a more expensive platform, hence windows hosting plans are usually more expensive compared to UNIX ones having the same space and bandwidth features.
To sum it up, UNIX-based web hosting is more stable, performs faster and more compatible than Windows-based hosting. You only need Windows hosting if you are going to developing in .NET, ASP, Visual Basic, or some other application that explicitly needs Windows environment.