By Alesia Arefjeva

This question, the answer on which is obvious to the experienced webmaster, can stump the beginner.

There is a comparison of two most popular platforms – UNIX and Windows, supported by overwhelming majority of providers. Besides, we attempt to dispel some wrong representations concerning these platforms.

One of the greatest errors among beginners is that one should place a site on that platform which was used for development i.e. if it is supposed to place the project on a server under UNIX, so it is obligatory to construct it on a machine which also uses UNIX. This is not an absolute truth. The Operating system with which you work on the computer while creating a site, can be whatever.

Convenience in Usage of a hosting platform

For the last years providers have put maximum of efforts to facilitate administration of sites to clients both under UNIX and under Windows. Today there is no difference between these platforms in relation to ease and simplicity of usage. If you are a sophisticated user and prefer to use shell, select UNIX. However, if you are the beginner, you find user-friendly control panel with the web interface on both platforms.

Hosting Reliability

Experts agree in opinion that UNIX is more reliable. However, my personal experience of 3-year-old IIS 3.0 maintenance under Windows NT 4.0, shows that reliability of a Windows platform can be approximated considerably to UNIX. In a much bigger degree reliability is influenced by professional level of serving staff. It means that you can make solution on a platform choice, considering at first other differences in features of platforms.

Hosting Speed

There is no essential difference between these two platforms concerning speed at hosting problem solving.

Hosting functionality

It is the factor on which two platforms differ most of all. But there can be tasks realized on one platform and which cannot be realized on another. The main difference is: how this result is reached. For example, if your site uses a database, you can use or sheaf PHP/MySQL under UNIX or ASP/MS SQL under Windows. The tendency of development of solutions which will be supported on both platforms is tracked. For example, Microsoft FrontPage, is supported both on UNIX and on Windows.

Hosting cost

Here UNIX for the present favorably differs because, first, the majority of software products under UNIX extends under free licenses, and secondly, it is much easier to achieve the same level of reliability and efficiency on UNIX, than on Windows.

If you definitely do not plan to use technologies and the solutions supported only by a platform of Windows (see below) most likely it makes sense to select UNIX platform.

Alesia Arefjeva is a web marketer – website hosting and domain name registration provider.

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