Opinions on Webhosting options: Linux vs Windows platforms

I am looking to put up my first couple of business websites for which I will be registering the domain name and have designed the pages.

I am looking at places where I can host my website and I come up with what looks like the top contender but I need to decide between Linux or Windows Server 2003 as the hosting platform.

What are the pros and cons of each? As this is my first time publishing a website, which is the easiest and which can be used with basic or limited knowledge?

I am relying on you all to guide my ways.

I suspect that as an end user who won’t administer your web server you really won’t care.

With a few exceptions, all web content (html, php, jsp, etc.) can be managed and accessed equally from both platforms. The only exception I can think of is ASP, but I’ve never used that; perhaps it can be done on Linux as well.

Personally, I use Linux, but that’s because I perfer to manage Linux boxes. If you’re not managing the boxes I don’t think it really matters.

Linux is usually cheaper (or you get more stuff for the same price), and you only need windows if you want to do windows-only stuff. For a basic website I’d go for linux.

I wouldn’t trust Windows to host anything important I put up, especially given how many IIS attacks are out there.

UNIX is my first preference, but Linux is a good alternative.

I personally run 4 Windows 2003 web hosting servers, but all of our work uses ASP and ASP.NET. We use alot of SQL too.

For a novice, a personal site, or someone who does PHP, I would recommend a Unix or Linux server pretty much because of the price. You can do PHP on a Windows server, though (we have it on ours).

Remember, though - you get what you pay for with Web hosting. Don’t go for some cheapo $5/month server for business hosting. Look more in the $20-30/mo range and make sure they have 24/7 support.

And register the domain name YOURSELF. Don’t let your hosting provider do it. Go to www.godaddy.com. If you have problems with your host, having control over your own domain will make leaving the host alot easier.

I have shared web servers of each and currently have business sites on dedicated Windows and Linux boxes. Most of my clients require MS servers because the developer programmed for it.

For the same hardware, the Linux boxes run much faster and require less admin work. Apache on Linux also seems to be quicker at serving pages, but that might be because of how the MS ASP was programed.

Side by side with the same hardware, ASP with a MS SQL database on MS/IIS vs PHP with MY SQL on Linux/Apache, using basic includes and CSS, Apache seems is faster.

I have a web development Windows box with IIS running on port 80 and Apache on 8080. Calling the the same sites through “localhost”, Apache on Windows responds a touch faster then IIS. That leads me to think it’s not the OS as much as the server software.

Static pages (basic html without CSS) seem to serve about the same on either with Apache having a slight lead.

At the end of the day I don’t think it makes all that much of a difference for small and medium sites using little dynamic content. If you’re serving less then 10-15k visits a day I think either will work fine for you. If you expect the site to really be pummeled or have decided to get space on a shared server, you might want to consider programming with a Linux box in mind. You’ll get more bang for your buck.

As a side note: All my personal sites run on a Linux box.

Thanks for all the responses.

The pages I am working on are basic HTML/CSS pages, no ASP, PHP or anything else. The content is static and mainly for advertising/informational purposes. All I wil be doing in maintaining the pages and updating the content, so I am looking for the easiest way to do that.

I am thinking of using 1and1.com as the host because they offer good rates to host 3 sites. I did check and they said that I am the owner of any domain name registered through them.

The above post was me. :smack:

That is true for any domain name you purchase through a host, though. You are the owner - but do they give you control over it?

My business does actually register domain names for our clients. I do it because they ask me to do it and they can’t figure out how to do it themselves. If and when they decide to leave us, I have to take an active part in getting the name transferred to a different registrar because we don’t make a habit of taking care of domain names for people not hosting with us.

My clients don’t have their own domain registrar login and can’t edit the domain info themselves. I just have one account for the company at godaddy.com with about 80 domains.

It is not a huge deal for me to take care of customer transfers - when they transfer away from us. I know how to do it. We’re a small company so I’m easy to reach and easy to work with.

However, getting a domain AWAY from another hosting provider has proven to be an absolute nightmare over and over again. We typically have to get control over the domain to get the nameserver changed to our nameserver so we can set up hosting. Bigger companies either seem to have terrible customer support in this area or like to be “bullies” about it because they’re losing a hosting account. Getting domain names transferred is actually a seriously stressful part of my job.

Before going to 1and1.com and getting a whole “package deal” with hosting and domain names, check with them to see if you have a registrar login and are able to edit your domain information yourself. Alot of companies DO do this, but some don’t, and that’s where the trouble arises.

If they indicate that you can’t edit your own domain info, I would strongly advise that you register the domains yourself at godaddy.com so if you do have to pack up and leave them, it will be much easier.

DON’T go with 1&1. Their prices are fine, they seem reliable enough, but the “free” software they offer you is only yours to use as long as you are with them. They expect you to mail it back to them when you cancel. Also, when you cancel you don’t just cancel, you have to fax or mail in some signed contracts saying you want to cancel. I kid you not. I’ve never had to do this with any other web host. Also, even after I cancelled, they still were billing my credit card. I’m not saying they’re dishonest, but dealing with them is more trouble than it’s worth. Plus, I think their interface is kludgy. It’s not the typical CPanel that most Linux hosts offer, but some proprietary 1&1 interface that I found annoying and slow.

There are a lot of good web hosts out there. One good one is pair.com. I currently use Bliksemhosting.com and Dathorn.com. The latter two (and the first probably also) will allow you to host multiple domains on one account.