Lately I have had many inquiries about Windows Web Hosting, and since I only offer Linux based web hosting to my clients, I felt it necessary to point out a few things when it comes to web hosting and choosing the right host for your web site projects.
Your primary concerns when choosing a web host should be that a web host is reliable and meets the requirements for your web site. This may include having multiple databases, parked domains, or simply having a certain amount of bandwidth. If your site is dependant on Microsoft technologies such as ASP or using data from an Access database, then your hosting requirements can only be met by choosing a Windows web host. Although you may be able to run some of your site on another type of host, it is preferable to use a Windows host, since your site will perform better and there will be less conflicts than if you were to choose a Linux host.
One of the things you may notice about Windows Web Hosting is that there can sometimes be a price difference, with Windows hosting costing as much as double the price of a basic cPanel Linux host. While it is not clear if license costs are the driving force for higher prices, you should consider that the ease of use of Windows and the ability to utilize Microsoft-only technologies do add some cost to Windows web hosting. As a comparison consider Apple’s .Mac services which cost higher than standard web hosting, because Apple is primarily selling its services on ease of use. This is the same situation in the Windows hosting market. The ease of use and ability to run ASP driven sites will cost you extra.
In the Linux hosting market you give up the use of Microsoft technologies, but you get a very reliable and proven solution in Apache + MySQL + PHP. You may also find that Linux hosting packages are more diverse, ranging from small space and bandwidth allotments, to very large gigabyte accounts that even occasional webbloggers can afford. In addition to being less expensive, there are many scripts and third party solutions that are available. You may find more competitively priced packaged solutions than in the Windows market.
Perhaps the difference (other than price) between a Windows host and a Linux host is the technical one. While almost everyone is somewhat familiar with a Windows desktop, not everyone is familiar with Linux and it may take a while for a new webmaster to become comfortable with the differences. However all new webmasters will have to learn about web hosting in general, so this should not deter you in choosing a Linux host over a Windows host. You will find that almost any technical issue with Linux hosting can be resolved by researching it on Google and Yahoo. And if you hire someone to do your site’s maintenance, this may not be a concern at all.