For all intents and purposes, they both accomplish the same task... that of serving your Web pages to the world. We prefer that our customers use our UNIX-based web servers, and as such, this is the default setting when a customer adds a domain name to their iSERVE account.
We recommend that our customers only use a Microsoft® Web server if they specifically require Microsoft ASP® coding or Microsoft Access® Databases.
Both Linux/Unix and Windows can handle high traffic websites and add-ons such as chat rooms, email, and website statistics with ease. The biggest differences are price and software compatibility.
Because Windows must be purchased and licenses renewed continuously, Windows hosting plans are usually more expensive than Unix-based plans. Also, Unix-based plans often come with free email, databases (MySQL), statistics, and community programs. In contrast, Windows plans come with Microsoft software (MS SQL, for example) that must be purchased by the hosting company.
Both Linux and Windows platforms can run popular programming languages such as php, Perl, or java. If your website uses active server pages, then it will be less risky hosting it on a Windows server. Well, it still may function on a Unix server; there may be small glitches that are not immediately apparent.
Similarly, if you are using Microsoft SQL databases, these databases will be supported by most Windows plans. However, Linux or Unix plans often include MySQL, which would require that your databases be converted to this format in order to function properly.
If you are currently using any Microsoft programming (especially active server pages) or third-party applications (MS SQL 2000), you may want to play it safe and choose a Windows hosting plan.
In low-stress conditions, Windows and UNIX servers have very similar performances, but under high load, UNIX is very superior to Windows.
UNIX handles high server loads than Windows; UNIX systems rarely require a reboot, Windows constantly need them. UNIX can run stable much time than a Windows server, and UNIX up-time is bigger.
If you design and program a website under a UNIX server, you can easily host it in a windows server, but the reverse is not always possible; avoiding windows languages (ASP, ASP.NET, etc.) and databases (Access and MS SQL) is the better choice.
Any server hosting a website requires an operating system and licenses; Windows 2003 and applications like SQL Server costs a lot of money; on the other hand, UNIX, usually Linux, is free to download, use and operate. This makes the difference between the price; UNIX hosting will always be cheaper than a windows one.
Unix hosting is more stable, has better performances, is more compatible, and cheaper than a windows hosting plan. I always recommend UNIX hosting. You will only need Windows hosting if you’re going to develop in ASP, .NET, or VB.