UNIX is a text-based, multitasking operating system that is designed to be used by many people at the same time. UNIX is also the most commonly used operating system among Web servers and is the most versatile of all existing operating systems.
Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. With most Web sites, a UNIX-based or Linux-based Web hosting solution is a fine choice. These platforms are known for their flexibility, reliability, and stability.
There are two major operating systems used in the web hosting industry. They are Unix and Windows. Linux offers web hosting companies stability and inexpensive cost of operation.
It also offers web hosting customers some unique features that don't exist in the Windows system. The most popular version of Linux used in the web hosting industry is RedHat Linux.
Also Read: What is Windows Web Hosting?
The decision depends predominantly on what types of web development tools, scripts, and programs are most important to you. For example, you'll want Unix if you plan to run PHP scripts or use a MySQL database.
Unix is also widely considered a more stable and versatile platform for hosting and a lower-cost one. Linux, a free, open-source flavor of Unix, is free; all of Microsoft'sMicrosoft's software costs money (usually lots of it).
On the other hand, if you expect to make heavy use of Microsoft tools like Active Server Pages, Visual Basic, or SQL Server, you should probably consider Windows hosting. Keep in mind that just because you might use Windows on your home or office computer doesn't mean Windows-based hosting is the best option for you.
In terms of web hosting, the most attractive feature that Unix has to offer over Windows is a lower cost of web development. Most Unix hosting plans are cheaper than Windows.
It’s because most web hosts use the free version of Unix (like Linux or FreeBSD). They don't have to pay thousands of dollars to buy the operating system and associated tools to run the server. Sounds cool right?
Uses of Unix web hosts will enjoy using many free tools and applications that have been written primarily for and by the Unix community.
On the Internet, you will find many Web Hosting Providers offering different packages on different platforms, each touting why theirs is the best and why you should host with them. Windows is better than Linux, Linux is better than UNIX, UNIX is better than Windows.
Whom do you believe? Which platform should you choose for your website?
There is no straight answer to this question, since all of the above platforms have their merits. The trick of the matter is figuring out which platform is better for your website's own unique needs.
Let's take a look at the three options available.
The first is Windows. Microsoft has created their web server software that runs in Windows, called Internet Information Server (IIS).
This software allows people to create web pages using ASP/ASP.NET, in addition to standardized web languages such as PERL. Its strength lies in its compatibility.
Using IIS and ASP, a windows programmer can leverage his/her knowledge and incorporate windows COM objects and data access directly into their web application. MS Access and SQL Server are very easy to manipulate using ASP.
The main drawback to this platform is the price. If you run your server, you will pay thousands of dollars in licensing fees to get your server running and additional fees if you want to also have a SQL database.
The next web has UNIX. UNIX has been around for quite a long time and is known to be a very stable operating system. Most variations of UNIX were designed to only run on certain hardware platforms. Security is another proven strongpoint of a UNIX system.
The main drawback with a UNIX system is its flexibility in terms of potential features and enhancements you can add to enrich your website. Distributions such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD are free.
Finally, there is Linux. Linux is a derivative of UNIX, which is much more flexible than its predecessor. It is based on the same basic architecture and tends to be very stable and secure.
Linux can be run on a large variety of hardware and is constantly being developed and improved. Many distributions are available, most of which can freely be downloaded from the Internet at no charge.
PHP, one of the main staples of Internet Programming at the time of this writing, is currently BEST suited for the Linux platform.
As far as Linux and reliability go, there are documented instances where servers running the system have stayed online and functioning for approximately one year while experiencing no downtime or technical difficulties.
This is a very impressive feat when considering how other systems require restarts every now and then. Linux also has a reputation for providing solid security right out of the box.
The default security settings are far more superior to the Windows platform, which is a great attribute in itself.
Linux is also very compatible and supports a number of web-based technologies. Hosting with this system allows you to work with other open-source technologies such as PHP, MySQL, and Apache.
Linux has become incredibly popular, to say the least, having vested interests from prominent organizations such as IBM and Sun Microsystems.
At the same time, Linux hosting has remained one of the most affordable solutions on the market, with plans suited for a wide range of users.