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Linux or Windows Host?
When selecting a web host you'll find that there are two primary options: Windows and Linux hosts. Knowing which to choose is primarily based off of what sort of scripting your website will need. For best performance and efficiency you'll want to select a host based off of the following needs. Here's the breakdown:
Linux: PHP, MySQL, Perl
Windows: ASP, .NET
Are There Other Linux Benefits?
There are several other key differences between Linux and Windows hosts. Linux hosts, for example, often have increased support for various types of databases. Examples are mSQL, MySQL and PostgreSQL. These databases are relational by nature, and permit vastly optimized communication with your website for rapid reclamation of data. Linux also can be more efficient at handling many types of scripting although if your website isn't script heavy this may not even be noticeable. Additionally the load being handled on your host will also affect this so while a Linux host may theoretically be faster than a Windows host it may not be in real world results. Among many circles Linux is also considered the more stable and more secure hosting platform. Again this is only true so far as your hosting center is proficient and up to date with the latest methods and policies.
Are There Other Windows Benefits?
If you are going to be employing .NET or ASP related functions on your website then you'll have to go with a Windows based solution. Windows hosts are also the only option if your database needs to be MSSQL or is and ACCESS database. Windows hosts also will be able to make use of Microsoft's Sharepoint services.
The Bottom Line
If your website is small and you don't really know or care about what language your scripting is done in then you're probably best off to just find what is cheapest and offers you the best feature set. However, if you're looking to make use of specific features, script languages, or databases then it will be critical to find a host that supports them properly.
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