Operation system, or normally known as OS, is a platform for your computer to work. An OS has to be installed on your computer before any other software. The operating system is so important that it takes care of almost all the basic operation on your computer: from shutting down the PC to handling the memory to coordination among hardware.
Now in case you not know, not just that your personal computer needs an OS.
Your hosting server needs one too! (surprise? duh…) In the world of web hosting OS, there’re two major players, namely Unix and Windows.
Unix (Linux & FreeBSD) Hosting
While there are more than 80% of the PCs runs on Windows; there aren’t so much running on servers.
Instead, web hosting server are normally runs on Unix base.
Note that Unix is not a single operating system. It offers many modern variants also referred to as flavors, types, distributions, or implementations, which branch from its origins in early 1970s mainframe computing.
Reason Unix-based OS is so popular is because that the OS is an open source operating system – thus free to use.
On top of personal computer OS Windows 10, 8, Vista, XP, etc; Microsoft do have their own operating system designed specifically for servers.
One of the well-known server OS from Microsoft is Windows Server 2003, and in case you’re familiar with Windows, you should be aware that Windows Sever 2008 is already in the market.
Unix > Windows?
Unix is developed in the Universities for the purpose of research and has been focusing more on networking and speed. Windows is a commercial product developed and targeted to the home users. Unix is built to be more powerful, secure and fast while Windows is built to be more user friendly and easy to use.
Most webmasters and developers lean over Unix systems as they are generally better, in term of stability and security, Windows OS.
(* I didn’t find hard proof on this claim though).
After so many years of development, Unix has been evolved into a very stable, secure and powerful platform for the servers. On the other hand, Windows (Microsoft Corporation) is still consider to be a new comer to the server market.
What you need to know: Unix or Windows?
You should always go for a Unix web host unless you have some specific requirements that require Windows platform.
Not only Unix is more powerful and secure in networking but it is also cheaper because Unix is *FREE*! If a web host setup their servers to run Windows 2003, he will need to purchase the license from Microsoft and this will increase the hosting price.
You will need a Windows host if you want to use some Windows-only features. The most common are ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, etc. If you have never heard of any of these application, you most probably won’t need a Windows host.