Once you have decided that your business needs to be equipped with a server computer, the next and more crucial decision to be made is what hosting package to get. For most, the choice is between UNIX and Microsoft Windows Server.

Defining the competition: the benefits of both UNIX and Windows Server

Windows Server promises the following advantages:

  • Security and reliability – Security of the network allows the business to define users, restrict access, and assign roles to ensure only the right persons are allowed to view and manipulate data. Also, having a dedicated Windows Server increases the reliability of a network, such as keeping it running even in case of hardware malfunction.
  • Centralized data storage – Data storage is secure in multiple hard drives. This centralized storage allows multiple users to access the centralized databases for a more efficient process.
  • Virus Management – With the Windows Server, it is easier to monitor and regularly update anti-virus programs in all computers to ensure the protection of the network.
  • User friendly – For users of Windows operating systems, moving forward to a Windows Server would be a familiar road. If your website already relies on the .Net framework, Microsoft Front Page, .ASP and Access database, then the Windows Server is the right choice.
  • Application development – If you intend to develop Microsoft based applications, a Windows Server from the same family will make this possible.

UNIX server on the other hand boasts of the following benefits:

  • Efficient virtual memory that can run programs with a modest amount of RAM, and allows multitasking with protected memory.
  • Security and access controls. As with Windows, users will be assigned respective accounts, passwords, and access rights to be able to use the system.
  • A complete set of efficient commands and utilities that can be strung together to accomplish more difficult functions.
  • A centralized file system, usable and retrievable through directories even if several different disks are used.
  • Similar with Windows Server, UNIX can likewise be use for program development.

Pitting the Windows Server versus Linux

Let us make this decision easier by pitting these two major hosting platforms against each other based on crucial metrics:

  • Stability – Users find that UNIX is able to handle high server loads better than Windows, and correspondingly requires less frequent reboots than Windows. Systems running on Windows crash more often, giving Windows Servers lower up time and less impressive reliability versus UNIX.
  • Performance – Windows and UNIX perform comparably when carrying regular loads, but with higher, more stressful loads, UNIX performs better and faster. UNIX also is more efficient in using its memory and processor time, making Windows Server users requires more memory and processor bulk to deliver the same results.
  • Scalability and compatibility – Windows Server is the better partner as your business grows, in terms of its better compatibility with UNIX-based programming details such as PHP and MySQL. UNIX-based software, on the other hand, is not entirely compatible with Microsoft developments such as.NET and VB.
  • Remote Control – UNIX allow enables system administrators to remotely perform operations, as compared to Windows Server that prefers a local administrator running without remote abilities.
  • Internet Services – Windows has somehow neglected to include Internet protocols and server that UNIX has not, such as SMTP (Email), NNTP (News), Telnet, and DNS.
  • Windows Server lets you get around this through with Microsoft and other third party programs.
  • Price – UNIX Linux wins this category by simply being free to download, install, and use, while Windows products definitely come with a significant price tag.

A quick count would reveal that UNIX is the clear winner, but then tastes, preferences and brand loyalty are things that also come in play. Windows Server still has the backing of Microsoft, and updated versions periodically come out for both systems to answer the kinks. At the end of the day, the decision is still up to you.