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Web Hosting for Windows

Aug 7, 2008
Building a website can be a very technical endeavor. Until now most people shied away from building a webpage because it seemed like a strange uninviting land. More and more web hosts are aware of the general population, and small businesses desire to have their own website, in fact in some cases need their own site, and are making programs available to the less technically inclined. There are several operating systems most often used in website design. These are Microsoft Windows, and Linux, with UNIX and Macintosh also common, but not as often used.

The most popular of all operating system is Windows, created by Microsoft. It is the main programming software found on computers when consumers and businesses purchase them, and it is the operating system most people are familiar with. The platform that is the operating system is an important consideration when you are choosing your web host as well. In the past most web hosts operated on the technical Linux systems since more of the technical builders used that program. With the huge expanse of mass market web site building programs the need for Windows based hosting grew and is now commonplace. It is important to be sure when you choose a web host that they offer Windows platforms to operate your website.

If you find a website needs to be hosted incorporating the use of Microsoft products it is advisable to use Windows as a platform so that you know the applications will operate correctly. An effective Internet Information Server (IIS) is one of Microsoft's many features. If your hosting environment uses ASP, Microsoft access, and SQL then IIS is absolutely required and you must use the windows platform to create your website. A Windows webhosting environment has a lot of plug-ins and pre-made programs and components such as CGI specifically for use on Windows web servers.

Windows compared to UNIX

Windows and UNIX websites can be accessed internationally by everybody. The main difference exists in the software provided to the host servers data. Windows most always provides the best software and services in all of its purposes. It is a very reliable operating system and its programs are effective and functional but UNIX remains a little ahead in these areas due to increased stability and the ability to run long periods of time without rebooting. At the same time, in the modern world Windows meets the needs of its users better than UNIX.

Wherever Microsoft products are in service a Windows operating system must be used. If the host uses MS Access, ASP in order to provide dynamic content, or VBScript to give enhanced features to the sites then UNIX is not able to operate under those parameters. The technologies in those programs require Microsoft Windows. Windows also already accommodates all of the UNIX system provisions so it isn't needed for computers with Windows.

Windows vs Linux

Both Windows and Linux can support standard Cold Fusion, HTML and JavaScript files. Previously it was difficult to use Linux server for FrontPage extensions but now it is easy to do so. CGI and Perl platforms are though supported by Windows but Linux is commonly used for these. Linux commonly supports PHP while Windows support ASP.

The biggest advantage of Windows over Linux is that it runs all of the Microsoft software such as Access and can also create MS SQL database that is used by many hosts now. The Windows platform gives developers programming environments such as VBScripts (Visual Basic Scripts), Active Server Pages (ASP), and the Index capabilities of MS Index Server. Linux is not able to access those Microsoft features so if a use requires the use of MS SQL, ASP, OR VBScript as a method of development they must use Windows.

Be sure to inspect all of the requirements of the Window's system and what it has to offer. Not every Windows platform offers the same abilities and that will affect the performance.

Some of the basic Windows-based hosting packages are as follows:

* NET Support

ASP.net is considered to be the modern and latest offer of Microsoft's Active Server Page. This is an integral part of the Internet Information Server or IIS. Web hosts generally combine all these features when they render their service. But at times charge additional fees.

* Databases

Most web hosts provide Microsoft Access 2000 database to their customers. If a business is run on a larger scale and would clog up that system too easily a host may require MS SQL in order to ensure the system continues without crashing.

* PHP and ColdFusion

ColdFusion is an advanced option and all web hosts do not provide this tool. Only some specialized websites require this.

* Control Panel

Your control panel is the way you communicate with and access your website. It is important to use the same operating system that your host uses to provide this feature.

Other very useful features of the Windows platform include such items as POP3 email, IDs and Aliases, Bandwidth, IP, Webmail, and Backup support as well as SMTPs and FTP accounts, along with CDONTS and ASP support.

Windows operating systems will continue to be the most popular system for use by the most customers largely due to the fact they have come to expect seeing the familiar logo and associate it with a positive image. Microsoft has imprinted that image so heavily upon the minds of the general public they are often not willing to use other systems, or even try them out. Windows has been the most popular operating system since the early 80's and will continue a strong customer loyalty thanks to its strong brand name presence. People are generally geared to believe that a Windows platform will be available for long periods in the future and won't disappear.

Another reason for the massive popularity of Windows as an operating system is the company's extensive support available to everyone who uses their products. They go over and above most other companies to give tech support, online free tutorials for all of their products and many upgrades and additions to each program.
About the Author
Republished with permission from http://www.webhostingmadness.com, a publisher of web hosting company reviews, comparisons and detailed articles about web hosting.
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