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Hosting platforms for websites. (Noob question)

Posted on 2004-04-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I'm a programmer and know little about servers, so when someone asks me; "what hosting platform will the website need.  NT or Unix?" what is this based on?

I'm guessing its based on what languages/databases im using... so in what instance would I have to use NT and when unix....?
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Question by:fairon
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:dorward
ID: 10732024
Typically you would use Windows if you wanted to use ASP and/or Microsoft SQL Server, and Unix if you wanted to use anything else.
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by:fairon
ID: 10732262
And either if its just html, javascript...?
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Expert Comment

by:dorward
ID: 10732336
The its all client side and it doesn't make a great deal of difference.

I'd go with UNIX - it gives more flexibility should you ever want to do server side scripting and I trust the security more.
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by:NBstrat
ID: 10737647
There is more to answering that question than just go with UNIX. Server side scripting can be done on NT based servers also, and either can be hacked easily if not setup properly.

When choosing the platform for any server, a lot of fore thought needs to go into what that server is actually going to be doing, who will be maintaining it, who will be accessing it and what resources (technically & financially) will be available after it is up and running. Setting up a UNIX based web server for a client who has nobody with UNIX skills internally to maintain it (but may have lots of people with NT expertise) doesn't mean it was the best choice for that server, unless they are hiring you to also maintain that server, which is another case all together.

I usually go through my checklist (aquired from the University of Hard Knocks) of requirements before making any recommendations/suggestions and involves nothing more than listening to what the person who will be paying for all of it really wants to do (even when they don't really know what they want to do)

Does the project require a specific language or application that must have a certain OS?
Can additional components be added to handle it? (i.e. Running ChilliSoft on Linux for ASP apps)
Who will maintain this server once it is up and running?
Do they have the neccessary skills to maintain this server in any particular platform? (If they don't, you will get countless calls at all hours of the night for the simpliest tasks and they will think you sold them junk just because they don't know how to do anything.)
Does the budget allow for upgrades/updates/licensing if they need "more" at a later date?

I personally have setup NT servers even when I thought (and still think) Linux/Apache would have performed better just because the clients technical people were more knowledgable in NT based systems and there was less of a learning curve for them to maintain their own system. In the long run, they were happier with something they understood and could work with than just my personal opinions about what I like to work with.

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NBstrat earned 250 total points
ID: 10737681
Oh....now that I am through ranting, I will try to answer your question.

NT based for ASP, .NET, Microsoft SQL, Exchange Server, and basically everything Microsoft.

ColdFusion - For ColdFusion of course. BlueDragon offers a ColdFusion alternative if you must develop in CF.

Linux/Unix - PHP and basically everything else, although you can run ASP on Linux using ChilliSoft.

Other items of consideration....FTP, SMTP, etc can be done with NT or Linux very easily. Some more easily than others, but again this starts to get into opinions but both handle them very well.
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Author Comment

by:fairon
ID: 10737982
Thanks guys.
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