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Hosting Q&A : Unix/Linux Hosting
What is Unix?
What is Linux?
What is Unix hosting?
What type of hosting suits my needs?
Should I use Unix/Linux or Windows?
Go!


What is Unix?
Unix is a powerful multi-user environment designed primarily for servers and advanced users. It has a steeper learning curve than other operating systems, such as Windows or Mac OS, but offers superb flexibility and stability. Though inexperienced users sometimes find its complexity daunting, Unix is very popular, and in recent years it has become more accessible.

Unix was developed at Bell Labs in 1969, but in the past three decades many others have contributed to its evolution. In reality, Unix is not so much a single operating system as it is a standard upon which organizations and companies base their own systems. Examples of Unix implementations include AIX (IBM), Solaris (Sun Microsystems), IRIX (SGI), BSD/OS (BSDi), and Linux (GNU). To the casual user, these different systems are very similar because they all provide a common interface through the Unix shell.


What is Linux?
Linux is a free Unix-type operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds with the assistance of developers around the world. Developed under the GNU General Public License, the source code for Linux is freely available to everyone. Linux is an operating system of which there are several distributions - Redhat, Mandrake, Debian, SuSe and more.


What is Unix hosting?
There are two major operating systems used in web hosting industry. They are Unix and Windows. Linux offers web hosting companies stability and inexpensive cost of operation. It also offers web hosting customers some unique features that don't exist in Windows system. The most popular version of Linux used in web hosting industry is RedHat Linux.


What are the advantages of using Unix/Linux over Windows 2000?
In terms of web hosting, the most attractive feature that Unix has to offer over Windows is a lower cost of web development. Most Unix hosting plans are cheaper than that of Windows. Why? Because most web hosts use the free version of Unix (like Linux or FreeBSD). They don't have to pay thousands of dollars to buy the operating system and associated tools to run the server. Uses of Unix web hosts will enjoy using many free tools and applications that have been written primarily for and by the Unix community.


Should I use Unix/Linux or Windows?
The decision depends predominantly on what types of web development tools, scripts and programs are most important to you. For example, you'll want Unix if you plan to run PHP scripts or use a MySQL database. Unix also is widely considered a more stable and versatile platform for hosting, as well as a lower-cost one. Linux, a free, open source flavor of Unix, is free; all of Microsoft's software costs money (usually lots of it). On the other hand, if you expect to make heavy use of Microsoft tools like Active Server Pages, Visual Basic or SQL Server, you should probably consider Windows hosting. Keep in mind that just because you might use Windows on your home or office computer doesn't mean Windows-based hosting is the best option for you.



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