Windows web hosting has been around for some time and has evolved from a simple platform hosting static HTML pages to a sophisticated environment where applications can be designed to enable user interaction. In modern times, Windows hosting is ideal for personal sites, small businesses and large corporations alike.
Web hosting packages are backed by a variety of operating systems. Windows Server 2003 and Debian Linux are two of the most well-known examples. Although Windows is often looked down upon by Linux users, this platform offers a number of benefits to the potential webmaster. Despite the advancements, the Windows operating system still supports common scripts such as HTML and also more advanced languages like ASP and ASP.NET, which are Microsoft branded technologies.
Windows hosting makes use of a built-in technology known as IIS (Internet Information Server). IIS contains servers of its own and is responsible for serving pages to a web browser. When you visit a Windows hosted site on the web and are presented with content, your browser downloads those pages stored on a Windows server via IIS.
Choosing Windows or Linux
The choice of whether to host on a Windows or Linux platform basically boils down to proprietary technologies. If you feel that your site requires ASP or ASP.NET to be successful, the Windows environment would be more suitable. However, if you have a bit of experience designing web pages, these scripts may work on a Linux system as well. While Windows has its own brand of scripting languages, it also supports the common PHP language as well.
When hosting with Windows, you have numerous options for uploading your web pages to the server. Many providers offer a number of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) clients which can be used for this purpose. Another web building tool is Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver which allows you to upload directly from your offline applications.
Windows hosting also makes it easy to send and receive email. The average host will typically provide you with a number of accounts that can be set up rather quickly. Once your email accounts have been established, you can then use the Webmail interface to send and receive messages directly from your web browser. You can also integrate these accounts with popular Microsoft email applications like Outlook and Outlook Express.
Managing your Windows account is made easy with the implementation of quality control panel software. One of the most widely used control panels available for the Windows platform is Plesk, a comprehensive program designed by Sw-Soft. Plesk provides users with a web-based GUI (Graphical User Interface) that enables control over nearly every aspect of a website. You can create and manage your email accounts, handle domains and sub-domains, view website statistics, set permissions for HTML, ASP and PHP scripts, redirect requests, block IP addresses and much more.
There is really no right or wrong when it comes to Windows or Linux hosting. Both are quite reliable and include many great features and services to enhance your web appearance. While Linux tends to be more geared for small business, Windows is suited for small companies and large e-commerce sites just the same.