One of most confusing decisions someone new to web hosting will have to make is which platform their server should be on. There are a number of different choices out there but main two are Linux and Windows web servers. There are also a lot of sources of information about hosting, but majority of them are tainted by author's biased personal opinion unfortunately confusing issue. Having just put in some solid hours researching topic I have come to conclusion that in general it quite probably does not matter which server you use. For majority of people it will be far more important to choose a really good web host than to worry about server-type that they implement.
Microsoft developed and owns Windows operating system. Linux is open source and generally free. This means it can often be more expensive to set up and run a Windows server. However, this fact doesn't really affect you unless you are actually setting up a server for yourself and if you're reading this article then I'm guessing that it's safe to assume you're not. This article is going to offer information for those trying to decide which hosting company to go with. The cost involved in running a server does not affect cost of a web-hosting package as much as you may think. Despite general opinion that Windows servers are more expensive to run, buying a Windows hosting package can often turn out to be just as cheap or even cheaper than an equivalent Linux hosting package.
Some people naturally assume that because their PC runs Windows they need to buy a Windows hosting package. This isn't true. Access to your web account will most likely be through FTP or a control panel and both servers support these methods. The main difference is that some of FTP commands are slightly different between Linux and Windows and some FTP programs will be designed with one or other in mind. This means you may occasionally find that when you try and get your FTP program to do something it returns an error message, but it won't happen very often.
Your choice of server platforms should be dictated by use to which you intend to put it. The majority of web features run fine on both platforms including PHP, mySQL, POP3 etc. If you intend to create your site using ASP, FrontPage, .NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MSSQL, or any of other Microsoft proprietary technologies then you probably need to use a Windows host. There is limited support for a number of these technologies in Linux, but they can be expensive and are usually lacking in features. It is probably worth considering fact that if you use server specific technologies and then change hosts you'll have a much harder time of it than if you use technologies that can be run on any system. Having it run generic technologies removes need to focus on specifics and allows you to focus on quality of service itself.