Quick Guide to Windows vs. UNIX Web Hosting


By Norman Brauns

Is your hosting server compatible with your site? This is one important question, website owners often forget to ask. Which operating system is best for hosting your website – UNIX or Windows? These two are the most common operating systems. Each comes with a variety of features, and each has its own unique set of pros and cons.

Choosing an operating system is not a decision to be taken lightly, since the OS you opt for will determine your site’s script. To make your choice easier we’ve compared the two systems. Before we begin, check out this short video for a quick explanation on Linux (or UNIX) and Windows servers. All done? Let’s dig in then and see which OS comes out on top.


Both platforms are highly capable of supporting your servers whether you go for shared, VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting. Both UNIX and Windows claim to have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, although UNIX (and Linux) hosting systems are typically more stable than those run by Windows, especially when the server is under strain.

Customer service reports show Windows platforms have a tendency to buckle, and require more frequent reboots. UNIX servers, on the other hand, rarely have the same problem; they tend to be more reliable with higher availability.


Windows is the obvious choice if you have specific scripts you want to use, such as VisualBasic and .NET, that only work with the Windows hosting platform. However, the majority of scripts and software the average user is likely to come across will be supported by UNIX. In fact, these days, new open-source software is usually developed with UNIX in mind.

So, unless you are aware of specific Microsoft-powered scripts you might need, the safest bet here would be a UNIX server. Moreover, in case you change your mind, it’s easier to move a site hosted on a UNIX server to a Windows server, than the other way around. 

Unix web hosting


Windows hosting is significantly pricier than UNIX. If you decide to go with Windows hosting, you’ll need to pay the cost of the server licenses for Windows and the applications you’ll be using along with it. UNIX, on the other hand, is entirely free and open-source.

Bottom Line

To sum things up, when comparing Windows vs. UNIX web hosting, it all comes down to the applications you’ll be using on your server. If you’re developing with Visual Basic or .NET, Windows is the way to go. UNIX, however seems to win out in cost, reliability and versatility and so, for the vast majority of users UNIX is hands down the best choice. Plus, it’s easier to switch from UNIX to Windows later on, if needed.

Searching for a cheaper hosting plan? Check out our feature comparison of cheap hosting services

Advertising Disclosure

This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the rating that is assigned to them. To the extent that ratings appear on this site, such rating is determined by our subjective opinion and based on a methodology that aggregates our analysis of brand market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, compensation paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including pricing, which appears on this site is subject to change at any time.

Best Web Hosting Companies

Must Reads