The Top Web Servers in the Market - Which OS Should You Use With Your Web Server?
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If your website gets (or you anticipate that it will get) a large amount of page views on a regular basis, then you should investigate Web servers that can handle this load. Servers should be scalable and able to adjust to changing levels of requests. Good servers will also have load-balancing capabilities and offer functionality to continue to serve pages even under extreme conditions.
Unix and Linux are two of the most popular operating systems for Web servers. It is generally agreed that the Unix family of operating systems are generally more secure than any other OS. They are also scalable for serving lots of page views.
Windows 2000/2003 and NT are also popular choices for Web server operating systems. They offer a familiar interface for IT managers and can be easier to install and set up than Unix Web servers. You should be very careful when using servers on these operating systems, however. Some of the more popular servers are also prime targets for hackers. Servers on Windows are also often not as scalable for serving lots of page views.
But Microsoft claims that Windows 2003 server is much more secure than any other Windows OS. In general, if you always upgrade to the latest service packs and patches, the chances of risk are quite low.
Besides the Windows server, Microsoft also offers ISA server (Internet Security and Accelerator server), which makes the Windows server highly secure. In addition to security, it offers server side caching for the Web, which in turn, improves responsiveness.
Let us consider a small example. Say we developed an application using .NET platform with SQL Server as the database. In this situation, the development platform, deployment platform, database, and Web server are tightly integrated with native Windows architecture. It is always suggested to use the Windows platform to support these types of situations. Similarly, if the whole development platform is on Java, it is best to select the Sun Java System Web Server (or other related product).
But all platforms have their own pros and cons. To be frank, none of them are perfect in every respect. Depending on our own needs, scalability, and other future issues, we generally settle upon one environment. Even so, sometimes a mixed environment is an excellent choice to solve some of the core issues. For example, you can arrange to have a Linux server as a firewall and use a Windows-based Web server as well.
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