Home Web Servers, Part 2: Software and Maintenance - Operating Systems
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In this category, there are really just two possibilities for use on a home Web server: Windows and Linux. Each has its own pros and cons. However, independent of those pros and cons, the type of scripting software you plan to use will have a large impact on this decision. If you want to run any type of Microsoft scripting, it is best to go with a Microsoft OS. All of Microsoft’s software is designed to run together on one unified platform, so there is less “kludging” when running their software on a Windows platform than when trying to get either ports or open source implementations of ASP or ASP.NET scripting engines to run on a Linux platform. In general, most open source or “Linux-type” things you would want to run on a Web server have a Windows binary that works well. However, as mentioned above, the opposite is not always the case.
Linux, on the other hand, does have a significant advantage over Windows in terms of price, since there are many free Linux distributions available, and just about any of them will work fine for running a home Web server. Many people will also make stability and security arguments for Linux, which there may or may not be sufficient evidence to support. However, if you are comfortable with Linux, or wish to learn system administration on Linux, this is a great path to take. There is also much to be said for running open source software together on Linux as a unified platform the same way you would run Microsoft software together as a unified platform.
In the end, the OS choice is really something that has been hashed and re-hashed on every forum on the Internet, so make the choice based on your own preferences and what scripting software you want to run.
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