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Web Hosting - Linux or Windows?


Eric
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I'm curious if anyone can help me. I'm looking to setup a small-business website, and I'm not sure if I should get a Linux or Windows server. I want the ability to upload project files for team members to access and have full access to, so basically a secure ftp login, and it would be great if it could be accessed via Windows Explorer. I'd love to have some ASP stuff, but I'm just not up to speed on the coding to forsee adding that. Can I do the above mentioned ftp stuff with the Linux server? They seem to be cheaper than Windows servers.

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Cheaper yes, If you don't know linux you might be up a creek without a paddle. I went with some recommendations from some guys on this board for a small business website of mine, and I've been so happy. I had NEVER done a website before. But I went with a certain vendor and who had great value for my money. I spent one entire Saturday making my website and an extra few hours learning how to upload it to their servers etc... Pretty easy. Ease of use was the name of the game with my webhost.

 

Chris J.

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I wouldnt host a website locally. There are services for that which are capable of serving loads you could never do with a local server. On top of that, your local broadband isnt intended to serve files. Most agreements actually forbid it.

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Hey Eric,

 

I'm guessing you are looking for a shared server or cost would not be your primary concern.

 

If you are not familair with web programming, it is something you can learn, but you need to ask yourself how much time you have to learn it. Backend database development and middleware programming is not something you can usually pick up in a weekend unless you are already an experience programmer in some other language and have a firm grasp of how the internet works.

 

Windows vs Linux: As far as middleware goes you use Linux if you want to use PHP (middleware) and mySQL (database) and Windows if you want to use ASP, ASP.NET, Cold Fusion (middleware) and MSSQL (database). Windows all around is more expensive because the software hosts have to buy is more expensive. Linux is cheaper becuase the OS, the middleware and the database are all free opensource applications. Things are changing but for the most part you will find most large corporations use Windows servers and technology to support their sites. CGarchitect is ASP/MSSQL, but only because that is what I learned on.

 

While it may seem trivial now, don't take your decision too lightly as once you adopt a platform and start to develop applications or purchase applications for that platform, you will be less likely to switch down the road. While it would be much cheaper for me to run CGA on PHP/mySQL/Linux I've invested so much time and money into ththe windows platform already that switching is not really an option. Think about where your site and needs will be 5 years from now and base your decision on that. If all you will every need it a simple HTML website and an FTP, then go Linux, otherwise weigh the options and potential costs carefully.

 

As far as getting you up and running right now and assuming you choose the windows platform, I would recomend a hosted solution/application that will give you project management and document sharing features. It sounds like that is what you are after. CGA is hosted at Alentus (www.alentus.com) and they offer Sharepoint for a pretty reasonable fee. http://www.alentus.com/hosting/sharepoint.asp

 

There are also tons of other aplications available too, but most require you to have a dedicated server, so I would hunt around for a host that offers sharepoint or similar services. For ASP/ASP.net Alentus (www.alentus.com) and MaximumASP (www.maximumasp.com) are the best out there hands down.

 

One thing I will mention is that in webhosting YOU ALWAYS WITHOUT EXCEPTION get what you pay for. If you get cheap, your service will be poor and site reliability will be bad. 96% uptime sounds great, but means your site is down for an hour every day of the month! If you take no other advice, believe me when I tell you that you get what you pay for with webhosts. :)

 

Feel free to post any other questions you might have, I'm pretty up to speed with most things internet. ;)

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Just one thing to add on to Jeff's comments regarding shared servers -

 

There are a lot of good shared web services out there, but take the time to compare the features that are offered and go find some user reviews. The biggest fault with the shared servers is that the cheapest ones lump all of their clients together, sometimes hosting 25,000 accounts.

 

Back in April I had to change services because that slew of e-mail viruses actually choked the mail server, so every e-mail had a 7 hour wait in the queue. Best recommendation is to look for services that only put a limited number of accounts per server.

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I guess I should have made myself a little more clear in my original post. I am looking at a shared server, a hosting service. I am capable of designing and creating my own html or flash website, but I want to have it hosted by someone else. The options were Linux and Windows. I'd like to implement some ASP features, but I just don't know enough about it to be able to code a working database-driven page, so it's really probably just more trouble than its worth I think. I've bought a couple of books and done several tutorials, but ASP just seems a little out of my artistic thought processes.

 

It's also a seedling of a company, so funds are not flowing well yet, and cost is an issue. Thanks for the link Jeff. I opened it, but haven't had any time to look at it this morning. Fires are popping up all around me!! I did a search for web hosting and got lots of links, but you never know which ones to stay away from. Good to have a reference for a host!

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