There are some questions the customer needs to answer before making the hosting decision, especially if VPS is one of the options being considered.
Windows or Linux?
Linux is the most popular operating system for Web servers and, because it’s the most popular, it has more of the features that web designers expect. It follows that, if you ask a hosting server or a web designer which operating system you should use, you’ll get the answer “Linux” more often than not.
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple (when is it ever?) There are a number of applications which are Windows applications and require a Windows server. They are:
- ASP Classic
- MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
- MS Access (Microsoft Access)
- Visual Basic Development
- Remote Desktop (dedicated server only)
Those applications are common, so now we have shifted from the position of “Better use Linux” to “Better use Windows”. But it isn’t that simple, either, because either or both of these require that the operating system be Linux:
- SSH; and
- Scripts or applications that require specific Apache modules
What it comes down to, then, is a very careful examination of what sort of applications are going to be run now and what sort of applications might be needed in the future?
Managed or Unmanaged?
The difference between managed and unmanaged networks has been discussed on a separate page but needs to be considered again here. Opting for managed hosting means that the hosting service deals with everything to do with the server. With unmanaged hosting, it’s the user who has to take responsibility. A user who opts for unmanaged hosting needs to be quite certain that the user’s staff can handle absolutely everything to do with running the service and is entirely at home not just with packaged software but also with the command line.