Linux or Windows server platform?
First the operating system and server (the physical machine) that serves up your web site to the internet has nothing to do with your home computer or any computer you use to develop your web site or it's content! Some people are pushed by emotional blackmail and ignorance to think that because they use a Microsoft operating system (OS) at home they can only trust a "windows" server platform. This is nonsense!
With a Microsoft Windows operating system (any of them) you can use Dreamweaver or Frontpage to develop your web site and upload it onto a UNIX based hardware server running Linux operating system which uses "APACHE web server" to serve your web site to the world over the internet. There is nothing that can be done with Windows "IIS (Internet Information Server) web server" that can't be done on a Linux server for a lot less money.
There are big advantages to using the UNIX/Linux/Apache framework.
Linux support php/MySql where Windows server supports asp/MSsql. Anything you can do with one, you can do with the other. These are scripting/programming/database platforms for developing dynamic web sites and incorporating database driven applications over the internet.
However, with php/MySql there are enormous FREE open source educational material, tutorials, FREE code and FREE applications available all over the internet you can incorporate into your site and web development. With Microsoft's asp/MSsql, and I do mean Microsoft owns it, there is little to nothing free, not to mention these technologies, as all Microsoft technologies are designed to steer users toward more expensive technologies and expenses from which Microsoft generates it's enormous profits. The first thing you'll notice is that windows servers costs more money on a monthly basis to use for web hosting. But what you can't see in the short run, is that as you invest in their technologies, you will become more dependent on their technology because that's what you're learning to use, and to continue investing in their tools and resources will cost a great deal more money down the road. In effect, this will institutionalize you like someone in prison who can't make it on the outside, because they've been in prison too long.
The fact that windows server doesn't support php/MySql is usually the first thing that turns people away, even before the initial increased monthly costs associated with using their server platforms.
Windows servers will talk up the fact that you can use MS Access created databases with their platform as a plus. However, what they don't tell you is that using Access databases over the internet is extremely inefficient, and really only feasible for small databases. The larger the database gets, the worse it performs. In the long run there is no point investing in a technology, such as MS Access for the internet, when you know it will eventually become useless.
UNIX systems, the physical machines, were designed from the beginning to be servers. Operating systems for UNIX servers were designed from the beginning for servers and server functions. In both of these respects, Windows architecture first developed for personal computer systems and have worked backwards from there toward server functions. This is one of the reasons UNIX has always been cheaper and a more well developed server technology.
You may have heard of Microsoft Frontpage "server extensions." Both Linux and windows servers support them, including our own TechSelfHelp web hosting, which is UNIX, Linux, Apache based web hosting. Let me say this again, "Linux web hosting supports Frontpage server extensions, Frontpage protected directories and anything you can do with Frontpage..
When compared, there are really only 2 issues. Cost and php/MySql support.
Linux is cheaper for your monthly cost of web hosting and doesn't steer users toward and doesn't require investing your time and money in more expensive technologies down the road. Investing in the more expensive, is disinvesting from the cheaper down the road, because when you change your mind down the road, you will have to learn to use the UNIX/Linux/Apache tools and resources. Don't waste your time figuring this out the hard way.
Even if you are a millionaire and money doesn't matter, the fact that Windows server doesn't support php/MySql is more than enough reason to choose UNIX Linux/Apache for your web hosting needs.
Most web hosting on the internet today is through UNIX Linux/Apache servers, not windows servers. Even web hosting companies that sell windows server based web hosting usually sell UNIX Linux/Apache based web hosting as well. Compared to windows server, the Linux servers are so cheap they have no reason not to offer it as well. And if you use Linux web hosting they have no excuse not to pass the savings on to you.