Web Hosting on a UNIX Server

UNIX is a portable, multi-tasking and multi-user computer operating system originally developed by a group at AT&T Bell Labs.

  • UNIX can communicate with many different types of computers, it is not limited to a specific brand, type, or operating system.
  • Most UNIX operating systems come with a free email program called Sendmail.
  • UNIX provides tight administrative control, it has a mechanism for limiting a user’s disk usage in addition to passwords and file permissions.
  • UNIX allows shared network filesystems to be mounted at any point in a directory structure. A network share can also span multiple disk drives (or even different machines) in UNIX, thus allowing administrators to maintain pre-existing directory structures that are well-known to users, yet allowing them to expand the available disk space on the server, making such system changes transparent to users.
  • UNIX was conceived as a client/server operating system for professional use.
  • UNIX operating systems are equipped with scripting languages such as Bourne Shell, Korn Shell, C Shell, and sometimes Perl, and a “cron” facility for scheduling jobs to run at fixed intervals (every n minutes, every n hours, once a week, once a month, etc.). Cron scheduling is highly configurable.
  • A great deal of UNIX system administration is automated and customized for site-specific needs, which in effect cuts down on personnel costs.

What companies are using UNIX?

The exact number and type of companies using UNIX servers is difficult to determine however a partial list is below.

Cisco Systems, Several Universities, NASA, Boeing, Amazon.com, Dow Corning, Hotmail, United States Postal Service

Strengths vs. Windows hosting

In a Comparison of Web Hosting Platforms Unix is the most widely used operating system for Internet servers.

  • UNIX allows for more flexibility in web site use. The functionality of UNIX allows for more users to access the site and the site features without bogging down.
  • UNIX is reliable and stable. No more ‘blue screen of death’. A UNIX server’s uptime can be measured in years whereas a Windows server has to be rebooted frequently. This translates directly into monies earned as who knows how many transactions you are missing while your server is down.
  • UNIX has secure systems less vulnerable to attack and has proven dependable. The Windows OS is more vulnerable to security breaches and hackers and is less portable.
  • You need technical expertise to run a Unix server while Windows server management is easier to learn and someone with little experience can use advance features quickly.
  • Because it is open-source there are many free server applications available and Unix handles high traffic more efficiently. Windows server software on the other hand is more expensive.