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Q: What is the difference between NT and UNIX?

Microsoft Windows NT and Unix (of which there are many varieties, or flavors, including Red Hat Linux, AIX, Solaris and more) are computer operating systems. Both Windows NT Server and quality Unix implementations are enterprise application servers that can be used for a variety of critical purposes, including, but not limited to, Web, email, and database hosting. Windows NT was developed by Microsoft and is, in many ways, the flagship of their software solutions. Microsoft spends millions of dollars developing and supporting Windows NT.

UNIX's development roots begin about twenty years ago - jointly at Berkeley University and AT&T Bell Labs. UNIX is often referred to as an "open system", which means that its source code is publicly available. This has both its advantages and disadvantages. While it has allowed many thousands of developers from all over the world working for different companies to contribute to its development, it is also more complex and less coordinated.

Both of these operating systems make excellent platforms for mission-critical Web hosting, and they function well in the data center environment. Some individuals and organizations feel very strongly in favor of one operating system over another. At we, we fully support both platforms in order to provide a complete line that satisfies all of our clients. When choosing a platform, please keep the following points in mind:

  • FrontPage is fully supported under NT only.
  • ASP functionality is supported under NT only.
  • Active X is supported under NT only.
  • Remote interactive access, via telnet or SSH is only supported under UNIX. Generally one is able to do more configuration/setup tasks themselves rather than having to request services from us.
  • The majority of existing CGI programs (generally perl scripts) that are available on the Internet have been developed on UNIX platforms and hence tend to install and operate much more smoothly under UNIX.
  • Relational Database systems (SQL servers) databases are supported only under UNIX at this time. If you are considering MS Access Database, then NT is the proper platform. We do plan on offering MS SQL on our NT platform within the coming months.
  • The use of compiled executable programs via CGI or SSI are supported only under UNIX.
The bottom line is that for many Websites the operating system on which the Web server is housed is largely inconsequential. The real question is, "Are you using a specific Website or database technology that is more appropriately hosted on NT instead of UNIX (or vice versa)?" We is proud to offer Web hosting on both platforms in an effort to provide hosting solutions for any Website needs. If you have further questions about what platform is best suited for your needs, please contact our support department at or call toll-free, 1-888-250-8100. We will be happy to help!
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