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Thursday
Jul122007

Should I use LAMP or Windows?

Hi, I stumbled on your site and I am thinking about starting a website. I haven't received a good answer about what I should use to build it, so I thought I would give it a shot.

I am a windows guy. I know .Net and ASP and how to build web sites using that stack. But I notice most sites use LAMP and that's what most people talk about using. What's wrong with using Windows?

.Net Programmer

Reader Comments (5)

MySpace (http://highscalability.com/myspace-architecture) uses Windows as do many other websites, so from a technical POV there's no problem. The OS, IIS, .Net, and SQL Server all do the job. And especially since you are comfortable on that platform it makes excellent sense.

The only downside to Windows as a platform is cost. For new websites funding every dollar out of their own pocket, the incremental growth cost for Windows is much higher.

To grow with LAMP your cost is the cost of a new machine and rack space. To grow with Windows you are at a minimum paying license fees for SQL Server and server versions of the OS, which aren't cheap.

Some argue that Windows provides enough value that it's worth the money. Paying for tools that make you more productive is good business sense. But many people believe the LAMP stack is as functional if not more so than Windows, so technical advantage arguments don't tip the balance.

If you cost the options out and Windows works for your first X thousand users then you are set. Or if you lack LAMP administration experience your decision may be much easier :-) This website is run on a Windows VPS simply because that's the people we have to help with administration! Windows VPSs are substantially more expensive, so this isn't a minor consideration when deciding.

But the holy grail of low and predictable expansion costs is extremely attractive to your typical bootstrapping website creator, and that's why a lot of startups are drawn to LAMP.

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Hoff

I get asked this question all the time by my customers, and my answer is always the same. Use what you know.

In the end, it is you who will need to understand your application best, and instead of having a techie or developer tell you what is needed to take your business forward, you can contribute to those decisions better, as you understand the environment.

Today, in most hosting environments, it is around a 50/50 split between LAMP and Windows. This is because Microsoft is wanting to gain more market share in the hosted environment. Back in the day, LAMP was king.

But in the same breathe, it also depends what is best for your application. It is becoming quite common for businesses to take advantage of Open Source applications like MySQL on Windows with PHP. Obviously this cross platform deployments come with their own complexity, and if something went wrong, finding support or information on the internet can be difficult.

I always look at the overall picture of the solution. Microsoft has bundled their technologies to work very well with each other, like Active Directory, Exchange and SQL. So using those technologies will resolve 3 needs, authentication/security, email and database services. To give an example of the overall solution, are you wanting to provide a virtual office environment? Or simply provide a website for ecommerce purposes? The technologies to use for question 1 would clearly be Microsoft. For question 2, maybe a LAMP environment would be best suited.

I find it always boils down to budget. How much do you want to spend?

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered Commenterchadrodinis

> I get asked this question all the time by my customers, and my
> answer is always the same. Use what you know.

Excellent advice.

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Hoff

if you don't know either, which should you learn ;)

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered Commenterjay

LAMP is better. You will find it your best solution.

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterShelley

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