Bluehost is a 100% linux shop. EVERYTHING we run is on linux and we love it. I think it is infinitely more stable and less expensive to maintain that windows. Even though 95% of our users run Windows in one form or another, many don’t know that Linux is what powers their website (Even their frontpage extensions).
I am not one of those “windows haters”. I choose linux because I believe it is technically superior to windows, not because of philosophical reasons. That being said, there are products out there that people need to host on their sites that are windows specific. Some of these include .Net support, ASP Support, Cold Fusion, SQL Server (Microsoft only product), etc. Although there are various degrees of success with making some of these products work on Linux, they are half baked in my opinion. To truely support these products you HAVE to use windows as the host operating system.
SO, the question is do we want to do windows hosting or not? The answer is… Drumroll… MAYBE. There are many things to consider when doing windows hosting. First, I think the web hosting control panels available for windows are weaker than what we currently offer at bluehost. Second, the cost for hosting on windows is more than linux because we have to pay for Databases, the Windows 2003 server operating system, and other propriety (Read NON FREE) software.
Microsoft has determined that we are now a top 50 hosting company in the world. They have also noticed that we host zero sites on the windows platform. Microsoft KNOWS that the hosting companies are going to drive a huge segment of users to the OS that they host their site on. Let me explain… If a user hosts with us on Linux and see that we offer PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby of Rails as programming languages then they will probably choose one of those to develop in. The problem is Microsoft doesn’t own any of those, and so loses control of the customer at that point. They aren’t stupid! Call Microsoft what you want, but they know how to aquire customers, and how to compete in the marketplace.
So, Microsoft has decided to “help us along” to get windows hosting up and going. I will leave the details out on my blog, but lets just say they have decided to be very aggressive and generous to us if we decide to do windows hosting. That is fine and dandy, but I ALWAYS put the customer first. If we do windows hosting it will be because we are offering a product that a segment of our customers want. It won’t be because Microsoft bribed me to do it.
If we do get windows hosting up and going, and it proves to be a superior product then we will of course push it aggressively for our customers. Those are two GIANT IFS in my opinion. Regardless, we are considering adding windows hosting to our already successful hosting services. If you have comments or would be interested in windows specific hosting I would like to hear your opinions. Bluehost’s customers are what matter, and I would be doing this for you when it is all said and done.
Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com