The answer to this question may be obvious for experienced webmaster, but may be difficult for newbie. Here we will try to show difference between two popular hosting platforms - UNIX and Windows, that are supported by most providers. So, let us start.
Convenience of the platform:
Lately providers tried to make everything for clients to feel comfortable both using Unix and Windows. Today if we speak about convenience and ease of use for server purposes, there is not too much difference between these platforms. If you are familiar with shell and it is convenient to you, choose Unix. However, both platforms have convenient graphical panels with web interface.
IT specialists vote for Unix here. However, personal experience of many users show that Windows is not too far from Unix in terms of reliability. Reliability mainly is affected by the competence of administrators.
There is no real difference between those two platforms when we speak about server response times and quickness of task completion.
This is the parameter that differs the platforms the most. However there are not too many tasks that can be performed by one platform and cannot be performed on another. The main difference is in applications that you use and the convenience of those application.
Price is vital for many clients and here many prefer Unix for the reason that most Unix products can be installed free of charge, while you will certainly have to spend some money for Windows license.