NT / Windows 2000 Web Hosting Explained

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From its first release back in 1993, Windows NT Server was, arguably, the first networking operating system whose main focus was ease of use. When it was released as a partner product with Windows 3.1, Windows was the standard operating system for the vast majority of PC users and the new NT setup requirements were not considered too difficult. Because of that, it was easy for many users and companies to take the next step to a more powerful, more robust operating system. NT is easier to administer than a UNIX based OS and allowed for a lower level of technical expertise. Unfortunately, as Microsoft aims NT at the same market segment now occupied by UNIX, it becomes more complex and correspondingly more difficult to administer.

Microsoft's Windows NT provides a full GUI (Graphical User Interface) for the bulk of its setup configurations. Unlike many OS (except perhaps for the Windows 9x series) Windows NT setup comes in twos. The first pass, copies the bulk of files needed for installation to the hard drive. The second run through, the actual installation is performed. Windows NT, unlike its Windows 9x predecessors, does not support plug and play applications, but it does support auto-detection. On the other hand, Windows 2000, the latest NT version, supports Plug and Play with even more hardware support than Windows 98 second edition.

Windows NT is compatible with Intel and RISC processors, thus allowing for expanded platform support. However, just because NT works with RISCs doesn't necessarily mean its applications do. When buying a dedicated server that happens to have a RISC platform, make sure that all pertinent applications work with it.
Windows NT is a good OS with a lot of well thought out features. Many of its downsides can be easily fixed. Microsoft usually posts service packs in the case of known security problems. When adding protocols to a NT server, make sure a backup server is up and running to carry the slack of the down computer when restarting is required.

When choosing NT for your web site, make sure your vendor understands the ins and outs of the OS and are competent in their job to administer the inner workings. When choosing a dedicated server OS, Windows NT makes sense if you have a great deal of Windows compatible applications, documents, and forms and changing over to another system would not only waste money, but waste time in learning new applications.

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