There's a difference?
Yup! there certainly is! chances are that you're on a shared hosting platform (like GoDaddy and Bluehost provide), and there are 2 different hosting platforms that both provide. Windows and Linux. Using the right one makes a huge difference in how well your site runs and how fast it can be. Choosing the wrong one can cause a number of compatibility and speed issues, that's a big frustration we see with our clients, hopefully we can help clear some of the confusion.
but I have a Windows computer so I definitely need Windows hosting, right?
STOP RIGHT THERE! Definitely not the case. If you're building a WordPress website, you'll want a Linux host. In fact, 90% of the time Linux hosting is the correct solution for your website. All the major CMS platforms run well on Linux: Joomla, WordPress, Magento, and Drupal and all designed for this kind of hosting. We call a Linux host a "LAMP Stack". That's short for Linux Apache PHP MySQL (L A M P). You'll find that most web applications these days are targeted for LAMP or a close variant.
So when do need Windows hosting?
If your website is built on ASP code. That's essentially the only time you'll need Windows as your web hosting operation system. If your website is using ASP your developer should know this already, if you are the developer then you definitely already know this. ASP is a powerful language provided by Microsoft, which is why it runs on a Window host. Currently ASP is less used in smaller business websites and more used in larger corporations where they already leverage the power of Microsoft tools and platforms. Chances are good you won't need ASP for your small to medium business website.
let's pretend none of this makes sense to me
no problem, this is why designers and developers exist, to help! ask your hosting company before making a purchase, speak to your developer/designer, or we'll be happy to give some free advice if you contact us on our website Bittersweet Pixels or feel free to reach out to us on Facebook/Twitter.