Choosing the right web server will largely come down to 2 factors, application and budget.
Linux or Windows?
The first choice when considering a new server is to choose your operating system. You can either choose Windows or Linux. This is where application comes in, if you intend to use PHP, MYSQL, Python or Perl then you would be looking for a Linux Server, running ASP, ASP.NET, Access and MSSQL then you will be looking for a Windows Server (PHP and MYSQL can be run on Windows but it’s more typical to choose Linux). The requirements of your server will depend on the software you intend to run.
WordPress, for instance, would require PHP and MYSQL and run on Linux. Many WYSIWYG programs such as Dreamweaver also require Linux. Generally, you find most open source platforms are Linux-based. Microsoft servers would be chosen in the case of software running on ASP,ASP.NET and if there is a need for both ASP, ASP.NET and PHP, MYSQL.
Linux is the more popular choice of server running on 70% of websites and is well suited to blogs, e-commerce, content management and forums. Windows makes it possible to have conception frameworks and has an advantage when linking your website to an internal infrastructure running on Windows.
Both web servers work with any PC, Mac, Linux computer and are capable of hosting large websites. The computer operating system you use is not a consideration when choosing a web server.
Cloud or Dedicated?
The second choice you face when choosing a server is dedicated or cloud. A dedicated server is a physical server in a rack at the data centre. It can offer more power and speed than a cloud solution however it’s harder to upgrade/ downgrade than a cloud server and offers less flexibility, dedicated servers are normally only used for demanding environments and are more expensive to run.
A cloud server is in comparison a more affordable option and is used by many SME’s. They offer similar performance to a dedicated server but instead of being in a physical rack they reside on a shared virtualized environment and you are sharing the cost of hardware with other users. One of the key benefits is that a cloud server is that it’s scalable to your needs and easy to upgrade/downgrade with minimal downtime.