Linux Hosting - In very basic terms, Linux hosting is open-source and is often cheaper than other hosting options. In comparison to Windows-based hosting, it is much more cost effective and versatile. Linux has also gained a solid reputation in network stability and speed. This essentially means that Linux servers tend to crash less often than Windows servers. On top of that, Linux servers tend to run complex server processes faster than Windows hosting services.
Linux hosting's versatile nature seems to know few bounds. Linux hosting supports just about any database, software, programming language, or application imaginable. This inclues everything from PHP, Perl and SQL to PostGRE and PostGRE SQL. The main downside to using Linux hosting is if your organization relies heavily on Microsoft-based server application. This means that Linux will not be compatible with Access, ASP or MS SQL.
Windows Hosting - One of the main distinctions is that Windows hosting can run virtually any type of Microsoft-based application, database or programming language. This is mainly beneficial to those organizations running server technology within a Microsoft based platform. Additionally, Windows hosting services provide web developers with resources relating to Microsoft programming environments. This generally includes visual basic scripts, Active Server Pages (ASP), and MS Index Server. The main downside to this type of hosting is that using Windows as a hosting platform is significantly more expensive than Linux hosting. But if your server platform is based in the Microsoft environment then it is definitely worth the expense. Since Microsoft actively boasts itself as a closed platform, using Windows hosting is the only way to manage Microsoft based server technology.
This largely depends on your company's specific needs, and whether or not your organization needs a dedicated server. This can also change dramatically from provider to provider. In short, dedicated hosting means that your organization rents a server at a third-party location, and no one else has access to it. Since Linux is 100% open-source, the costs for running a dedicated server are much lower than other types of closed-platform server management systems.
The short answer is no. Windows hosting exists primarily as a means to offer support to Microsoft-based system management applications, software, operating systems and databases. Some common Microsoft based applications, operating systems and databases include: Microsoft Access, MS SQL, ASP, Visual Interdev and VB development tools.