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I probably should have asked this question a LONG time ago and I expect to be laughed out of this forum, but I NEED find the answer to this seemingly rudimentary question...

If I intend to host a .NET web application, why would I want to use Windows Server as opposed to plain vanilla Windows? Plain vanilla Windows has IIS so it obviously is capable of serving up web pages to some degree. I can only assume there are some limitations - what are they? Licensing? Limited number of connections? I can't seem to find any decent documentation on this. Can anyone shed some light on this topic for me or point me in the direction of some documentation?


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Duplicate of SO – gbn Sep 13 '09 at 19:15
Seeing as I wrote the "duplicate", I'm aware. I was told to ask on SF since this is more in your realm. And look, I got a better answer than I did on SO. – James Jones Sep 13 '09 at 19:45
If it is a good answer, you should accept it. – John Kraft Sep 13 '09 at 21:00
Be aware that there is no such thing as "plain vanilla Windows". Most will assume you are talking about one of the numerous workstation versions, although it's impossible to guess which one, but assumption is the mother of all stuff-ups. Be clear about what you are asking. – John Gardeniers Sep 13 '09 at 21:34
@John Kraft I like to give it 24 hours to give most users a chance to contribute. – James Jones Sep 14 '09 at 1:38
up vote 5 down vote accepted

IIS is artificially limited (features, performance) in consumer OSes, keeping licenses cheap. See "IIS 7.0 Editions and Windows" for more details (

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Great answer. Thanks! – James Jones Sep 14 '09 at 2:21

In addition, Windows Server kernel is tuned for better background task performance than desktop Windows.

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