Any type of Web programming relies on the use of a platform, which consists of four major components: the operating system, the webserver technology, the underlying database, and the programming language. The platform I use and am semi-knowledgeable about is usually referred to as LAMP:
- Operating System: Linux or some other open-source version of Unix
- Webserver: Apache
- Database: MySQL
Of course, Windows-based servers are quite popular also and offer a valid platform choice. Likewise, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server and other databases are valid options. This site however, deals only with my knowledge, which is a LAMP platform.
The most obvious benefit for choosing a LAMP platform is cost. All four LAMP components are essentially free and thus are widely supported by most web hosting companies (or, alternatively, you can install them on your own server – but that is beyond the scope of this discussion). Another benefit of using LAMP is the fact that a large community of other users exist and thus getting support (formal and informal) is usually quite easy. Finally, a great many applications have been developed that run on a LAMP platform.