Catalysts of iron oxide on γ-alumina and silica which were prepared by an incipient wetness impregnation technique have been investigated in an effort to understand how the surface chemical properties are influenced by the nature of the supports. Surprisingly, this is the first study to compare in depth the influence of the supports on physicochemical parameters such as acidity, site nuclearity, and reducibility. In this study, surface characterisation techniques including N2 physisorption at -196 °C, ammonia temperature-programmed desorption, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, temperature-programmed reduction with hydrogen, CO-chemisorption, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and NO adsorption by in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy have been performed to understand the different surface reactions occurring over the two different supports. The aim of this study is to ascertain the primary differences between these two catalysts using several catalyst characterization techniques and correlate their chemical and structural differences to their catalytic activity in the conversion of 2-chlorophenol. The results disclose a higher density of acid sites, a smaller particle size of iron oxide, stabilization of Fe(II) aluminate after reduction on the alumina surface, and finally, the formation of isolated iron cations on the surface of alumina which are notably absent on the silica-supported catalyst.