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Hosting Choice – Linux Vs Windows

When choosing a web hosting operating system, there is always a struggle as to which one – Linux and Windows – will provide the best web hosting solution. Just like your desktop or laptop requires an operating system to work and run applications, your web server too needs an operating system that can manage various applications on both a multi-user and multi-tasking basis. If you already have a preference while choosing the OS for your web hosting, you decide it accoringly. The OS of the server that will be hosting the client’s web site is important for a number of reasons. The operating system has an effect on server uptime and reliability, hosting price, the amount of administration the client has to put into the site and server, the applications that can be used on the site and much more. Just because your PC runs on windows does not mean you need to buy a hosting package that uses Windows servers. There are other options out there-this article is not about proving that one OS is better or worse than another, a guldline to choose the right one.





This is an important feature that we always look when we are searching for an hosting plan. You expect high traffic: If your site attracts lot of visitors, Linux may be a better option. As an operating system, Linux uses a lot less in the way of server resources than Windows does. This means that more resources can be dedicated to your sites applications, processing and serving pages to site visitors. If we analyze the uptime and response speed per each Operating System, Linux is ahead of Windows every week by more than 0.5% in the case of uptime. For your understanding 0.5% downtime means 50 minutes per week.



2. Response Time


Another important parameter is the response time – how long it takes for a user to get a webpage after submitting the http request. Linux is ahead of Windows by around 50 milliseconds faster response. This also shows that Linux based servers provide better availability and response speed than Windows servers.



3. Knowledge


This will give advantage to the Windows OS compared to linux operating systems, because most of the people are using Windows systems as their PC operating systems. We know that windows is more user friendly than the linux systems, so in this case if you don’t want to hire an extra person just to manage a Linux server and also don’t want to pay extra for consultants, it’s a good idea to stick to Windows. Even though you are an expert in linux, the self server management is more easier if you choose windows because of the point I mention earlier.



4. Cost


When you are planning to select an OS that suits your website hosting, one thing you must put in mind: the expense, because you have to pay monthly/yearly for hosting your site. Linux will be the less expensive option for any basic website. The main reason is that it is an open source operating system. Most web hosts spend less money on software licenses when providing services on the Linux machines than on the Windows machines. So they are taking the license money from us.



5. Server Access


With either a Windows or a Linux plan, you will have FTP access to your files. FTP allows you to transfer your files from your computer hard drive to the web server. Only on Linux, will you have SSH access. SSH offers the ability to open a window directly to the web server and directly manage files using Unix commands.



6. Server Security


Server security is a major concern in the case of hosting. Many people consider Linux to be more secure than Windows, however, both operating systems are equally secure. Security really has more to do with the server setup and administrators running the server. All managed servers are maintained with the latest security and performance patches and configured for optimal security. Security is more important at the hosting service’s administration level than it is at the operating system level. If you have good administrators, your server will be more secure – regardless of OS.



7. Scripting


The real difference between the two systems lies in the scripting languages that Windows and Linux use in webpage production. PHP scripting is more often found on Linux systems, while ASP scripting is more often found on Windows. While CGI and Perl access are often found on both Windows and Linux servers, it is more typically found on Linux. Bottom line; you should choose a Linux Hosting account if you’re going to use PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, or CGI scripting. Or, choose a Windows Hosting account if you’re going to use ASP, ASP.NET, or ASP.NET 2.0.



8. Databases


The two most popular databases are mySQL and Access. MySQL runs on both Linux and Windows, but is more associated with Linux servers. Meanwhile, Access is a Windows product that is only available for Windows. MSSQL is another product that is also available for Windows. The website developer should determine his or her technology of choice before choosing a plan. Under a Linux plan, you can choose a PHP/MySQL combination. With a Windows plan, an ASP/Access or ASP/MySQL combination would be used.



9. Control Panels


Windows servers and Linux servers use different control panels. cPanel is available on all Linux-based hosting plans, such as Linux Shared, Reseller, VPS and Linux Dedicated Servers. Plesk is available on Windows Shared, Windows Dedicated Servers and VPS.



10. Easy to move between hosts


A web site designed to be hosted on a Linux based web server can be hosted on a Windows web server easily, where as the reverse is not always true.



11. No need of compatibility


Some people are concerned that if they use a system that is different from that of their web host, the two systems will not be “compatible”. This is a needless worry. You are not going to run anything from your computer on your web host’s system, nor is anything from your web host’s system going to run on your own computer.



The above is a very rough outline on linux and windows OS comparison in hosting , if you have any questions, we would be happy to talk to you! 🙂

About the Author :

Ajith A works as a Software Engineer in Bobcares. He joined Bobcares in May 2012. He loves dancing and listening to music in his free time.





Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.