Web hosting companies typically give clients two server options: Linux and Windows. Those wondering which is the best option, most often find Linux to be markedly better suited to server use than Windows. Linux servers have been known to run without failure for years at a time, but that is not where Linux’s merits end.

Cost Considerations

Windows is proprietary software belonging to Microsoft and has license fees for its usage, meaning web hosts spend more to run Windows-based web servers. To keep costs down for their clients, most hosting companies are partial to Linux, since it is an open source OS, making it free to use. Some equate free with inferior, but this is not the case, as most system administrators agree that a Linux hosting platform bestows a low-cost solution without jeopardizing reliability.

Evaluating Web Host Support

When comparing Linux and Windows, one must not cast aside the importance of also evaluating the level of support their web host provides. The truth is, Linux servers are generally more reliable, so support from companies using Linux servers is normally ahead of the field. Linux’s degree of reliability means hosts using Linux are not overwhelmed with service requests. If issues arise, webmasters appreciate a fast response time in most instances.

Performance and stability must also be taken into account, and hosting packages which include Linux-based servers continually perform better than Windows servers. Linux’s stability is commendable as it does not freeze up or slow down over time. Also, Linux web servers do not experience a high rate of memory leaks, and users can expect uptimes that are superior to other servers.

Security Considerations

A common complaint about Windows security is that because the MS and the OS programs are all interdependent, it can be less complicated for a hacker to command control of the entire server. Linux web hosting gives users a robust platform in the areas of data safety and steadiness. Because Linux is a completely open source OS, many believe this architecture leads to vulnerabilities, but a legion of programmers is fast to act on security threats to prevent hackers from attacking the system. Keep in mind that in the end, the expertise of the web host managing your account is the most critical security element. Asking questions about security protocols is key, whether you opt for a Linux or Windows hosting environment.

Functionality and Performance

Because the Linux OS was designed by a group of programmers, it is made to furnish outstanding network functionality. Installing Linux is simple, as it is one of the most user-friendly installations, making it a great fit for the needs of web hosting companies. Linux provides a flexible hosting environment with a wealth of high-performance applications. Linux servers are ideal for network backups, but one of the greatest advantages is the ability to save disk space. Only needed components can be installed, instead of entire software suites.

Linux systems are widely recognized for their capacity to run for years without failure, which is a significant consideration in the area of downtime. Windows does not compare to Linux when it comes to successfully handling a large number of processes running at the same time. Running multiple processes at once tends to degrade Windows’ stability. Also, with Linux, there is no need for rebooting. In Windows, configuration changes normally require a reboot, which leads to downtime. Nearly all Linux configuration changes can be completed while the system is running.

PC Preference Is Inconsequential

Many Windows users believe they must stick with Windows hosting when they begin their search for a website host. The truth is, whatever OS is running on one’s computer means nothing, as users typically do not experience difficulties if their website is designed with Windows and hosted on a Linux server. The Windows on a web host is not the Windows OS one sees on a computer, and there is nothing on the web hosting system that needs to run on the webmaster’s computer.

The platform type utilized by a web host and the type of OS on a webmaster’s PC are two different identities. People accessing a website do so from the server used by a web host, and not from a webmaster’s computer. Webmasters access their web account with the assistance of a control panel or FTP that is suitable to the environment of the webmaster’s own computer. Dedicated Windows users have no issues when relying on a Linux OS for their web hosting needs.

Platform-Specific Programs

A quality web host will highlight specific needs if your existing design is reliant on one OS over the other. Static websites using CSS and HTML are easily hosted on either Linux or Windows. Certain systems such as MySQL work best with Linux, as does the scripting language PHP. WordPress runs strictly under PHP, but requires a slightly altered PHP configuration than normal. It will work with Windows, but some downloaded scripts may have to be modified to work on a Windows server.

On the other side of the coin, Window-specific technologies include ASP, .NET, Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL server. If you are using any of these Microsoft technologies, then a Windows server is your logical choice. Because Linux is so popular among web hosting companies, you must ensure your selected host has Windows system experts on hand if you must use a Windows server.

With Linux leading the way in total cost of ownership, reliability and performance, it is no surprise that such a high number of enterprises are relying on it for web hosting needs. In the server realm, Linux has cemented its status as a sound choice for businesses of all sizes.