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How to decide between Linux Hosting and Windows Hosting - Which hosting server to opt for?

Whether you are considering starting a website or you have one and want to possibly move it, this article can help you decide whether you should chose a Linux Hosting server or a Windows Hosting server.

Typically, there are three platforms on which a website can be hosted - Linux/Unix, Windows & Macintosh. We do not hear much about Macintosh as there are very few websites hosted on a MAC server. The majority of web-hosts use Linux or Windows. Windows operating system is owned and sold by Microsoft. Linux is open source and generally free. Thus a Windows Hosting server costs extra due to the cost of proprietary Microsoft software that it runs. Some people naturally assume that because their PC runs Windows they need to buy a Windows hosting package. This isn't true. Access to your web account will be through FTP or a control panel and both operating systems support these methods.

Most web hosts offer both Linux & Windows Hosting Service.

Benefits of Linux Hosting

Linux has proven itself as the operating system of choice for web servers. Today, Linux has progressed beyond infrastructure services like file serving, printing, web hosting and email, and is being adopted even in the enterprise data center. Linux now increasingly finds use as business application servers and data base servers, moving deeper into the data center as a strategic data store, database, and application host.

The benefits of Linux are many:

  • Superior economics / lower cost of deployment as the O.S. itself is free and so are the web server, email server and all other software that are needed to set up a web host. Even the MySQL database server comes free.
  • Linux is a portable OS and can be installed on a variety of hardware. This platform independence gives the Web Hosting company a wider choice in selecting server hardware, thereby optimizing cost versus service features.
  • High reliability and security - A well configured Linux web server can be very secure. Firewall, anti-spam and antivirus services for your email can be deployed with ease by a skilled server administrator. There are patches available for the Linux kernel to increase security as well as configuration tweaks that can be made to Apache and PHP.
  • Increasing independent software vendor support for Linux.
  • System vendor acceptance and support.
  • Performance - This is where Linux powered hosting can truly excel - because of the configurability of the Linux kernel and core hosting software such as the Apache Web Server, a Linux based server can be tuned precisely to meet the needs of the websites it hosts.

When do you need a Windows Hosting server?

Your choice of server platform usually gets dictated by the use to which you intend to put it. The majority of web features run fine on both platforms including PHP, MySQL, POP3, etc. If you intend to create your site using ASP, FrontPage, or Dot NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, MS-Access, MS SQL, or any of the other Microsoft proprietary technologies then you need to use a Windows host. There is limited support for a number of these technologies in Linux. A Windows server providing these features can be expensive. It is therefore worth considering using technologies that can be run on any operating system. Thus you are not bound to a Windows server platform, but are free to choose between Windows and Linux. The choice then can be based on parameters like price and more importantly quality of the web service.

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About the Author
Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.

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