There are various aspects of web hosting that require decision-making attention, and one of those is choosing the operating system from which you will be hosting. Both popular in the industry, Linux and Windows are two operating systems that come up in web hosting conversations. Make note of it though that they are different types of systems and as such, bring their own features to the table. While the separation between what they can offer in web hosting is not vast, it may still be important to note the differences.
Linux offers features that most web designers and web-savvy individuals tend to expect for web hosting; particularly because it has been the popular preference for web hosts. However, we will take a general look here at what each system offers for web hosting so you can make your own informed decision about which system to use for your own web hosting needs.
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The main difference between Windows and Linux-based servers lies in the different development tools and technologies they offer, although there is not a significant gap. And although Linux is often stated as the preferred choice, there are benefits that Windows can bring to the table as well. For instance, it offers applications/development tools such as:
- Microsoft Access
- Visual Basic Development
- ASP, ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server
Both Linux and Windows offer technologies that are specific to their servers, and determining which are necessary to how you plan to build your website is the main determinant you should be keeping in mind when you are choosing between the two systems. For those that require some of the development tools listed above – those of which are specific only to Windows servers – you might find that Windows would best suit your hosting needs. It depends on your specific vision for your website.
The control panels used by the Windows and Linux servers also differ. For instance, Windows uses Plesk. The file names between servers additionally differ in that, while the file names with Linux are case-sensitive, those on a Windows server are not.
When it comes to the most secure server for web hosting, the systems do not differ. Both systems, as reputable servers, offer a level of security that is less to do with the actual server as much as it is reliant upon the administrators running them.
If you tend to become a little confused around web jargon, Linux has proven itself to be a user-friendly, effective operating system for even basic web hosting needs. For a simple blog or straightforward website, Linux offers users a smooth-running system that works even if your computer runs on Windows. The system a computer runs on does not determine the compatibility of the web host. In other terms, the system your computer uses is irrelevant. Linux possesses the advantage of being compatible with 70% of web servers globally.
Why is Linux generally the preferred operating system for web hosting? Its top qualities as preferred by those interested in web hosting is its reliability as well as its efficiency in various mail-server and website environments. It is also most well-suited for websites such as blogs, online stores, forums, and content management systems; most especially when you are looking to use Perl, PHP, or MySQL.
Linux-specific technologies include:
- And applications or scripts that need specific Apache modules
And unlike Windows, Linux operates with popular development tools such as:
- Dreamweaver and other WYSIWYG applications
The control panels Linux servers use also differ from Windows in that they use cPanel and Web Host Manager (WHM).
The final qualities that often make Linux a preferable choice to Windows-based servers include that Linux has simply been around longer and is also compatible with a wider array of third-party solutions.
For most web hosts, Linux tends to be the preferred operating system. Really, the only exception to this is for those individuals whose websites require development tools that are specific only to Windows servers. In that case, users may then of course require or otherwise prefer to use Windows. Otherwise, Linux’s smooth and user-friendly system unanimously offers those interested in web hosting the most variety, flexibility, and innovative features for web hosting needs that range from the basic to the more complex.
If you want to know more, check out our comparisons of the best Australian hosts, best Canadian web hosting providers, best website hosting in Singapore, and the best UK web hosts.