Before weighing Linux and Windows web hosting services against each other, you have to first of all understand what each one actually means.
Linux web hosting platform means the use of any UNIX-like family of computer OS (operating systems) with Linux kernel to host web services, which include websites, databases and email accounts. Typically a Linux server by default includes Apache, PHP, MySQL, Perl and Python, and may include Postgres. On the other hand, Windows web hosting platform refers to the type of hosting service that utilizes Windows-based operating systems as servers, Microsoft SQL databases and IIS (Internet Information Services), which is a set of web-based services.
Both Windows and Linux hosting are very popular on the web, though Linux has a larger following. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The factors to consider before choosing between Windows hosting and Linux hosting include the file types you need to be hosted, if you’re a follower of open source movement or proprietary software and your hosting budget. If you want an interactive site that depends on server-side processing, it can either be programmed using PHP, ASP or Perl scripting languages.
Having a clear knowledge of the tasks you want your site to perform presently and in the foreseeable future will essentially help you to properly choose the best web hosting platform that will serve your needs. If you want ordinary HTML website that doesn’t need any server-side interpretation and processing of files, then both Windows and Linux make fine choices. But if you want a website that interacts with your visitors, it’s time to be more focused on making a wise choice.
If you like to use PHP scripting language, it makes a lot of sense to choose Linux hosting, since the language was originally built for the OS and performs optimally on it. Even though PHP can be installed on Windows platform, it’s not reliable and cannot give the same performance as it does on its native server environment.
Likewise, if you prefer to develop a website using ASP, ASP.NET, FrontPage, MS SQL, Windows Streaming Media and MS Access, then Windows hosting is your best bet. The reason is because the respective scripting language and applications were developed specifically for Windows-based operating systems, and work at their full potentials on the native OS environment. Moreover, enterprise web applications work better on Windows hosting environments. It is true that ASP can be implemented successfully on the Linux environment; however, its performance is generally flawed. It is recommended to go for Windows web hosting, when using ASP scripts, in order to achieve the optimal performance you so much need. If you host ASP files on a Linux server, be ready to expect script failures at any time.
Linux is open source and generally free, while Windows is a commercial product. So, typically Linux hosting is less expensive than Windows hosting. However, there are Windows hosting packages that cost about the same or even less amount of money than equivalent Linux hosting plans.
Both platforms perform optimally and have almost the same speed, as long as hardware requirements are met. But due Windows server integrated implementation, as opposed to the extendable Linux approach, analysts have run speed tests which proved that Linux is a bit faster. My judgment is that a server which has new enhanced CPUs and memory modules will definitely be fast enough and perform the expected functions well.
Generally both Linux and Windows servers are equally secure, as long as they’re properly configured and updated when necessary. Critics ridicule MS Windows server as being insecure; and this is partially true, since it is frequently being targeted by hackers who hate Microsoft. Owing to this reality, one can rightly argue that Linux is consistently more secure. Overall, security of each platform depends on the competence of the server administrator and tech team.
Windows has a powerful company behind it that provides technical support for customers. Due to the fact that Linux is open source and free, its support is freely available on numerous blogs and user-powered communities, such as programming and web hosting forums.
I personally prefer Linux web hosting to Windows web hosting, because it is open source, has a more loyal following, generally cheaper, and its support is everywhere on the web.
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