Choosing Between Linux And Windows Hosting

An Introduction To The Linux Versus Windows Debate


As far as difficult questions go, the question of whether to opt for a Linux or Windows based server ranks pretty highly. Both have their advantages under certain situations and generally speaking, your final decision will come down to what you need and what you can afford. A large majority of websites use Linux servers because of their availability; many more hosts willing to offer Linux operating machines.

Windows Availability


However, there are still a reasonable number of hosts that also offer Windows hosting so availability does not need to be the key issue in your decision. Windows hosting plans have also become more affordable in recent times, although for the money you are likely to receive less in the way of features and storage space.

Windows Applications On Windows Servers


The big draw for Windows hosting plans is that they are built specifically to administer Windows applications and scripts. They also offer various features that are unique to a Windows hosting environment. Active Server Pages (ASP) and Visual Basic are the two most common and potentially most useful. .Net technology has made Windows servers much easier to access, manage, and maintain hence their rise in popularity.

The Drawbacks Of Windows Hosting


Windows hosting does have several drawbacks, though. It can prove to be costly when compared on a like-for-like basis with Linux hosting. It is also often more difficult to manage than a Linux based server, although the advance of control panels has effectively made it much easier. Of course, the fact that fewer hosts offer fewer Windows packages also offers a barrier to competition.

Fewer Windows Applications


Because there are fewer Windows offerings when it comes to servers it means that packages are not as competitive as Linux packages. Fewer applications have been developed that are freely available and the mass of free scripts that can be downloaded and installed on a Linux server, and are often included within the server control panel, just aren’t available. Windows is a commercial operation and, as such, the majority of products and applications used with Windows are also commercial.

However, if you require the use of Windows specific applications then Windows servers really are the only way to go. These same applications cannot be used on a Unix or Linux host. In contrast, though, there are a lot of alternatives available to counteract this.

Cost Effectiveness With Linux Hosting Plans


We’ve already mentioned the availability of Linux hosting plans. The fact is that Linux servers are a lot cheaper for the host than implementing a Windows system. This means that there are fewer financial barriers to entry for the web host. In turn, the increased profits are passed on to the end user. Oftentimes it is possible to find Linux hosting at vastly reduced rates when compared to Windows and the majority of value hosting packages one can find on the Internet are for Linux servers.

Open Source Applications


Linux applications and scripts are open source. They can be developed, uploaded, downloaded, altered, and published for free of charge. Some applications that have been modified do require a fee but even in these cases the fee is very little. Especially compared to purchasing Windows suites and packages. If you have the appropriate technical knowledge you can implement your own changes and your own upgrades to these open source applications giving you a completely unique and self tailored script.

Shell Environment


Linux servers offer what is known as a shell environment. These are highly interactive systems enabling virtually anyone with programming knowledge the ability to customize their own services. Linux control panels offer the capability to alter these without programming knowledge and make Linux the easiest package to deal with for beginners, and the most advanced packaged for the most advanced developers.

Readily Available Scripts


The number of scripts and applications that are freely and readily available for use on a Linux server is really quite phenomenal. There are many developers willing to create and publish these scripts without financial recompense. Similarly, there are an equal number of developers then willing to advance the application to an even further extent and publish these freely. If you are looking for dynamic web content that costs very little and encourages your visitors to return to your site then Linux potentially offers the greatest benefit of the two options.

Stability


Linux systems are historically and currently more stable than Windows systems. Windows operating systems and software is intensive to say the least. It requires a lot of disk space and consumes a lot of system resource during its operation. In contrast, Linux requires very little. This is partially the reason why a Linux system can run without fault and without server downtime for extended periods of time.

Windows Or Linux – The conclusion


Windows servers have come a long way, but still seem a long way from catching up with Linux servers. More developers have access to the Linux system because of its open source license and this means that there are essentially many more technicians working on developing Linux as the most viable server package available. Windows systems can only be altered by Windows technicians and developers and regardless of how good those developers might be the sheer weight of numbers means that they cannot compare to the massive network of Linux developers.

If your website requires the implementation of Windows based applications or the running of Windows media then a Windows package is really the only viable way to go. However, you should be prepared for more of a battle to find the right hosting plan for your needs. There is less demand for Windows hosting and therefore less supply. Less supply means less competition, too, so the packages that are available are not as attractive as those of their Linux counterparts.

While the world relies on the handful of Windows developers to create new software, develop new applications, and release major fixes and updates to existing software Linux developers are several steps ahead of the game. A Linux system, in our opinion, offers greater flexibility, more cost effectiveness, and increased functionality.