Windows Hosting vs. Linux Hosting

There are different website hosting environments available, based on the technical requirements of the site’s offerings. Depending on the technology or language used to build the website structure and its functionalities, webmasters opt for either of these two popular hosting options; the names are indicative of the underlying operating systems of the web servers on which the sites will be hosted. Novice webmasters should understand that the operating system on their personal computers would no way influence the type of hosting opted for. Here are few of the factors that help decide the most appropriate hosting option for a website.

Technology Support

If the website is based on Microsoft technologies, then there is no question of choice. Such sites have to opt for Windows hosting. Websites or applications created using conventional ASP as well as .NET versions or designed to interact with MS Access or MSSQL databases for data storage and retrieval are hosted on Windows OS.
Both Windows and the Linux OS support JavaScript and html pages that are widely used for website design, as well as the MySQL and Oracle databases. However, popular open source scripting languages such as Perl, Python, CGI, Ruby and PHP typically go on Linux servers, though Windows also extends support for PHP and CGI.
Few technologies are proprietary to Microsoft, while select open source technologies have limited support. Linux itself being an open source OS is an ideal choice, if the site uses open source scripting languages. The final decision of course is driven by the technical requirements and comfort level of the webmasters in experimenting with a different operating system.

Security

Windows and Linux systems are exposed to security threats in terms of malware and virus attacks, with the hosting service provider being eventually responsible for the security of the hosting environment. That said, it has been observed that the Windows environment is quite vulnerable to security breaches when compared to Linux.

Access

Web servers based on both these operating systems can be accessed and controlled by FTP commands or graphical control panels that are easy to use. The exact syntax of select FTP commands that are run at the command line will differ, depending on whether the server runs on Linux or Windows.

Budget

Microsoft software is proprietary, licensed, and has to be purchased, while the open sourced Linux comes for free. The pricing of Windows or Linux hosting services offered by hosting companies do not drastically differ, as their operating costs and charges are not solely based on the price of paid software. However, webmasters or businesses will feel the pinch if they plan to own a web server, as the costs associated with independently setting up a windows web server are definitely higher than their Linux counterpart.

Downtime

Downtime is a critical aspect of webhosting, especially in the case of business or e-commerce sites, which may lose out on several valuable transactions or potential customers, if the site goes offline even for a few minutes. Linux systems have scheduled maintenance downtimes, but can handle select updates without a reboot, while the Windows servers hardly need any maintenance. If the hosting service provider can offer redundancy features, then these aspects would hardly matter to the end user.
The choice of an appropriate hosting type is mainly driven by the technology associated with the design and function of a website, comfort level or expertise of the webmaster with the selected technology. The decision should also be made based on the service quality of the hosting service provider.

 

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