Understanding the Difference Between Linux and Windows Hosting

Choosing web host is the first step in designing an effective and compelling company website. Although most internet service providers (ISPs) offer enough space for a simple personal blog or webpage, creating a high-quality multimedia or an ecommerce retail site will require much more storage and dedicated support.

 

Choosing the right web host provider isn’t the only crucial decision a company will need to make, they also need to choose between one of the two big players in web platforms, Windows and Linux. Recently both Windows and Linux web hosting plaforms have become very similar in a lot of their basic operations, however, there are still a few things that make each stand alone. The differences allow the user to decide which platform will better suit their individual needs.

 

The difference between the two

Linux and Windows web hosting are the foundation of your website, both offer the same basic functions, their forms differ significantly. The biggest difference between the Linux and Windows web hosting platforms is their core operating system (OS).

 

Linux uses some form of the Linux kernel, which is usually free. Windows, on the other hand, charges a licensing fee. Since Linux is an open-source operating system, you can find a whole host of applications available on the web. Windows hosting offers fewer apps to choose from, however, all of them come from licensed providers.

 

There are also several smaller differences between the two operating systems. For example, all Linux files are case sensitive, but Windows files are not. This means that “Server.exe” and “server.exe” would be different files in a Linux application, however, they would be the same program for users of Windows. In addition, Linux uses control panels like the popular cPanel or WHM and Windows uses Plesk.

 

In regards to you ability to access and transfer files to and in the server, both operating systems have FTP access. However, Linux is usually the only one that supplies telnet or ssh access as well. It isn’t because Windows isn’t capable of doing this, but it’s very rarely offered by hosting administrators.

 

Which to choose

If Windows and Linux web-hosting platforms both offer the same basic results, does it really matter which platform a company chooses? In some cases, definately.

 

Choosing Windows is ideal if your website runs Windows-specific solutions, including ASP, .NET, Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL, since these technologies will not work with Linux. On the other hand, if you choose to use PHP, Perl or MySQL, then Linux will be the better option.

 

A company’s current operating system has no bearing on the functionality of their web host. For instance, choosing a Linux deployment will not be affected if you are running Windows on your local server stacks. If you use Linux for your regular operations it won’t interfere with using Windows as a web host. Hosting platforms are completely web-facing.

 

Market forces

Windows is often used to serve specific needs, while Linux continues to be the go-to choice for web developers.Both platforms are popular choices in the emerging cloud market, which is similar to the idea of dedicated hosting, except with scalable resources on a billed, per-use basis.

 

Windows Azure

Released in June 2013, Windows Azure is a platform that allows existing applications written in ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js or Python to be deployed on an automatically scaling platform without managing individual computers. Microsoft also provides pe-configured software packages, such as WordPress, which can be used immediately with the Web Site service.

 

No guarantees

Regardless of which web hosting platform you choose, some problems are always a possibility. A good example of this is Obamacare and its healthcare.gov website. The site uses a Linux deployment and an Apache server. However, the server wasn’t optimized properly, causing it to stall and crash. Therefore, it’s important mention that a solid Linux or Windows deployment won’t guarantee success. It is crucial to have 24/7 web hosting support in the event of server downtime, website lag or outright failure.


In conclusion, both Linux and Windows web hosting platforms have their good points and their drawbacks. Linux has been around longer and has a larger assortment of third-party solutions to choose from, but Windows can streamline development and database deployments because their proven licensed tools.

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