Linux vs Windows Web Hosts
One of the most confusing decisions someone new to web hosting
will have to make is which platform their server should be
on. There are a number of different choices out there but
the main two are Linux and Windows web servers. There are
also a lot of sources of information about hosting, but the
majority of them are tainted by the author's biased personal
opinion unfortunately confusing the issue. Having just put
in some solid hours researching the topic I have come to the
conclusion that in general it quite probably does not matter
which server you use. For the majority of people it will be
far more important to choose a really good web host than to
worry about the server-type that they implement.
Microsoft developed and owns the Windows operating system.
Linux is open source and generally free. This means it can
often be more expensive to set up and run a Windows server.
However, this fact doesn't really affect you unless you are
actually setting up a server for yourself and if you're reading
this article then I'm guessing that it's safe to assume you're
not. This article is going to offer information for those
trying to decide which hosting company to go with. The cost
involved in running a server does not affect the cost of a
web-hosting package as much as you may think. Despite the
general opinion that Windows servers are more expensive to
run, buying a Windows hosting package can often turn out to
be just as cheap or even cheaper than an equivalent Linux
Some people naturally assume that because their PC runs Windows
they need to buy a Windows hosting package. This isn't true.
Access to your web account will most likely be through FTP
or a control panel and both servers support these methods.
The main difference is that some of the FTP commands are slightly
different between Linux and Windows and some FTP programs
will be designed with one or the other in mind. This means
you may occasionally find that when you try and get your FTP
program to do something it returns an error message, but it
won't happen very often.
Your choice of server platforms should be dictated by the
use to which you intend to put it. The majority of web features
run fine on both platforms including PHP, mySQL, POP3 etc.
If you intend to create your site using ASP, FrontPage, the
.NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MSSQL,
or any of the other Microsoft proprietary technologies then
you probably need to use a Windows host. There is limited
support for a number of these technologies in Linux, but they
can be expensive and are usually lacking in features. It is
probably worth considering the fact that if you use server
specific technologies and then change hosts you'll have a
much harder time of it than if you use technologies that can
be run on any system. Having it run generic technologies removes
the need to focus on specifics and allows you to focus on
the quality of service itself.
The reliability and stability of the different platforms have
been the topic of many long arguments. The main reason that
Windows is seen as being insecure is that it is the most widely
used operating system for home PC's. People spend more time
looking for flaws in the most common system. With Linux being
the most common server type, it has a surprising number of
successful hack attempts made on it. In the end the security
of both platforms comes down to the competency of the system
administrators. If you are security minded then you'll do
better to make sure that the hosting company is reputable
and highly skilled than to worry about the server they use.
In terms of performance there's not a huge difference between
the two servers. Linux reportedly performs faster because
Windows (as usual) attempts to offer an 'all in one' package
instead of the extendable Linux implementation. You'll generally
not notice a difference but if performance is of utmost importance
to you then maybe this will influence your decision.
I've come to the conclusion that unless you are specifically
using features that are unique to one platform or another
your time will be much better spent looking for a really good
quality host than a really good quality server. Developers
are constantly improving both Linux and Windows so they should
be fairly close in terms of features, security, and reliability
for a long time. It's the people implementing them that you
should be basing your decision on.
About the author: Daniel Punch M6.Net
Web Helpers http://www.m6.net