If it’s an excellent hosting plan you are looking for on the web, you’ll discover that most servers are preinstalled with Windows OSs or Linux. If that does not mean a thing to you, here are some explanations so you will understand the difference.
If you are asking what option is better – Windows or Linux – it would depend really on your specific needs. That is why you need to list down your expectations before selecting a hosting package. Then you can now compare your list with the existing capabilities of different operating systems, web hosts, hosting plans, and other considerations.
Main Differences Between the Two Hosting
Windows and Linux are two different kinds of servers. They have some commonalities but they also differ significantly in several ways, some of which are as follows:
1- According to Operating System Used
Obviously, the big difference between the two is the operating system being used. Linux servers run on different open source versions of the Linux operating system, while a Windows server necessarily runs on its own windows operating system. If you are planning to build a website that uses Microsoft proprietary software, (like Access databases, or ASP.net) then Windows hosting is the best option. However, Linux offers matching solutions for any Microsoft server-side type software, so don’t ever think you’re short-selling yourself by choosing Linux. In fact, more software for Linux hosting are available than for Windows because of its open source nature.
2- According to Price
Linux is cheaper. In fact, most distributions of the Linux Operating System cost nothing. Some of these OS versions such as RedHat carry a several special features for improved server performance, hence they will be priced, but not really as high as that of Windows. Essentially, Linux is a great choice for a start-up. Overall, you get, aside from the low price, a flexible system, database and popular coding, and more.
3- According to Specific Applications
a- Windows applications requiring a Windows server:
> ASP Classic
> MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
> Access (Microsoft Access)
> Remote Desktop (dedicated server only)
> Visual Basic Development
Additional Windows-specific applications are being supported by Windows Dedicated Servers. For some applications, you may be required to purchase a license in order to install the software on the Windows dedicated server. Check the following:
> Microsoft Exchange
> Microsoft SharePoint
b- Applications requiring a Linux-based server.
Scripts or applications requiring specific Apache modules
4- According to Service Security
Although many users consider Linux as more secure and reliable than Windows, in reality, both are equally secure. This is because security is really dependent more upon the setup of the server and also on the administrators running it. Many people would even say that Windows OS is riddled with security holes. While this may be true or not, the real truth, according to actual users, is that both Windows and Linux have vulnerabilities. Security is an issue that should be referred to the level of the web hosting administrator than the installed operating system. A good hosting firm will naturally work endlessly to ensure security for their servers.
5- According to File Names
Case sensitivity, on the other hand, is hugely important. With Linux, directory and file names are definitely case sensitive. So if you happen to name a file ContactUs.html, and another page as contactus.html in the same directory, you will certainly have two completely different pages. Your visitors will have to enter your specific page URLs precisely or risk ending up on the 404 error pages. Windows servers on the other hand, don’t really care about lower and uppercases. You will only have one contactus.htm page on the Windows server, no matter where you left out or put capitalization.
Both Windows and Linux servers have limitations and strengths. It’s the users who claim one is better than the other. Windows followers strongly believe that their preferred server OS is much better than Linux, and vice versa. And it’s hard to convince them that they are wrong, if they indeed are. After all, people really love to share opinions that are based on their actual experience.
However, as earlier mentioned, it all depends really on the company’s needs. Before jumping hastily to the Linux or Windows bandwagon, assess the actual needs of your company. What does it really need? Could Windows or Linux hosting help your company attain its goals? Corporations like IBM and Hewlett-Packard use Linux hosting while Nokia and Motorola use Linux to develop their mobile applications. But of course, nobody is stopping your from using Windows if that’s your preference. It’s all up to you, really.