Windows vs. Linux Hosting

The two major choices of web hosting operating systems are Windows and Linux. In the battle of Windows vs. Linux who will come out the victor? Is Windows hosting better than Linux hosting? The decision to choose one web hosting system over another is usually determined by what type of scripting languages you need.

Linux hosting

Linux was once the king penguin of the web hosting world. While the Linux web hosting platform is still the most popular, it has decreased greatly because of the emergence of Windows. "Linux hosting" really covers hundreds of different flavors of Linux and Unix variants such as FreeBSD. Linux offers several benefits over Windows including:

  • Cost. For web hosts, Linux is free, which is a wee bit cheaper than Windows, and they are able to pass those savings on to you so you pay a smaller payment.
  • Diverse scripting language support. Whether you need PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, or Python, a Linux web hosting platform will usually support them all by default.

Linux disadvantages include:

  • ASP and .NET support. While there is software like Chilisoft ASP and Apache::ASP at enables ASP on Linux machines, it is far less common to find a Linux web hosting platform that supports ASP or .NET.

Windows hosting

Many people think they need to get Windows hosting because their desktop computer is Windows. Not so. A Windows server is very different that a Windows desktop and most of your interaction with your web server will be through FTP or a web interface anyway. One of the biggest advantages of Windows hosting vs. Linux hosting is its ability to run classic ASP or .NET scripts. These languages can be very powerful and are becoming more and more popular. The disadvantages of a Windows hosting platform include:

  • Availability. Windows is currently much less popular than Linux so it can be difficult to find a Windows web hosting system with the exact features that you need. Use the web hosting wizard to make the process much easier.
  • Cost: Windows web hosting usually costs more than Linux web hosting. Sometimes by a lot.

Windows vs. Linux hosting: What is the same?

When comparing Windows and Linux there are many rumors you may have heard about why one is better than the other. In reality, there are several things that are virtually the same whether you choose Windows hosting or Linux hosting:

  • Performance. On both platforms the speed and efficiency will be comparable when an experienced administrator manages it.
  • Stability. While Windows web hosting systems were notoriously unstable in the past, the stability between a Windows server and a Linux server today is negligible.
  • Static pages. Windows platforms and Linux platforms can host static HTML file almost identically.
  • Ease of use. Most interaction with your web hosting system will be through FTP or a server's control panel. So even if Windows provides a nice GUI interface, you aren't likely to use it anyway.
  • Security. Though the topic could be argued by operating system purists, today, both web hosting platforms are comparably secure.

What web hosting platform should you use?

There really is no clear winner. It depends on your needs. If you need to use ASP or .NET then you need to use a Windows web hosting platform. Otherwise, you should be fine with the more popular and cheaper web hosting platform: Linux. Find the best Windows or Linux hosting plan using the web hosting wizard. Also check out the list of Best Windows Web Hosting.

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