Linux vs Windows Hosting

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Linux has always been the default option for most hosting companies because it was free, open source, and required no licensing. However as the demand for Windows hosting has increased, more and more hosting providers have begun to offer affordable Windows hosting. Choosing between the two types of operating systems for hosting has become harder as both options offer many benefits for their customers. We’ve compared Linux and Windows hosting, focusing on key aspects of hosting in order to help you decide which type is best for you.

Price

In general Linux is cheaper than Windows because the hosting provider doesn’t have to pay a licensing fee as they do with Windows. This used to make the cost of Windows hosting much higher, but today the additional cost is mostly negligible, only an additional $1 or $2/month extra in price.

Your first consideration should be the technology used in your website, but if you have a php based site you can still feasibly work with a windows host

Security

While both Windows and Linux users will say that their favorite system is more secure, the truth of the matter is that Linux is more secure by default. When you have a Linux system, by default the settings are closed/ disabled and have to be enabled in order to gain greater access to the system.  On the other hand Windows tends to give a lot of control to its users who are privileged to have root access to their account. This however opens up a greater susceptibility for viruses and malware to attack their system.  It’s the user’s responsibility to close those settings which create a greater risk for their account. However if you’re trained in either Linux or Windows, you should have the knowledge to properly secure your server.

Users that have shared hosting accounts shouldn’t worry though because your hosting provider employs numerous security measures to ensure a more stable and secure environment. These measures include firewalls, SSL certificates, a 24/7 administrative team for their data centers, and limited access to user accounts so that users don’t inadvertently invite viruses into the system.  

Training

As far as training goes, Linux has a higher learning curve than Windows. The reason being that when you have a Windows hosting, you’re using a remote desktop which has an interface like Windows 7, which most computer users are familiar with. For example, you’ll see the Start button, My Computer icon, and so on. Linux has no GUI, and it requires knowledge of commands in order to successfully use it.  If you’re just using a simple shared hosting plan however, this will come with a control panel, often cPanel, which simplifies the management of your hosting account. But if you need VPS or dedicated hosting, it’s important that you’re trained in either Windows or Linux, and especially Linux because the commands are different from what you’re used to. 


While both Windows and Linux users will say that their favorite system is more secure, the truth of the matter is that Linux is more secure by default.

Support

The support customers receive depends on their specific hosting company. The vast majority of hosting providers offer 24/7/365 customer & technical support for their users. But if you have specific issues regarding Linux or Windows-based operations, applications, or software, Windows offers more structured and direct support for their customers. For example, if you visit a Windows forum, you’ll see screen shots with simple directions that will address your concern. Microsoft also has the Windows Community and Microsoft Answers to easily answer questions for users. Linux offers a lot of support in forums, but it’s more confusing, less centralized and can be difficult to find a direct answer to your question. 

Your Website

If you already have a website, this should be the most important factor when choosing Linux or Windows hosting. Regardless of price, security, support, or training, if you have a website that was built in PHP, it’s wise to choose Linux hosting, just as if you have a website that’s built in ASP.NET, you should use Windows hosting. The reason for this is that you’re going to want compatible applications and databases for your website. For example, if you have Windows hosting, your provider will support different versions of ASP and ASP.NET and offer MSSQL databases. If you have Linux hosting, your provider will support PHP, offer MySQL databases and compatible CMS like Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. 

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