Your website has been built, and now you are looking for a web hosting company, which is one that houses your website on its server. You’ve heard of the operating systems Linux and Windows, as well as Linux and Windows web hosting – but which one do you choose? If you read on, you’ll get a good idea.
To place it into the correct perspective right from the outset, it is estimated that Unix hosting in 2017 makes up more than 66% of all web hosting companies worldwide, followed by Linux at 55.6%, and Windows at 35%. Like Linux and Windows, Unix is also an operating system.
Most web hosting companies provide two types of web hosting, namely, Linux web hosting and Windows web hosting. In most cases, Linux hosting is synonymous with shared hosting, which is the most used hosting service. Shared hosting is when many websites share the same host server. In addition, Linux hosting is used by most by web hosting companies, as it is cheap and flexible. The reason for Linux hosting being cheaper is because it is a free, open source system. This means that there is no need for web hosting companies to pay licensing fees when Linux is used as their operating system.
MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), which uses Structured Query Language (SQL), whilst PHP is the most used scripting language for web development. Linux hosting is compatible with MySQL and PHP. These in turn serve website applications such as WordPress (website builder), Zen Cart (online store management system), and phpBB (Internet forum package in PHP scripting language). This differs from Windows hosting, where the server’s operating system is Windows itself. This supports only Windows-related products such as ASP.NET, which is Microsoft’s server-side script language for making website pages more dynamic, and the data base management systems Microsoft Access, and Microsoft SQL server (MSSQL).
Some say both web hosting types provide the same degree of efficiency; yet others believe that Linux is more efficient and secure than Windows. In addition, Linux web hosting provides more of the characteristics required by web designers. Therefore, unless your website must have certain Windows applications, rather choose Linux web hosting. For instance, if you use the website builder WordPress for starting a blog, or for initiating an online forum with phpBB, then Linux hosting will work best for you. On the other hand, use Windows hosting if your website needs Microsoft products such as MSSQL.
Linux web hosting and Windows web hosting use different control panels, which are used for simplifying the process of hosting a website. The control panel called cPanel is used for all Linux-based hosting setups, such as Linux Shared (libraries that can be shared); Linux Reseller (reseller hosting is where a client uses allocated hard drive space to host websites on behalf of third parties); VPS or virtual private server, which is a virtual machine having its own operating system, and the same functionality of a dedicated server; and Linux Dedicated Server, which is a server having only one client. The control panel WHM or Web Host Manager, used for administering servers and for creating/managing cPanels, is applicable to Linux Reseller, VPS, and Dedicated Servers. On the other hand, the control panel Plesk is used for Windows Shared and Dedicated Servers.
Linux and Windows servers also differ in that Linux files are case-sensitive, unlike Windows files. A good example is that home.html and Home.html make up different names on the Linux server, but on the Windows server, home.html, Home.html, and HOME.HTML are all the same name.
Some consider both Linux web hosting and Windows web hosting to have the same security, but others view Linux hosting as the more secure of the two. The reason for the latter opinion, is that Linux servers very seldom must be rebooted, and most changes in configuration can be achieved without restarting. Reliability is a Linux server’s strong point.
Windows servers become particularly unstable when they must run multiple database, web, and file servers. This becomes even more problematic when adding separate applications and various tasks. Even though this problem is being addressed, it does continue to be a headache for server administrators.
If you are going for 100% uptime, then the Linux server is the best choice. Recent worldwide hacks targeted only Windows computers. Linux also draws a great advantage from being a Unix-based operating system.
The rights management characteristics that are part of Unix greatly assist Linux servers as they prevent access to the heart of the operating system, and only permit administrators to change specific directories and applications. The administrator or root user can see all the files on the Linux system, whereas hidden files are the order of the day with Windows computers, when addressing malware. So if you are wanting to go for a business type of web hosting company application, then it is vital that you capitalize on the reliability of the Linux server.
So, to answer the question, whichever web hosting you choose depends on your website. If your website needs specific Windows applications, you can only choose the Windows web hosting. Otherwise, rather choose Linux web hosting. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions or browse our Web Hosting FAQs.