One of the major decisions that you might have to confront with while choosing your web host would be decide between a Linux based host and Windows based host. Though a section of hosts offer both these types, others are very particular in the choice of server platforms.
Windows, being popular among desktop operating system, is considered by many as the best choice. The truth in fact is that Linux is as capable and reliable as windows. Ease of maintenance and personal choices are the major factors that swing in favor of Windows as the operating system for the web server.
Which One The Best? Windows Hosting or Linux Hosting?
This is one debate that does not seem to end and not likely in the near future. In the process most of us forget that finding a web host that is well suited to the requirement and offers more reliability is very critical to the web sites functioning and performance. Platform used is actually immaterial in this case.
Let us look at some factors that are considered in making a choice between Windows and Linux.
- Price – Cost is always a key factor and Windows operating systems are usually expensive but with the growing competition the prices have started to come down. This has now narrowed the gap between Linux and Windows. Anyone with a tight budget will opt for Linux as it is cheaper. Also, windows licenses as well as MS SQL licenses are expensive when compared to Linux operating system or MySQL databases. All this makes a windows hosting account more expensive than a Linux hosting account.
- Performance – Though Linux has a slight edge, the performance benefit is never realized by the end user. Anyone with a definite need for better performance will choose Linux over windows.
- Security – It is a fallacy that Linux offers better security than Windows. Each platform has its own vulnerabilities and this is more of an issue with the security monitoring and controlling staff rather than the platform itself.
- Features – Both the platforms offer more or less the same list of features and functionality.
Features Specific To Windows Hosting
The differences between the two platforms are really very thin. As a result the deciding factor is whether your web site requires or consumes windows applications.
Some applications that are specific to Windows are listed below:
ASP – ASP is the basic application framework that is used by web designers to create web pages
FrontPage – A “What You See Is What You Get”editor that lets you create web pages and upload these pages to your website
.NET – The application programming framework which offers application development, security, connectivity and more
Windows Streaming Media – A mechanism to offer streaming audio and video content on your website.
Access – A Microsoft Database similar to MySQL
MSSQL – A relational database management system from Microsoft
There are hybrid hosting accounts where in Linux features are available in a windows hosting account. To summarize, if you need to use windows specific applications as explained above, then a windows hosting account is the way to go. On the other end, a Linux hosting account is also feature rich with a stable database like MySQL along with support of PHP. LAMP based applications are getting popular day by day.[crp]