Linux Web Hosting vs. Windows Web Hosting – Key Differences

Windows Vs Linux Hosting
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Because there are so many differences between Linux and Windows hosting, it is incredibly important that you take the time to explore them. Before you decide which hosting option you want to go with, you will need to get all of the necessary information. The more time you spend doing this research, the easier it will be to choose which of these hosting options is best-suited for you overall. Too many people rush into this type of decision, and they almost always end up regretting it.

Operating System

Perhaps the most obvious difference between Linux and Windows hosting solutions is the operating system that runs on the servers. The differences with the user interfaces tend to be more glaring than anything else. Windows users who are making the switch to Linux will be in for a surprise when they first boot into the Linux command line. The syntax and functions found through the Linux command line are not like clicking through the menus in Windows at all. A Linux team is able to choose from a number of graphical user interfaces or GUIs. It is highly recommended that you go with a Windows hosting solution if you intend to interact with the operating system itself as opposed to going through a tool like cPanel to install and update software among other things.

There is also the hardware and software compatibility issue to consider. Windows is a particularly good option for those who are operating in a complex IT environment because it is licensed and constantly being updated. One thing to consider is that having system administrators already familiar with the operating system could result in less training and greater in-house support.

Use Cases

One of the most common reasons someone might be looking for a server is for the purpose of setting up a simple personal website, e-Commerce website, blog or even an online portfolio. Shared hosting on a Linux server is usually the best solution for this type of user. A lot of shared Linux hosting services already come equipped with tools like cPanel or Confixx, providing the user with a simple web interface to install microblogging platforms.

There are also interfaces for configuring email addresses and will automatically manage software packages, including:

  • Apache
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • FTP

These features can be particularly useful for beginners, as it removes a few of the more involved steps needed to configure and manage a server.

Dev Tools and Control Panels

If you decide to go with a Linux-based web hosting solution, you will have cPanel, which has become standard for small web server administration tools. Once you gain a solid understanding of the features it offers, you will begin to understand why it is one of the more popular control panel options. You will be able to create and manage MySQL databases as well as configure PHP with cPanel, which will update the software packages without any human intervention whatsoever.

If you need to setup new email addresses or adjust mailbox size limits, your control panel can be of great help. The fact is that cPanel is an extremely powerful tool that can help you out quite a bit on a regular basis.

When it comes to Windows web hosting, you are going to have Plesk (also available to Linux users.) It offers a number of the same benefits that cPanel does, and it can help you run the Windows version of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack. Plesk also supports Docker, Git and a number of other advanced security extensions.

Databases, Domains and Diskspace

When it comes to managing multiple domains, cPanel can be of great assistance. It is a lot simpler to manage disk space for numerous domain names through a single host using this control panel. By using cPanel, you will also be able to allocate more or less space to each client depending on your contract and specific needs. MySQL has definitely become the standard for web developers around the world, so you shouldn’t disregard this option.

If you are working on your own external-facing website and want to take the easiest route, Linux with cPanel is probably the best overall option. If you are working within a business with existing databases and Windows-based servers that you have to interact with, Windows hosting might be the right way to go. If you want to build more complex websites and require the combination of flexibility and stability, many advanced developers prefer using Linux.

Security and Technical Support

When you are looking for the right overall hosting solution, security and technical support are two very important things to consider. Linux servers are known for their fierce reliability, but there is definitely also something to be said about Windows. When it comes to security, Linux definitely has a reputation for being the best of the best. It is very important that you make sure the hosting solution you choose can provide you with adequate security.

You will also want to take into consideration the database and software package level. You are at least partially responsible for the security of your own website in that the easiest point of attack for any system can be found in the people who administer and use it. You will need to make sure that you have solid passwords that cannot be cracked through brute force.

Final Thoughts

While it’s true that both Linux and Windows based hosting solutions both have a lot to offer, most people will benefit from one more than the other. There are simply some things that you get with Windows that you won’t with Linux, and vice versa. It is important that you take an adequate amount of time to look into your options so you can make a good final decision on one of these solutions. Linux is a great hosting choice for security, but Windows has its own benefits that you should look at before making up your mind.

About Andrew Smith

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