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5 Differences Between Linux and Windows Hosting

Vladana

October 31, 2019

Blog

A lot has been said about choosing the right hosting provider and the benefits it brings. There is no unanimous answer to which one is the best: Each of them could be perfect for a specific company – the question here is what the companies need their hosting provider to provide in the first place.

Before you dive into checking the specifications for each hosting provider to find the perfect fit, you might want to decide whether you would prefer having a Linux or Windows hosting. Choosing the right one in this aspect can save you a lot of time researching and picking the right host before you even get to the research part, and can save you a lot of headaches in the future, too.

The point here is to be true to your business’ needs. If you have a small site, running on HTML and CSS, you don’t have to search for a provider that can handle huge traffic flow. You probably won’t need to use many of the technologies the big players use, so you could go ahead and pick the cheapest plan out there. In this situation, with pricing as the key factor, you will be fine whichever hosting you choose.

I need more from my hosting

Still, there are those who will be scaling fast, using advanced technologies for their project, and they need to spend more time on figuring out their hosting needs. Their hosting provider needs to be ready at all times to provide excellent support and to be ready to help them scale without any fuss.

Yes, you can always migrate if the hosting doesn’t live up to your expectations. However, if you give it some time to evaluate your business’ needs and requirements beforehand, and ask yourself and your development team the right questions, you can choose more easily the perfect fit for your business. One of those questions is the question of whether you should go with Linux or Windows hosting.

But, if you are unsure of the difference between the two in the first place, how could you know which one should you rely on? Let’s list them up and help you make the jump.

1. Ease of use

Not everyone has the time, will, or knowledge to figure out the servers to be able to set up their online presence. Configuring and managing the server shouldn’t be a daunting task.

Daunting task

If you are an experienced developer and you have worked with both, or you have an experienced team, you shouldn’t have any issues with either, and you probably don’t need this article in the first place.

Still, if you don’t want to spend ages on configuration, you might want to go with a Windows server. These have a better user interface, and you can finish with the configuration in no time. To do the same with Linux, you need to dedicate some time to figure it out – there is quite a steep learning curve when it comes to handling Linux servers, especially if you chare used to clicking around Windows menus. While Windows has a standardized user interface, Linux provides many graphical user interfaces you could use to communicate with the server.

There is another key aspect to consider here if you already have something established, and you are not starting from scratch. You might have a bunch of legacy code running on Windows servers, which is a common case with large companies. You definitely don’t want to switch to Linux at his point, as the familiarity of your dev team with a particular option plays a key role in figuring out which one to use.

2. Stability

Stability is the key player you want to pay attention to when deciding between the two.

You want to ensure that your website is up and running at all times – and that the server doesn’t need to be rebooted (and your website taken down in the process), every now and then.

The uptime is fundamental as you don’t need the stress that the downtime you could be experiencing due to picking the wrong hosting choice.

When it comes to this, Linux can take the cake anytime, as it has a much better uptime score. Windows has been working hard to get there, but it still has a lot of issues to fix. When running a bit more complex tasks, Windows servers need to be rebooted to be able to handle them, and almost all of the configuration changes require a restart. On the other hand, you can easily find Linux servers that haven’t been rebooted since day one, as they almost don’t need it at all.

3. Pricing

Pricing is usually the pain point in making the decision, but it is important to mention. Not everyone is willing to pay for something they don’t really understand in the first place.

Pricing

You will be able to find a lot of free hosting options available if you decide to go with Linux. As mentioned before, unlike Windows, these servers don’t require much in terms of updates – they have been running for years without requiring any new features or upgrades. This makes them very cost-effective, and you will be able to find the right Linux hosting provider for free. Windows, on the other hand, requires purchasing a license, which is a cost that can be accumulated over the years.

However, there is more to the right hosting when it comes to price. From getting high-quality support to match your project’s requirements to domains and emails – all of which are commonly associated with hosting – you get what you paid for. So make sure to evaluate every aspect provided in the pricing plan to make sure you are getting the most out of your buck.

4. Security

When it comes to hosting, you want to make sure that everything is as hackerproof as possible.

Picking the most secure hosting provider should have hit the first spot on this list, but since the talk is about the differences, the point to pass on is that both options can be secure if handled properly by qualified staff.

However, if we’re going with the popular opinion, Linux hosting is much safer than its Windows counterpart. Namely, the big reason is the fact that Linux is open source – meaning that every experienced developer can contribute to it, and in case of an error, it will be handled rather quickly. Windows has its solution on the topic – patches and service packs. While these do an incredible job by themselves, they are not as often as people aware of these security issues would like them to be.

5. Supported technologies

If you are worried about your WordPress site, then you can rest assured that both of these options will handle it, even though Linux hosting might be a better choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking to figure out which will fit your development team better, then read on.

Both Linux and Windows offer a wide range of languages and tools that they support. Linux is famously compatible with MySQL and PHP – meaning that it will handle scripts such as WordPress, Zen Cart, and phpBB. On another note, Windows is a bit Windows-specific, so you can rest assured that it will be able to handle ASP, .NET, MSSQL, and Microsoft Access.

Give your development team a visit in their basement or garage, and make sure that you are picking the right hosting based on what they can handle and what they are comfortable with.

Development team

All in all – don’t be the guy that turns his company upside down because he read somewhere that “this option is better than that.” The truth in the case of “Windows vs. Linux hosting – which is better?” is entirely up to your company.

Overall

When contemplating the Windows versus Linux, you should start by analyzing your business’ needs and requirements. Check your development’s team skillset and which one they are more comfortable with. Check your project requirements and see which tools and languages you need to make it happen. These are fundamental – not the pricing, for example.

Still, make sure you consult your budget too – you can get free Linux hosting, but transferring legacy code you might already have on Windows servers to a Linux server could prove to be a tough and time-consuming process that will not come for free. However, Linux hosting does take the cake when it comes to reliability and security.

After all, now you know the difference between the two. If you are just starting out with your project, here’s to hoping that this helps in picking the right one for it!