No matter if you want to run an online blog or an e-commerce site, you need to choose a reliable server. When it comes to choosing a web server, we get two popular options – Linux and Windows servers.
Without any doubt, these server options are capable of satisfying many business requirements in their own ways. You may have seen that most of the hosting service providers in 2021 offer two types of hosting services, namely Linux hosting and Windows hosting.
In the shared hosting segment, Linux is a leading as well as reliable choice. We have seen that most website owners now prefer to host their websites on Linux-based servers. Not only Linux hosting is affordable but it’s flexible too; it is perfectly compatible with PHP and MySQL. And that’s also the reason for Linux servers to support various scripts such as Zen Cart, WordPress, phpBB, and so on.
On the other hand, Windows hosting uses Windows Server and treats it as the operating system of the server. It supports Windows-specific technologies such as Microsoft Access, Asp.NET, MSSQL, and so on.
After discussing with many web designers and developers, we came to know that they prefer Linux in most cases because it comes with more helpful features. If you are crafting a unique website with powerful features, you can easily go for the Linux hosting option.
You may notice that many websites are using Linux servers but why do many people still prefer Windows servers? Which option is best for you to host your website?
To provide you with answers to the aforementioned questions, we are going to draw a comparison between Linux and Windows hosting. At the end of this article, you may be able to decide which one you should choose for your project.
Linux vs Windows
1. Cost and Licensing
This is the first comparison factor and we will keep things quite simple and straightforward.
If you are going for a hosting service provider that employs Windows servers, the provider needs to pay the licensing cost. And as a user, you too have to pay a part of the cost.
On the other hand, Linux hosting is budget-friendly as Linux is open-source. You only need to pay the expenses of hardware and services that come with Linux hosting; you are free from paying the license cost. And that’s why Windows hosting is a bit more expensive than Linux.
After thorough research, we found that the price gap between Windows hosting and Linux hosting is quite significant. The average price that one needs to pay for basic Linux hosting is about $2 in a month. But if you go for Windows hosting, you need to pay almost double, which means that you have to pay $4 per month.
Linux is known as the family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux Kernel. Generally, most of website owners prefer to use the Unix System and as a result, Linux is getting more popular. Actually, website owners who are familiar with Unix find Linux truly helpful. When it comes to enjoying full-fledged flexibility and cost-effectiveness, the majority of website owners go for the Linux option.
Also, nearly 33% of all the websites run on one of the major Linux distros and other popular Unix systems such as Darwin, BSD, Solaris, and Minix.
The same research says that only 28% of all websites use Windows hosting.
Usually, websites that need to handle higher traffic prefer to use Windows hosting instead of Linux. Linux is not too far behind in the race as we have seen that many popular websites are also using Linux hosting.
If we take a quick look at the graph, we can say that Linux scores 3 where Windows scores just 1 point(Source: cloudacademy.com). The reason behind the growing popularity of Linux hosting is not only its cost-effectiveness but also its ease of use.
If you are trying to use Linux as a personal operating system, you will not require the programmer’s expertise or experience. Having a personal website with this system is truly easy. It is easy like generating a name and crafting a website using WordPress. Already many people have used Linux in order to enjoy a quality website and it can be also a great fit for you.
If you are not willing to host your website on WordPress, Linux cPanel will help in the entire process of your website development journey.
Without any doubt, technology is one of the major factors that we must consider to pick the best one between Linux and Windows hosting. If we look at Linux, we can see that it is using custom software and supports nearly all leading programming languages. But when it comes to Windows, we can see that it prefers to use specific Microsoft software to successfully run and manage data.
Linux works absolutely fine with MySQL and other database services. However, Windows prefers to use MSSQL. Windows hosting uses Microsoft ASP.NET as its main programming language and new programmers need to spend a significant amount of time learning and mastering ASP.NET.
We have seen that Windows Server Datacenter and MSSQL are used by various giant corporations to successfully develop and maintain proprietary servers. If you need to handle a legacy project, Windows hosting can help you. Also, if you need to host and run web applications based on ASP.NET, Windows hosting can be the ideal option.
On the other hand, Linux satisfies your needs perfectly. You know that MySQL is the leading as well as popular data management system in 2021. It also comes with sufficient software support. It can finely support Perl, PHP, Python, and so on.
If you are trying to configure a Linux hosting, you need to be familiar with NGINX or Apache. Or if you are a regular user and do not want to configure the server, Linux can be the most suitable option for you.
When it comes to customizability, the Linux server is the winner. If you are a beginner, you can start with any Linux distro. If you want to use Windows servers, you will need to get a licensed version of Windows Server Datacenter.
Linux comes with great customization options and all leading website builders like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. are compatible with Linux. These builders will also work on Windows servers but you have to put extra effort to ensure they work properly. Also, if you are taking the help of open source applications to customize your website, they may not support ASP.NET and that’s why Linux becomes a more viable option.
We have discussed various factors to draw the difference between Linux and Windows hosting. Based on the comparison, we can say that Linux is a better option if you are someone new to the world of web hosting. However, if you are a developer with a corporate background and need to handle more complicated tasks, you can prefer using Windows hosting.