Linux or Windows – Which Operating System should you opt for? (Part One)

Figuring out an appropriate operating system on which your website will be hosted is the first major decision while developing your website. Once you’ve selected your OS, choosing a hosting provider is easy.  There’s always some confusion around picking the right operating system for your website – some companies only provide either Linux or Windows.

It is better to pick a Web host based on its features and services rather than on the operating system its running on its Web servers, as the difference between OS platforms is limited in terms of functionality. However, if your site is being coded in a certain programming language, it would be prudent to check for language & database compatibility before purchasing a web hosting package.

This two part blog series talks about the pros and cons of Linux and Windows Hosting, so that based on your requirements, you can make a informed choice 🙂

Linux Hosting

When it comes to Web hosting, Linux has, for some time, been widely considered the best OS for Web servers. It’s typically found to be the most reliable, stable and efficient system. These qualities are critical given the demanding environment of Web and mail servers.

The most common question that comes up here is – what application are you looking to use for your hosting? Its important to consider the tools and scripting languages that you plan to use – if you use PHP, Perl or MySQL, Linux is the way to go!.

Pros of Linux Hosting

1. Stability –A Linux operating system has traditionally been believed to be very stable and robust. A web site housed on a Linux operating system will typically have high up-time (of the order of 99.9%). Of course, other factors such as system configuration, power supply, network admin skills, and network load etc. also contribute to system uptime.

2. Low cost of ownership – The Linux OS comes free of cost (or at very insignificant cost, usually at cost of distribution). To add to this, a Linux Hosting package has a fully fledged server, and supports desk top applications such as FTP, Web Server, DNS Server, File Server etc. that come free along with the OS.

3. Easy to use – Hosting on Linux servers is easier than Windows and you can use almost all types of file extensions (or scripts). Commonly, the following extensions are supported:  .cgi, .html, .htm, .pl, .php, .shtml, .xml, and others.

Basically it means that you can host web sites that use different types of server side scripts including .cgi, .pl, .php, and .asp (with plug-in).

4. Scalability – Usually, a web site starts with a few pages of html and grows over a period of time to suit the customer’s requirements. It is preferable to design a web site keeping these requirements in mind. A web site designed for compatibility with a Linux/Unix based web server meets the scalability requirement easily without making any site wide design changes.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post, where we’ll talk about Windows Hosting and its benefits. Let’s have you make your decision then 🙂

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