Linux vs Windows for Web Hosting

linux_vs_windowsTypically when choosing a website hosting solution the first thing you should consider is the appropriate operating system for your system. The most common operating systems include Linux and Microsoft Windows. There are also unpopular solutions possible through Unix and Macintosh but you will often find less support for these platforms.

This article will focus on the popular solutions of Windows and Linux. Based on a given requirement each operating system serves their unique purpose. Comparisons below are made about important aspects of each operating system.


Security is one of the most important areas within the industry. It is a common misunderstanding that windows servers contain more vulnerabilities than Linux servers. Security risks are often the fault of the administration rather than the operating system. Ensuring that your software updates and security patches as well as other tasks are always up to date is just part of a good security administrator’s job. As software evolves there will always be new security risks and this will not change. For security, look at your server management team rather than the operating system.


The most common type of server access is FTP and both platforms allow this type of access. Both operating systems allow standard to advanced control panels. The major difference here is that Linux is able to support SSH and telnet access. Windows has the ability to support telnet however it is neither standard nor common.

File Types:overview_filetypes

Windows and Linux both support standard HTML, Cold Fusion and JavaScript files. At one point it wasn’t possible to use FrontPage extensions on a Linux server but it is now possible for Linux based servers to run FrontPage file types. Perl and CGI platforms are often supported by Linux rather than windows. If you need to use either of these file types on windows be sure that the software is specifically supported. PHP is commonly supported under Linux while ASP and.NET¬†is commonly supported by Windows.


This is often where platforms can make a difference. Access and MS SQL databases are only supported by Windows where MySQL databases are more commonly found on Linux servers but are still supported by Windows servers. Many users maintaining their databases through access or MS SQL will want to run a windows server and vise versa.


There may also be certain application specific requirements that must be considered. Applications can have elements of functionality hard-coded for a particular Operating System, there by forcing the administrator to adhere to these conditions.


Historically, one of the biggest draws for Linux, as an operating money_icon1system, opposed to windows, was the fact that it was open-source and free for all. This however can become a pitfall for some that are not familiar with Linux administration due to the lack of native support accompanying its open-source licensing. Microsoft however has a very different approach with Windows based software. Although priced competitively on most applications, there can be many more budget constraints that administrators must account for when choosing windows over Linux. With this licensing model, administrators can rely, in most cases, on additional support provided with the purchase.

Currently, most platforms are supported on both Linux and Windows. Just be sure when shopping for a server that you have everything you need to fully develop your project. These comparisons are a very basic outline of some of the contemplations Server administrators must be aware of when choosing Linux vs. Windows for Web Hosting.

January 1, 2010  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Web Hosting

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