Every web site on the internet is hosted on a web server that is managed through the use of an operating system, similar to how you control your computer through the operating system. This aspect of web hosting is quite often overlooked, and a lot of novice webmasters don’t even know what kind of operating system their hosting plan uses. Nowadays, if you don’t know what operating system your hosting plan uses, there is a very good chance that it runs on Linux. This is because the Linux operating system is the default choice for nearly every web hosting provider.
The cheapest and most reliable web hosting plans usually have Linux as their operating system because it is a free open source software that is easy to service and install. However, Linux wasn’t always so convenient or popular, and at one point it was only used by corporations with IT departments and in-house residents. Over the years, Linux developed into many flavors that are friendly to even the most novice user. The following are some of the most cited reasons for using Linux hosting instead of Windows.
Open Source Compatibility
As an open source software, Linux is compatible with virtually any programming platform other than those that are native to Windows or Microsoft technology. Some of the programming languages that Linux is compatible with that are incredibly popular are the three Ps – PHP, Perl and Python. Since the operating system is open source, new programming languages can be developed around the Linux base to ensure future compatibility, and existing languages can be amended to accommodate the Linux software. This allows hosting companies to provide instant support and continue expanding their technological capabilities within an open source platform. With a Windows server, hosting companies have to wait on updates from Microsoft, and they cannot add custom developments to the operating system.
Stability and Security
Surprisingly, even though the operating system is free, it is generally much more reliable than the Windows operating system because anyone can perform maintenance on the software without waiting for the operating systems manufacturer. This makes Linux a stable solution that can be maintained by anyone with the knowledge and willpower to do so. Linux is also one of the most secure operating systems, which is another reason why so many people use it for web hosting in an industry which security is of the utmost concern. The Linux operating system effectively keeps your web site free from worms, intrusion and third party viruses that can compromise the safety of your online business. This reliable protection minimizes downtime and keeps your site up and running without any problems more than 99.9 percent of the time.
The Linux operating system is not without its limitations however, as it is not compatible with some Microsoft based software that are commonly used by bigger businesses. For example, Microsoft Sharepoint could not be installed on a Linux server without virtualization software. Fortunately, if you’re experienced enough, you can install a visualization software and urn Windows within the Linux operating system, completely eliminating such limitations. Thus, there are very few limitations within the Linux operating system, and it is easy to see why it has progressed from a private to a public solution in the past two decades.