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The Age Old Question: Linux vs Windows Hosting: Which is the Best?

One of the most difficult problems with choosing a hosting company is making the decision to either use a Windows based server or a Linux based server. While there are a number of choices out there, Windows and Linux make up the majority of all the servers on the internet. Most of the sources you’ll find on the topic are very opinion based, thus making them not very helpful. This article will seek to keep a direct, factual based approach to both platforms.

Open vs Closed

Microsoft owns and develops all of the windows operating systems. This means that this source is only updated by Microsoft. That is one of the primary differences between Windows and Linux. Linux, however, is completely open sourced and generally speaking free. This means for a hosting company it’s generally more expensive for the licenses to run Windows machines. This is why you typically see a bit of disparity between the prices of Windows and Linux machines.

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All PCs Need Windows

A bad assumption by some new web developers is that if the target audience runs Windows then the server mush run windows as well. This is far from the truth. In fact, the client will never know which server you’re running. As a web developer however, there will be stark differences in the way each system runs and operates. Some may find that Linux is a little too complicated and stick with Windows instead. This is a valid argument.

Reliability is a Myth

One argument against Windows is its reliability over Linux. The main reason Windows gets a bad reputation is the sheer number of users on Windows makes the operating system a natural target for hackers.  However, Linux is the most common server platform and has just as many attacks made on it. The bottom line is the security of the server is solely based on the performance of its administrator.

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Server Side Code

The primary thing to consider here is what do you want to do with your hosting? It really depends on what kind of site or platform you want to use. Microsoft has a ton of plug in style systems like ASP.Net, Access, Windows Streaming Media and MSSQL that can help with the development of a site. Linux has all of these functions as well, but they are usually expensive and a little less on the features that their Microsoft brothers.

Choosing your server platform really is just a matter of preference. Choose what you’re comfortable with operating as well as what you’re comfortable with building sites in. Everything else is just a mild foot note.

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