If you want to create your website, getting a web hosting is quite rudimentary, and it should be one of the first things that you should get before you even start building the website. Hosting is a crucial part of the website where the website exists just like the hard drive on your computer. It doesn’t matter which CMS or technology you are going to choose for building a website you always need a web space to host or store it.
Web Hosting also plays a crucial role in how the website performs in the real-world and choosing the correct one can also help you increase the functionalities of the website that you will be running. If you want your website to have some advanced features, or want to make it more responsive, you should choose a good hosting provider so that things do not fall apart.
Well, when it comes to choosing hosting service there are many things that come to the mind of website owners. However, the first thing that would be whether should I go for Windows hosting or Linux hosting. As we all know both Windows and Linux are two different operating systems and they are also capable of running on a server and even on a web server that hosts websites.
So, today I’ll be talking about the basic differences between Windows and Linux hosting, and then I will talk about which hosting provider you should choose between the two when it boils down to your specific requirements.
The core difference between Linux and Windows hosting
When it comes to a hosting server, it is an enormously powerful computer that has an operating system running to manage the hardware and serve the clients. Unlike that of a normal computer, server operating systems are optimized for bigger systems and don’t function exactly the way our desktop computers do.
In the case of Linux web hosting, the operating system that runs at the core of the server is a Linux-based such as RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu, etc. It can be any distribution of Linux and most of the time they are without any desktop environment at all, however, that is hardly going to make any differences for an end-user who wants to use the Linux web hosting, or for users, who will access websites on that server.
On the other hand, in the case of Windows hosting, the operating system that runs at the core is a Windows Server edition by Microsoft. It is not Windows 7 or 10, but it is a specific server operating system that runs on these systems.
So, there lies the basic difference between a Linux and Windows hosting, and the difference in the operating system each of the servers run, leads to several other differences between the two hosting services that I will discuss in the next points.
When it comes to pricing, Linux hosting is always cheaper compared to that of Windows because Linux is an open-source platform, and Windows is not. Maintenance costs kept apart, Linux hosting can be offered without any extra charges. When it comes to Windows hosting, as we all know, it is a commercial platform and the hosting service providers also have to pay the licensing fees and that adds up to the final charges of the hosting.
Therefore, if you are looking for a cheap web hosting service, it is better to go for a Linux one, provided you are getting all the other functionalities that you need in your hosting service.
Web services that you get
The next most important thing that you should pay attention to while choosing a hosting is the web services along with it and the technologies that can be implemented. If you’re looking for certain open source technologies to run on your server, you can easily go for a Linux web hosting, however, those want to use certain software or applications that are developed by Microsoft, you have no other choice but to go for Windows hosting.
Coming to CMS (Content Management systems) like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Ghost, phpBB dnd other open-source technologies such as MySQL, Apache, Nginx, etc; certain applications and scripts that require certain Apache modules and if you want to use them on your web hosting, without any doubt the Linux one will be the best option to host.
On the other hand, if you need some Windows-specific applications like ASP, ASP.NET, Microsoft Access, and SQL Server, Visual Basic, C#, etc., you require a Windows hosting. There are also certain additional Microsoft services like Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange that can run on dedicated Windows hosting, and you need to pay separate licensing fees to use them on your server.
Control panel for the servers
When it comes to how we can control the web server, it also varies depending upon whether you are using a Windows hosting or a Linux hosting.
There are certain web hosting control panels like cPanel via WHM which can be used to control Linux hosting services. The popular cPanel from WHM or Web Host Manager can only be run on shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated hosting services. Thus, to get it you have to get Linux hosting service and most of the web hosting service providers offer it. Trivia: Best open source Control Panel for Cloud or VPS hostings.
On the other hand, if you are hosting a website on Windows hosting, you can use Plesk as a control panel available for both shared and dedicated servers running on Windows servers.
If you are familiar with Linux, you might already know that the file names on Linux systems are case-sensitive. It means main.html and Main.html are two different files on a Linux system, whereas, if you are using Windows hosting, the two files will be considered as the same file as the files on the Windows system are not case-sensitive. This is not going to play a crucial role when it comes to choosing, which web hosting you should go for. But this is one big difference that you should know about so that you do not run into problems with file names after you choose your web hosting service.
When it comes to stability, reliability, and security, the three most important aspects of web hosting, there isn’t much difference. Both Windows and Linux web hosting can be equally stable, reliable, and secure, depending upon how the developers are building the website. It is totally in the hands of the developer how reliable a website will be and how secure it will be for the end-users and web administrators.
Which web hosting service you should choose?
Finally, the question boils down to which web hosting should you go far. I have mentioned the differences between Windows and Linux hosting and now it is your decision.
- If you are having a budget constraint, Linux hosting is always a better option. But if you want to run certain complex applications on your website or web hosting that is specific to Windows, Windows hosting is the solution for you.
- If you are looking for a bulk of free and open-source applications and content management systems such as WordPress to run, it is better that you select Linux hosting.
Most reliable web hosting service providers offer both Linux and Windows hosting to cater to a wide array of users. Whichever web hosting service to go for, you should always check the reviews to ensure, the service provider is reliable, and the customer service is good. Also, make sure that the hosting service provider you are choosing promises maximum uptime so that your customers do not need to wait if your website goes down now and then. There are several other things that one needs to take into consideration such as service response time, Bandwidth, Reputation, Variety of Plans, Customer service 24*7, migration support, domain name management, security, and those aspects are also going to you have any effect on how well your website is going to perform.