The debate on whether Linux or Windows is the better web hosting OS has gone on for several years. When making this decision, there is a lot to consider, so review the information below to determine which is best for you.
Pros and Cons of Linux for Web Hosting
Linux is the traditional operating system (OS) of choice for individuals with extensive professional web hosting experience. The main reason for this is that it is a free open source system, allowing web hosting providers to use every aspect of the OS without paying a dime in licensing fees.
This is a central factor in the business of web hosting. By cutting costs using Linux, web host providers can offer their services at a fraction of their competitors’ prices, propelling them to the top of customers’ preferences.
However, this is precisely where Linux’s main drawback is as a potential OS for web hosting. Using Linux requires a level of technical expertise that you are highly unlikely to need when working with Windows. Although the corporation aims to keep the OS’s structure as straightforward as possible, it occasionally entails complex operation (including updating processes), and you cannot install some third-party programs without an administrator.
Plus, you’ll need to work directly in the command line to execute many essential functions on a Linux OS. Without prior experience in coding, this may be the sticking point that excludes you from this system.
(You can hire an administrator to do this for you, but this defeats the purpose of saving money by using the open-source system in the first place.)
Still, it is compatible with a broader range of script languages than Windows, including Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby.
Pros of Using Linux as a Web Hosting Operating System:
- It’s an open-source system that’s free of charge
- Typically protected by better cybersecurity than Windows
- Places less strain on your hardware
- Better customizability for those experienced with Linux distros
Cons of Using Linux as a Web Hosting Operating System:
- Requires experience with coding since you must execute core functions via the command line
- You can only do some configurations and installations with administrative assistance
Pros and Cons of Windows for Web Hosting
Since Windows is not open source, you will have to pay licensing fees when using this system.
However, many site owners feel that the cost is well worth it since Windows is far more familiar to a lot of people than Linux. (This popularity also means that more programs are compatible with the Windows OS.) Plus, you’ll get more technical support in that paid package, so it’s not exactly a bad deal.
Still, this can cut into your earnings, as you will have to pay more to maintain your hosting services than you would if you’d chosen Linux as your OS.
Another benefit of Windows is that you don’t have to use the command line to execute essential functions. (You still can if you want, but it’s not required.) This leads to one of the system’s double-edged swords: It can install software autonomously.
This is a huge selling point for beginners. Windows aims to make its system as user-friendly as possible to all skill levels. So, you can intuitively operate your system via the graphic user interface (GUI).
While this can be highly convenient, it’s also the very trait that invites cybersecurity and performance issues. If it downloads hazardous programs or an error occurs in installation, the system may be compromised.
Plus, its functionality is more limited than Linux. Windows is compatible with VBScript and ASP.NET, and only works with Plesk administrative software vs. Linux’s cPanel, Plesk, and Confixx.
Pros of Using Windows as a Web Hosting Operating System:
- Very beginner-friendly
- Updates and installations can be automated
- Compatible with more third-party programs and applications
- Comes with a guaranteed support package
Cons of Using Windows as a Web Hosting Operating System:
- You have to pay licensing fees
- More cybersecurity issues than Linux
- Limited script and administrative software compatibility
Summary: Is Linux or Windows Better for Web Hosting?
The choice of whether Linux or Windows would work best for you depends on your level of experience, the extent of customizability you may want, and many other factors.
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Generally, those with higher levels of technical experience would greatly benefit from using Linux as their web hosting OS. On the other hand, if you want greater versatility with third-party program compatibility as a beginner, Windows is your optimal choice.