Windows or Linux Hosting - Which Should You Choose?

One of the most basic decisions facing anyone creating a website is that of selecting which operating platform to use.

What Not to Worry About?

Many assume they have no choice – that if they are running Windows on their PC they have to use Windows web hosting, or Linux with Linux. This is not true.

The next concern people have is security. Windows has a reputation for being more vulnerable to security problems. The truth is Linux can run into the same security issues, but these are addressed quickly, while Windows generally has to wait for a new service pack to be released.

Rather than spending time fretting over which platform is more secure, focus on choosing a host that has competent, timely network administration. This is vital if you want peace of mind.

What about price? Linux is thought of as being cheaper, but the cost of Windows hosting is usually absorbed by the web host. You’ll find hosts that offer Windows and Linux hosting packages at similar price points.

What Should You Base Your Choice On?

The main difference between Windows and Linux is the scripting languages they support. You may already be trained in and comfortable with certain scripting languages, and if you aren’t in a position to be learning any new languages, this will affect your choice.

Both Windows and Linux support HTML, Javascript, Flash, Real Audio, video, CGI, pop mail IDs and FrontPage. Windows supports ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion and MsSQL. Linux supports applications scripted in Perl, MySQL and PHP, though PHP is also usable with Windows. Applications such as Joomla and WordPress are supported by Linux servers only.

In general, Windows works well for a dynamic site with a searchable database or interactive chat; but you’ll want a Linux platform if you are planning a static, content-driven site. Linux has a reputation as a platform that scales well, but Windows is guaranteed to be compatible with any Microsoft technologies.

If you’re still nervous about making a decision, you’ll be glad to know that once you have settled on an operating system, you aren’t locked in if your needs change. Websites built on one platform can be transferred to another, though moving from Linux to Windows tends to be easier. You will be prepared for this possibility if you select a web host that offers both Linux and Windows packages.

The Final Decision

Both platforms have their pros and cons. Some of those cons are exaggerated, and the pros will be unique to your experience and the type of website you plan to create. Regardless of platform, a decision based on your needs will be a good decision.