While researching what Web Host to use for your website, one of the challenges you are likely to run into is- what operating system should my ideal host be using? Most Web Hosts use either Linux or Windows operating system.
It is a little tricky as you will find all sort of information on the internet on the advantages and disadvantages of both Linux and Windows based hosts. Your question should not be
which is better of the two operating systems? but
which best suits my needs?
If you are looking to deploy specific Microsoft technologies in building your website like MySQL, or ASP.NET or Microsoft Access- it would be better for you to use Windows hosting. You can use these on a Linux based host too, but with complications. So it saves you some stress if you just go with Windows.
If you are looking to build a simple blog, website or store and do not concern yourself with any of the web developer jargon mentioned above, then you are good to go with a Linux based system.
Note that PHP, WordPress, Perl, MySQL and most Blogging Software work better with Linux Based Host. They will also work on a Windows-based Host, however, Linux provides a lot more compatibility and they can be integrated with ease and without the need for modifications.
Hopefully, from the exposition, you know the operating system you’d prefer for your next web project. At this point if you already have a web project, you’re wondering how to tell what operating system your host runs on.
Here are four ways to tell if your host is Linux or Windows based:
If you access your back end with Plesk, then you are most likely running on a Windows based host. On the other hand, Linux hosts use cPanel which is the most popular back end interface. Linux based hosts also use Web Host Manager. So, how you access your back end is your first pointer on which operating system your host uses.
For those who build dynamic websites, the chances are that if you have been using MySQL to manage your database, you run on a Linux based host. On the other hand, Windows hosts use Access to build and manage database. MySQL may also be installed on a Windows host but this usually requires some modifications and may not be as smooth sailing.
Transferring your files in and out of the server on both operating systems is through FTP Access. Linux, however, provides telnet or ssh access as well, allowing you to remotely access your files. While Windows has the capability, you will not often find this on Windows hosts.
Also, Linux files are usually case sensitive while Windows files are not. For example- Home.php on Windows is the same as HOME.php while on Linux they are entirely different files. The problem with this on Linux is that it may cause you to lose traffic as visitors may make mistakes with the case and get 404 errors. Although, there are ways around this.
The bottom line is that, with the popularity of Linux, it is the ideal Web Hosting Operating system and unless you do have specific needs, we will recommend that you go for a Linux host.