Windows and Linux are the two most prominent platforms in the web hosting industry and although some web hosting providers specialize in one platform, a vast majority choose to offer Windows and Linux web hosting services. Both platforms offer very different features, although they also share some features meaning that in some cases web applications are able to function on Windows servers as well as Linux servers. Either platform can be applied to any form of web hosting which helps to ensure that whatever your requirements are, you can select the appropriate form of web hosting that will be running the operating system that you require; for example, whilst Windows and Linux shared web hosting services are available, you can choose to have any version of either operating system installed on a dedicated server – both forms of web hosting are at opposite ends of the scale and market. Depending on what you expect of an operating system, it may be a good idea to consider a specialist web hosting company that will allow you to make the most of the operating system’s features; by doing so you will be able to make the most of your website and develop a system that will be able to provide you with a high level of uptime.
In terms of pricing, you are probably going to find Linux hosting to be more suitable for your requirements than Windows web hosting. As Linux is an open source operating system, web hosting providers can charge low prices for their Linux web hosting services as the overheads are rather low – the only cost that they need to consider is their own hosting costs, although in some situations they may be using additional commercial software such as control panel software. Windows on the other hand is a commercial operating system meaning that any Windows web hosting package is going to be slightly more expensive than a Linux web hosting service of a similar specification; however, this shouldn’t put you off using Windows web hosting as Windows has features to offer than Linux will be unable to offer you. The main idea is that the Windows operating system is targeted more at businesses that wish to make use of the enterprise level features that the operating system has to offer, whereas in terms of hosting, Linux is a more consumer-orientated solution.
The technologies that each platform is able to support are the main difference and are usually the factors that can affect the decision on which platform to use. Linux and Windows can both offer a wide variety of similar services; for example, PHP hosting and MySQL hosting are possibilities on both platforms as both technologies are available for Windows servers and Linux servers. However, there are applications and technologies that are also platform dependent meaning that they will work on one operating system, but not the other. A good example of a dependent application would be Microsoft SQL Server as it will only run on the Windows operating system thus meaning that if you wish to use MSSQL databases, you can only choose a Windows web hosting service. There are also applications that are specific to Linux distributions only; i.e. the cPanel control panel, a popular choice of many web hosting companies, will only work with Linux servers.
Both operating systems can also offer different levels of uptime and reliability due to the way in which they function, although you still need to consider that the hardware available will have an affect. Windows servers are usually restarted every time a new application or software update is installed and all of these restarts cost uptime meaning that the downtime can rack up over time; however, any inconvenience here can be avoided by changing the way in which Windows servers are managed. Linux on the other hand is much more forgiving when it comes to software updates and application installs meaning that you won’t usually need to restart the server, thus causing less downtime over all. The hardware available can also be an issue in some situations as low specification servers are always going to be more susceptible to downtime as it won’t take much to overload them; for this reason you should always consider a server that can provide you with slightly larger resource requirements than what you actually require.
In conclusion, Windows hosting services and Linux hosting services both have their own benefits and one of them will suit your requirements depending on what your needs may be exactly. As a business you will want to choose the operating system that can offer you the highest level of uptime in relation to what your needs may be; however, you may need to make some compromises if you have a tight budget that leads you to choosing Linux hosting over Windows hosting.