Linux and Microsoft Windows are two different operating systems. Windows is a well-known household name and does not require much introduction. Linux is a new version of the Unix operating system. Both these operating systems make excellent environments for web hosting. However, there are some differences between them.
To help you decide whether Linux or Windows hosting is better for you, we look at the following elements:
Linux is known as an “open source” operating system. i.e. there is no licensing fees to pay. Therefore, compared to Windows, Linux is very cheap. Starting with Windows XP, Microsoft has begun enforcing software activation. This means that a single copy of Windows can only be installed on one computer. With Linux, once you own a copy, you are free to install it as many times as you wish on any number of computers.
Linux is reputed to be very stable and reliable. This means that a Linux server is much less likely to crash than a Windows server. Subsequently, a Linux server will mean more ‘up time’ for your website.
Linux has many more years of experience than Windows in hosting.
There is no real difference in speed between Linux and Windows, but Linux is slightly faster in processing basic web pages.
Windows support ASP (Active Server Pages), a Microsoft programming/scripting language, which allows you to build dynamically database-driven web pages by connecting to a Microsoft database such as SQL Server or Access. Linux does not support ASP nor Microsoft databases, but uses MySQL database instead.
If you use Microsoft Frontpage to create your website, it doesn’t mean that you have to choose Windows hosting. All Linux accounts come free with Frontpage extensions, which allow you to upload your Frontpage website to your web space on a Linux server.
There are many CGI programs available on the Internet. The majority of these are Perl scripts and have been developed on Linux / Unix web servers. So they tend to install more smoothly and operate more reliably on a Linux server. Moreover, many Perl scripts are downloadable from the Internet free of charge.
To summarise, most users find that Linux hosting is easier to use, more reliable, provides free, open source software and is much cheaper than Windows hosting. So unless you particularly need to use Windows specific features such as ASP and an Access database, it is probably a better choice to choose Linux over Windows.