A key option to consider when purchasing web hosting is the web server’s operating system. Hosting customers are typically presented with two choices: Linux Hosting and Windows Hosting. Most are much more familiar with Windows and will dismiss Linux hosting out of hand. This is a mistake.
Familiarity with how to use the operating system doesn’t matter in a hosted environment. The actual inner workings of the web server itself are the responsibility of the hosting company’s staff. Instead of saying, “I don’t know Linux so I don’t want Linux hosting,” companies need to educate themselves on the benefits of hosting on a Linux server. Considering benefits like increased uptime, better performance and inexpensive licensing is enough to sway any company toward Linux hosting.
Any site that needs the maximum amount of uptime should consider Linux hosting over Windows hosting. Linux is a very simple operating system that usually features a stripped down command line interface. Even Linux distributions with a GUI — graphical user interface – are less resource-intensive than Windows. This means that Linux servers don’t crash nearly as often as Windows servers and don’t need anywhere near the amount of care and maintenance, increasing server and site uptime dramatically.
Linux hosting web servers have much better performance than their Windows counterparts for the same reason they have superior uptime. With Linux, the operating system doesn’t take nearly as much from the server’s resources as in Windows. This means that processor cycles, hard drive access and memory, the three main factors impacting server performance, can be far more dedicated to web applications instead of the OS.
Windows Server licensing costs a lot just for the basic flavor of Server 2003 or 2008. Add higher-end Windows Server platforms like Windows Server Enterprise or factor in per-seat licensing costs and the price goes even higher. While companies buying hosting don’t pay for their own server OS license, they do subsidize the hosting company’s increased cost through higher hosting fees. Linux distributions are usually either free or come with far lower prices and virtually no added fees, so Linux hosting is much more cost effective, making it another reason to favor Linux hosting.