Windows vs Linux hosting: how to choose

Open-source software, security factors in Windows vs Linux hosting choice

Windows vs Linux hosting is choice that many companies grapple with as they build out IT infrastructure. But deciding which one is best for your company’s specific needs is a relatively simple process. While Windows is the most common operating system desktop computers and workgroup file servers, Linux dominates when it comes to web servers. However, deciding Windows vs Linux hosting isn’t a popularity contest;  the best choice is determined by understanding the the types of development environments and application a business prefers to utilize.

Windows vs Linux hosting: development environments

If your server applications were developed with a programming language in the ASP.NET/.NET family, such as C#, Visual Basic and J#, your business will likely opt for Windows server hosting. These programming tools were developed by Microsoft and designed to create applications which run natively on Windows.

However, if you’re using Python, PHP, Perl, or Ruby to develop applications, Linux hosting is probably the better choice. Another reason to opt for Linux is if you intend to deploy one or more of the very popular open-source applications that run on the Apache or Nginx web servers, which are both open-source tools themselves. Examples of such applications include WordPress, Drupal, and Magento.

Windows vs Linux hosting and the open source movement

Windows vs Linux hostingAlthough Linux is well known as the free operating system for free open source applications, businesses sometimes fail to plan for the costs associated with deploying and maintaining Linux-based infrastructure.

A Linux hosting specialist can help reduce or eliminate this pain point, providing cost-effective services at a fixed monthly cost. If you’re planning to save on programming costs while expanding your access to more open-source software options, Linux hosting may win the Windows vs Linux hosting battle.

Windows vs Linux hosting: security

There’s a common belief that Linux is inherently safer than Windows. One reason often cites is that because Windows is more popular on the desktop, it is a more natural target for cyber criminals. The reality is, with either OS, security will depend significantly on the safeguards offered by your hosting provider. No matter which server operating system you ultimately select, choosing a hosting provider that offers state-of-the-art network security and a guarantee of 100 percent uptime is vital to keep your application hosting environment stable and secure.

Photo courtesy Lasse Havelund