If you're new to web hosting, you may be wondering if you should use Linux or Windows for your web hosting environment. In this article we'll go over the advantages and disadvantages of each of the platforms, so you'll be able to make an informed decision.
Linux vs Windows Web Hosting
In most cases, the decision to use linux or windows for your web hosting is a pretty simple one, and it really depends on what technology you're using to build your website.
Most content management systems (CMS) are based on PHP, and some popular examples are Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you're building a PHP based website, we strongly recommend linux for your web hosting, because it's usually cheaper, faster, and leads to fewer complications. We'll go into more detail on each of these points later in this article.
The other popular website programming framework is ASP.NET. If you're building a website based on ASP.NET (including ASP.NET webforms and ASP.NET MVC), you'll need to go with windows based hosting. This is necessary because the latest version of ASP.NET is usually not supported in linux.
Basically, if you're using anything other than ASP.NET, we recommend linux, since it seems to support pretty much everything else.
If you're looking for a new web hosting company, we recommend HostGator and InMotion Hosting. HostGator offers both linux and windows hosting (and has some pretty decent coupons available), while InMotion Hosting currently only offers linux as an option. They're both very reliable and are usually highly recommended by most of the web hosting community.
Why linux for non-ASP.NET based websites?
Although windows web servers do support PHP based sites, you'll usually run into complications if you try to run them on windows. The reason for this is most PHP based content management systems were designed to run under linux, and there are some differences in how linux and windows php sites function. So if you do try to run a PHP website under windows, expect to do some troubleshooting.
Linux web hosting is usually cheaper
Since most linux-based operating systems are free to the hosting companies, they're able to charge less for linux hosting plans.
PHP based websites typically run faster under linux
When running an identical Wordpress website under linux and windows, my page load times were much faster under linux. Load time has a big impact on your search engine ranking and user experience, so this is definitely something to consider.
Linux based websites seem to require fewer system resources
I also noticed when migrating from windows to linux hosting that the same website didn't need as much memory on linux as it did on windows. Most virtual private server (VPS) hosting plans charge you based on how much memory you need, so by reducing this requirement, you can end up saving some money on your web hosting each month.