Before launching your WordPress site, you’ll have to decide on a hosting platform. Besides the company’s features, you may also want to consider its servers’ operating system (OS), which often boils down to two options: Linux vs Windows hosting. However, the difference between the two is not immediately clear.
Your server’s operating system can impact the way it behaves. Linux and Windows use different technologies, which may not be compatible with all websites. It’s essential to understand your goals, as the right OS can either help you or cause you a lot of stress.
In this article, we’ll explain what a server OS is. We’ll also talk about the differences between Linux vs Windows hosting in terms of stability, development tools, and ease of use. Let’s dive in!
- 1 An introduction to Linux and Windows server operating systems
- 2 Why you might want to consider Linux vs Windows hosting
- 3 Linux vs Windows hosting compared
- 4 Which hosting is best for WordPress: Linux or Windows?
- 5 Conclusion
An introduction to Linux and Windows server operating systems
Just like every personal computer needs an operating system, your server also runs on one. Most users won’t have to concern themselves with this, especially if you just want to set up a simple website or a small WordPress blog. However, once you decide to dig deeper into server configuration or network infrastructure, you should know about the different options available.
Most of the time, Linux will be the default server OS for your WordPress site. It’s a more mature system that has earned a high reputation in the web hosting world. It’s also compatible with cPanel.
As an overview, Linux is an open-source platform with the following characteristics:
- Stability: The system has earned a reputation for being reliable.
- Flexibility: Linux can adapt to any environment.
- Security: Linux is considered safe due to it being open source.
- Low cost: You will most likely benefit from cheaper hosting plans as your provider bypasses additional license costs.
Some of its main features include:
- Ease of use: Windows is easy to set up and configure, even for less experienced users.
- Developer-friendly environment: Developing web applications and setting up the .NET framework is easy with Windows.
- Innovation: Windows often employs cloud-centric technologies and offers a hybrid approach to cloud hosting.
Note that if you sign up for a shared hosting plan, you won’t have a choice of operating systems. You will have to opt for a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated plan if you want to choose your OS.
Why you might want to consider Linux vs Windows hosting
Every OS behaves differently. Some web applications may not be compatible with Linux or Windows servers. Generally, your main point of consideration should be the type of software that you want to install.
For instance, running a Sharepoint or Exchange site will work better with Windows. On the other hand, Linux is the go-to hosting choice for WordPress installs via cPanel.
When choosing your OS, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you prefer an easy set-up or greater flexibility?
- Are you prepared for additional costs?
- Can you invest more effort into your website’s security?
- Do you like using cPanel?
- Do you prefer working with phpMyAdmin and MySQL databases?
- Are you going to rely on ASP, .NET, or MS SQL for your website to function?
Your answers will determine which OS is suitable for your goals. We’ll dive into the details in the section below.
Linux vs Windows hosting compared
These two operating systems are very different. Here’s a breakdown of how they compare:
- User interface. Windows is straightforward to use thanks to its familiar menus. On the other hand, Linux relies on a command line with functions and syntaxes that may be difficult to learn. This why many administrators rely on cPanel to make server maintenance easier.
- Stability and security. Although hacking risks exist for both operating systems, Windows is generally more vulnerable to threats. Also, Linux is more stable and hardly ever needs a reboot. Windows can have trouble dealing with multiple tasks, so it may not be the right choice for business-critical applications.
- Hardware and software compatibility. Windows servers are often used in large organizations with complex IT infrastructures. Sharepoint and Exchange are common examples. They’re compatible with other Microsoft applications, and as such, you’ll benefit from better support. Linux may not work smoothly with these solutions, and relying on a Linux administrator is not ideal in corporate environments.
- Development tools. Linux hosting is typically used for setting up personal websites with access to tools such as Apache, PHP, MySQL, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Experienced developers can also configure an NGINX web server or use Perl or Python. However, sites developed with Microsoft ASP.NET and MS SQL technologies will only work with Windows servers.
- Speed. Linux tends to be faster than Windows as it’s lightweight and easy on server resources when executing commands.
Lastly, there may be a significant price difference between Linux vs Windows hosting. As Linux is open source and free, it’s a more cost-effective option. Also, it doesn’t require regular updates and is easier to maintain, so dedicated servers that use this OS typically cost less.
Which hosting is best for WordPress: Linux or Windows?
When it comes to WordPress hosting, Linux is the better OS. WordPress runs on PHP, which is much harder to configure on Windows. The Microsoft Access database is not as robust as MySQL, and it may slow down your website.
As there are no licensing costs associated with Linux, you can easily find affordable, managed WordPress hosting that uses this OS. Also, most popular hosts will provide an intuitive dashboard, making Linux easier to use than it otherwise would be.
Linux also benefits from being an open-source platform. Like WordPress, many developers contribute to the system to ensure it’s stable and secure.
Finally, Linux is flexible enough for custom code and application development. However, if you’re planning to set up the .NET framework or use applications like ColdFusion, ASP Classic, or Microsoft SQL Server, you should opt for Windows hosting.
Choosing the right OS for your hosting needs can be an essential detail, especially if you’re looking to set up a VPS or a dedicated server. Some applications only work with specific operating systems, so picking the right one is key to achieving your goals.
To recap, Linux is the best choice for most WordPress sites due to its compatibility with PHP and MySQL database. However, if you intend to use development tools such as the .NET framework, Windows hosting might be a better option for you.
If you’re interested in some hosts that let you choose between both Linux and Windows servers, check out our reviews of the following providers:
Do you have any more questions about Linux vs Windows hosting? Let us know in the comments section below!
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