Windows Or Linux Hosting?

Which operating system is better? Windows or Linux?

I am not going to answer this question definitely. I don’t believe there is one simple answer as well as I can’t provide a “this OS is better” statement. Windows and Linux have its own advantages and disadvantages. People usually say that Linux platform is more reliable and stable. Linux users and programmers are usually fanatics of their operating system.

On the other hand, Windows OS doesn’t have so much fanatics, or they do not show themselves so much. This may be explained by the fact that Windows was develped by Microsoft, and not by many independent programmers.

Windows and Linux Performance

If we compare Windows against Linux, we can note one thing: Linux can handle more processes that runs simultaneously at the same time being much better than Windows. Windows becomes unstable when running many processor on a single machine.

This might be a very good reason to choose Linux, but in my opinion, a server can perform very well regardless of the operating system: Windows or Linux. Its all up to system administrators and server hardware.

Linux is always free. Windows costs money!

There is very popular opinion that Linux flourishes because of its open-source. Many programmers work hard to improve Linux’ quality. Mainly, Linux operating system is always free.

But Windows (as well as Linux) is a global and powerful product developed by many programmers from Microsoft. But the difference is that Windows programmers are paid for their work by Microsoft. Microsoft Windows operating system is paid, so every hosting company that wants to provide customers with Windows hosting should buy one or more Windows Server licenses.

So, what is the decision?

The right decision between Windows and Linux should be made based on your website and other needs. The right decision should be made base on the technology your web site is going to use.

There are many technologies you can use while writing your website application.

There are such technologies as PHP, Perl, Pythod, ASP, ASP.NET, Java and more. ASP, ASP.NET and PHP deserve special attention due to their huge popularity and functionality. PHP is open source project and can be used for free. ASP and ASP.NET are the Microsoft products and work only with Windows. However, PHP can be used on both Windows and Linux. But mainly PHP is used on Linux.

Making the correct decision

Microsoft Windows is an operating system and a hosting platform that has one big advantage: you can use ASP and ASP.NET. If you are going to use ASP and/or ASP.NET for building your web application, then Windows hosting is the right choice for you at the moment!

And, you can easily use PHP on both Windows and Linux. For example, if you want to migrate from ASP.NET to PHP you will not need to change your operation system – you can still use Windows!

Going back to Linux: while you can’t use ASP on Linux, this OS is the most popular for web hosting servers. The stability of Windows and Linux depends on system administrators, not on operating system.

Finally…

As for me, the owner of the hosting company, I recommend to use Linux as your default decision because of its deserved stability, reliability and price (Linux hosting is always cheaper than Windows because Linux is free and, as I said, Windows always costs money for the hosters). However, some features are not supported by Linux, for example, ASP and ASP.NET. If you require these technologies, then this is the time to choose Windows as your web hosting platform.

Windows Or Linux Hosting

Windows Hosting is a highly popular hosting solution wherein websites are hosted via Microsoft Windows NT or 2000 Internet Information Server (IIS). Developed by Microsoft Windows, windows servers take into account access to the Active Server Pages (ASP), MS SQL, Microsoft Access, Microsoft and FrontPage.

A popular alternative to windows hosting is Linux-based hosting for operating a website. Linux Hosting services include useful features like PHP and MySQL support, Apache Web Server, Chmod file permissions, and Mod Rewrite Support. Some of popular Linux solutions include Debian, RedHat, and Slackware etc. This type of hosting is a cheap, affordable and safe hosting option for websites based on OpenSource technologies. A big advantage of Linux is that the customer sites are safe, secure and stable. Also, this hosting is very compatible with e-commerce functions often used by small businesses widely.

The best deal about Windows-based Hosting is that customer gets excellent support along with steady stream of updates. However, it is needs to be understood that windows hosting needs more resources when compared to Linux hosting. The ready availability of.NET technologies like ASP based on windows platform encourage many users to go for windows hosting plans.

It is well known that ASP technology is by far the best for larger databases in comparison to PHP or Perl and MS SQL. In fact ASP platform, though expensive than UNIX hosting, is very convenient to use instead of working on Linux platform for such applications. Windows hosting with ASP.NET provides the best solution for better performance and reliability.

The best deal about Windows related Hosting is that customer gets excellent support along with steady stream of updates. However, it is needs to be understood that windows hosting needs more resources when compared to Opensource hosting.

Some of the other feature-related differences can be understood well from the table below:

Comparative Features in Win/Linux Hosting

FrontPage Extensions- Both

FTP Access- Both

Telnet/SSH Access LIMITED(Win) Full (Lin.)

CGI/PERL LIMITED (Win) YES

ASP YES LIMITED (Lin)

PHP LIMITED(Win) YES (Lin)

Access Database YES NO(Lin)

mySQL Database- Both

HTML & JavaScript -Both

COLDFUSION -Both

You might be wondering about the price points while choosing between Linux/Windows Hosting as far as web hosting India is concerned. Obviously the scales veer in favor of Linux plans that render savings of almost 20% than Windows-based hosting. A key reason for this is the Open Source parentage of Linux server and its supporting technologies. Windows set up, on the other hand, involves high operative costs and the licensing fee hassle to be crossed while obtaining a Windows server. Small and medium size B2B website content companies prefer Linux solution due to cost-effective nature of plans and no downtime issues.

Linux-based hosting is a clear winner apart from its cost-advantage and secure operating environment. It’s highly compatible with ecommerce functions often used by small businesses widely. Some of popular Linux solutions include Debian, RedHat, and Slackware etc.

Linux environment Hosting services include useful features like PHP and MySQL support, Apache Web Server, Chmod file permissions, and Mod Rewrite Support. Hosting on Linux is a cheap, affordable and safe hosting option for websites based on OpenSource technologies. Linux platform is more reliable and less probable to crash.

Running Windows Applications

The perceived inability to run windows applications on Linux is what keeps many individuals from trying Linux. It turns out that it is possible to run many popular Windows applications on Linux PCs using one of several software technologies. Products that will allow Windows applications to run on Linux include:

  • Cedega from TransGaming Technologies Inc.
  • CrossOver Office for Linux from CodeWeavers Inc.
  • QEMU from Fabrice Bellard
  • VMware from VMware, an EMC company
  • Win4Lin from Win4Lin Inc.
  • Wine from the Wine Project

Cedega

TransGaming Technologies bills themselves as “the global leader in the development of software portability products for cross-platform gaming”. Their flagship product, Cedega, allows games originally created for Windows to run on Linux, “out-of-the-box”.

CrossOver Office

CrossOver Office from CodeWeavers allows many popular Windows applications to run on Linux. The list of applications that CrossOver Office allows to run on Linux is quite extensive and includes applications such as: Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Project and Visio, and graphics applications such as Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, and Adobe Photoshop, and much more. CrossOver Office also allows individuals to use many Windows Web browser plugins, such as QuickTime and Shockwave. CodeWeavers uses Wine technology in its CrossOver Office Products (see the Wine description later in this article).

CrossOver Office has been tested on many Linux distributions. The complete list may be found on the CodeWeavers web site.

CrossOver Office is available in two versions, Standard and Professional. The Standard version is intended for home users and Linux enthusiasts, while Professional is more for commercial users and builds on the functionality of Standard by adding enhanced deployability features, as well as the ability to run CrossOver Office in shared mode from a single machine.

QEMU

QEMU is a generic open source processor emulator that was developed by Fabrice Bellard. It is available for free. QEMU allows a user to run one operating system, such as Windows, within another one, such as Linux.

VMware

VMware comes from VMware, Inc., an EMC company. VMware allows users to to run multiple virtual machines on a single PC. Each virtual machine can run a different operating system. The net result is that VMWare allows a user to run multiple operating systems on a single Intel-based PC. Using VMware, a user can run a Windows virtual machine and Windows applications on a Linux PC.

VMware Workstation supports a long list of Linux distributions as the host operating system. You should check with the VMware web site for the specific releases and kernel levels supported.

VMware also provides the VMware Player for free. The VMware Player can run virtual machines created by VMware Workstation, GSX Server or ESX Server. Pre-configured VMware virtual machines may be obtained from the VMWare Virtual Machine Center ([http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/vm/]).

Win4Lin

Win4Lin from Win4Lin Inc. provides a Windows virtual computing environment that runs on Linux allowing Windows applications to run on Linux. Win4Lin comes in three versions that would be appropriate for the home user:

  • Win4Lin Home, which is targeted for the home or small business user.
  • Win4Lin 9x (Formerly Win4Lin 5), which is targeted for the home user/hobbyist, or business users who do not require Windows 2000.
  • Win4Lin Pro, which is targeted at power users who require Windows 2000 or XP.

Win4Lin runs on most 2.4.x or 2.6.x Linux distributions. Win4Lin 9x and Win4Lin Home require a modified kernel to work. For most users, the Win4Lin graphical installer will select, download, and install the appropriate binary replacement kernel, making patching the kernel unnecessary. However, there are some distributions that may require users to compile a vanilla kernel from source. Such distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4, and Fedora Core 3 and 4. Some Linux distributions include Win4Lin support in their default kernel or make a Win4Lin enabled kernel available, including: Gentoo, Linspire, SimplyMepis, and Xandros. Win4Lin Pro does not require kernel modification.

Running Windows Applications

The perceived inability to run windows applications on Linux is what keeps many individuals from trying Linux. It turns out that it is possible to run many popular Windows applications on Linux PCs using one of several software technologies. Products that will allow Windows applications to run on Linux include:

  • Cedega from TransGaming Technologies Inc.
  • CrossOver Office for Linux from CodeWeavers Inc.
  • QEMU from Fabrice Bellard
  • VMware from VMware, an EMC company
  • Win4Lin from Win4Lin Inc.
  • Wine from the Wine Project

Cedega

TransGaming Technologies bills themselves as “the global leader in the development of software portability products for cross-platform gaming”. Their flagship product, Cedega, allows games originally created for Windows to run on Linux, “out-of-the-box”.

CrossOver Office

CrossOver Office from CodeWeavers allows many popular Windows applications to run on Linux. The list of applications that CrossOver Office allows to run on Linux is quite extensive and includes applications such as: Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Project and Visio, and graphics applications such as Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, and Adobe Photoshop, and much more. CrossOver Office also allows individuals to use many Windows Web browser plugins, such as QuickTime and Shockwave. CodeWeavers uses Wine technology in its CrossOver Office Products (see the Wine description later in this article).

CrossOver Office has been tested on many Linux distributions. The complete list may be found on the CodeWeavers web site.

CrossOver Office is available in two versions, Standard and Professional. The Standard version is intended for home users and Linux enthusiasts, while Professional is more for commercial users and builds on the functionality of Standard by adding enhanced deployability features, as well as the ability to run CrossOver Office in shared mode from a single machine.

QEMU

QEMU is a generic open source processor emulator that was developed by Fabrice Bellard. It is available for free. QEMU allows a user to run one operating system, such as Windows, within another one, such as Linux.

VMware

VMware comes from VMware, Inc., an EMC company. VMware allows users to to run multiple virtual machines on a single PC. Each virtual machine can run a different operating system. The net result is that VMWare allows a user to run multiple operating systems on a single Intel-based PC. Using VMware, a user can run a Windows virtual machine and Windows applications on a Linux PC.

VMware Workstation supports a long list of Linux distributions as the host operating system. You should check with the VMware web site for the specific releases and kernel levels supported.

VMware also provides the VMware Player for free. The VMware Player can run virtual machines created by VMware Workstation, GSX Server or ESX Server. Pre-configured VMware virtual machines may be obtained from the VMWare Virtual Machine Center ([http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/vm/]).

Win4Lin

Win4Lin from Win4Lin Inc. provides a Windows virtual computing environment that runs on Linux allowing Windows applications to run on Linux. Win4Lin comes in three versions that would be appropriate for the home user:

  • Win4Lin Home, which is targeted for the home or small business user.
  • Win4Lin 9x (Formerly Win4Lin 5), which is targeted for the home user/hobbyist, or business users who do not require Windows 2000.
  • Win4Lin Pro, which is targeted at power users who require Windows 2000 or XP.

Win4Lin runs on most 2.4.x or 2.6.x Linux distributions. Win4Lin 9x and Win4Lin Home require a modified kernel to work. For most users, the Win4Lin graphical installer will select, download, and install the appropriate binary replacement kernel, making patching the kernel unnecessary. However, there are some distributions that may require users to compile a vanilla kernel from source. Such distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4, and Fedora Core 3 and 4. Some Linux distributions include Win4Lin support in their default kernel or make a Win4Lin enabled kernel available, including: Gentoo, Linspire, SimplyMepis, and Xandros. Win4Lin Pro does not require kernel modification.