Windows Hosting versus Linux Hosting

There are literally hundreds of thousands of web hosting companies out there. Many of these companies offer both Windows hosting and Linux hosting plans. Windows plans usually cost more because of the license costs imposed by Microsoft. Knowing this, how can you know when you need Windows hosting and when Linux hosting will work just as well or better? Keep reading to find out.

Windows operating systems are found on something like 95% of all personal computers in the world. With such a total dominance, Microsoft Windows is top of mind to most new people looking for web hosting.

In the web server world though, Windows based servers are behind less than 20% of all websites on the internet. This is according to the latest web server survey from By choosing a Linux hosting plan, you will find yourself in good company.

When do you have to use Windows Hosting?

1. .NET technologies including are not available on Linux platforms. If you have a website built with Microsoft .NET technologies you will have to choose a Windows hosting plan. In fact, if you need ASP without .NET features, most Linux hosting plans do not offer support for it.

2. Access Databases are only available with a Windows hosting plan. Access runs on a Microsoft Windows platform and cannot run on a Linux Operating system.

3. MSSQL is an enterprise class database put out by Microsoft. If you need an enterprise class database there are some alternatives that run on a Linux platform but if you need Microsoft’s MSSQL database, a Windows hosting plan will have to be your choice.

4. If you are using Microsoft’s Sharepoint services like some of the Sharepoint features found in Frontpage 2003, a Windows Hosting plan is your only choice.

What is the advantage to choosing Linux Hosting?

All the major services you need to run an enterprise class website are available on Linux based systems for free. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are being used together to provide the infrastructure behind some of the most traffic intensive sites on the internet.

PHP runs better on a Linux server than on a Windows server. Having said that, unless you are putting a heavy load on your PHP scripts, this will not be noticeable.

In general, Linux hosting plans are at least 20% cheaper than Windows hosting plans. If you don’t need any of the features mentioned above, Linux hosting is a fine choice for your needs.

For Microsoft specific technologies, Windows hosting plans are usually your best bet. For everything else, Linux hosting plans will usually do quite well. With the cost savings usually found with Linux hosting plans, Linux hosting is usually the right choice for you.

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.


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.