Linux Vs Windows Web Hosting

One of the most difficult decisions any new comer will need to make is which web hosting platform would he or she wants their server to be on. Two of the most popular choices are Linux and Windows web servers. Before we can tell which web server is more appropriate for our website, it is worth-while to research some of the key functionalities, advantages and weaknesses of these 2 types of web hosting platforms in advance to facilitate the necessary selections.

• Cost – as Microsoft owned the Windows operating system, it is much more expensive to setup up and run a Windows server as compared to Linux, which is an open source operating system which is free of charge, available to anyone.

• FTP commands and control panel – Both Linux and Windows servers support these well, however some of the FTP commands are slightly different between 2 operating systems because some of the FTP programs are designed with one or another in mind. That’s the reason why occasionally you will get error messages running some of the FTP commands on your server.

• Support – compared to Windows, Linux has limited support for some of their technology which proved to be expensive and limited at times. Linux is running on much specific technologies as compared to Windows which is much more generic.

• Security and reliability – As Windows is widely used for home PC, there is a tendency that the security features incorporated for this operating system is not as high technology as those for Linux, which are mostly used by developers and system engineers only. The probability of successful hack attack on Windows OS is a lot higher than Linux OS may also be contributed to their end users as people tend to look for flaws in these common systems.

• Performance – Linux has been reported to be of high performance mainly due to the way Linux servers are packaged. Linux plans are more specifically designed for their target customers. On the other hand, Windows usually offer an ” all in one ” package to their users as general. Thus, with Windows, the users get most of the features, if not all, from the Windows OS, while for Linux, their customers will only get what they specifically have called out for.

• Conversion – if there are plans for you to change your OS in the near future, then having a Linux web server now is fine as this conversion should be smooth and easy to have your website converted from Linux hosting to Windows hosting. On the contrary, it is indeed a nightmare for anyone who wished to convert their website from Windows hosting to Linux hosting.

• Ease of interaction – if there are any needs for interactions between your website and the visitors or customers, it is more suitable for your website to be with Windows hosting as this OS support online chat services and messaging services much better than Linux hosting.

• Level of expertise – Windows hosting is more user-friendly and it is suitable to be used by anyone, even those with no experience find Windows hosting service easy to learn and manage, while for Linux hosting, it is designed for those with extensive experience and knowledge on web hosting and technical back-ground.

Should I Use a Linux Or a Windows Server?

Even some folks who are pretty computer savvy, and can make Microsoft Office jump through hoops, are less knowledgeable when it comes to the operating system (OS) and networking technology that drives the Internet. Most people who do not work in that end of the business need to do a little homework when confronted with the question, Should I use a Linux or Windows server?

There are some arcane hybrids and do-it-yourself OS schemes around, but the OS choice you have at most hosting companies today is between Linux and Windows. Hosting companies don’t always clarify exactly why one might be better than the other for a particular customer or situation, leading some folks to conclude that there is really no difference at all. This is not the case. It does matter what kind of server you use, and there are clear differences between Linux and Windows.

Licensing costs money

All the various flavors of Windows, from the multiple versions of the new Windows 7 to the “enterprise” (server) packages, belong wholly to Microsoft, also known as the “Evil Empire” to the hackers and open source fans that prefer Linux. Linux, being open source, is free. This is the first major difference with important repercussions, since the hosting company’s costs for licensing Windows will be passed on to the customer (that’s you). Free, open source Linux means lower hosting costs all around, if only by a few dollars per month.

Getting a Windows hosting package is going to be a bit more expensive, but not so much more that you should make the difference a deal-breaker. Other factors — the make and model of the servers, company location, package offer details — can affect pricing as much or more, so make sure to get the big picture and don’t bog yourself down in an “OS controversy.” That said, you should know the operational, stylistic and tech-related differences between the two server types in order to make an informed decision.

Slow down and consider

Now, simply because you use a PC with Microsoft (MS) Windows, or even built your own Web site with it, doesn’t mean you have to have a Windows server. You will access your site through such tools as Web-based control panels and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software, and can do so from a Macintosh running Mac OS X, a PC running Windows 7 or a homemade computer running Mandrake or RedHat (distributions of Linux). Some commands will differ, perhaps, but all the tools do the same thing, in much the same way.

Slow down enough to consider what you actually need to do with your site and what you expect from the server (and hosting firm). E-mail protocols, both IMAP and POP, work fine in both environments, as do PHP, the standardized HTML and XML, JavaScript and “file helpers” like Adobe Flash and Reader. However, Frontpage extensions, ASP, the.Net environment, Access, Windows media and other MS technologies will require a Windows server. For these particular features, Linux support ranges from limited to non-existent, and trying to work around the restrictions will cost you a lot more than paying the difference between the hosting packages.

Security and management

There have been some contentious arguments about the relative stability and security records of Linux and Windows server environments. Some computer professionals are simply knee-jerk anti-MS partisans, and there are also any number of MS fans that are anti-Linux (as well as anti-Mac). The fact that Windows is the most common OS in the world has both advantages and drawbacks. Millions of people are working on making it better, and just as many are trying to shoot it down in flames.

On the other hand, Linux is now most common server OS in use and hackers have had greater than expected success subverting it, too. The fact is that the platform in use is not as important to security as systems administration, attentive technicians and company management. If security is high on your list, you need to examine the company as much or more than the company’s equipment. Don’t take their marketing materials as a promise — do some due diligence here. It matters.

A toss-up?

There is probably little difference in server performance because of the choice of OS. Again, it can come down to how the companies install their software and maintain their hardware — Linux just might be “faster” in some functions than Windows if, in fact, the Windows OS was installed in default mode and not “tweaked.” (This can be true of Linux installs, too, of course.) In the broadest terms, performance is comparable and you can have a fine, effective and efficient hosting experience with either kind of server.

The bottom line is that you should certainly consider the kind of server, particularly if you use MS technologies than need a Windows environment, but your search should be for a good host, not a good server. A company with the best equipment in the world will be no help to you if it is mismanaged, oblivious to security lapses and technologically out of its depth. With a rough equivalence in features, reliability, security and cost, a “winner” is impossible to choose beforehand. You can win — or lose — with any kind of server, so keep looking at the big picture and just make your decision.

Linux Vs Windows Hosting Platform

After you have finished your web design and you think you are well prepared to publish your website to the people from all over the world, then it is essential to purchase a web host for your web business online. Web host is divided into two categories when it talks about operating system, Linux and Windows hosting plans. Which one is better, Linux or Windows? This is a real dilemma especially if you are lack of understanding.

In this state of things, it is natural for you to fall into the popular debate of which platform is better. Actually, both have pluses and minuses. Leave the debate alone and think of what is best for you. Many people who have little computer knowledge may make a decision according to the operating system that is installed on their personal computers. This is an error of judgment as the operating system of your PC is totally irrelevant to your selection of web hosting operating system and there is really no need to take it into account. Instead, the basic criterion for your selection should be in accordance with what platform will help you the most. In short, it is your website requirement rather than operating system of your PC should be considered.

Do you need to use following components or technologies that is only compatible for Windows server?.NET scripts, Microsoft SQL, Microsoft Access databases, ASP or ASP.NET scripts and other Windows scripting applications will not compatible with Linux server. Therefore, if you are a fun of Microsoft, it is advised that you should choose a Windows based platform so that you will make full use of different software and application of that company.

On the other hand, with Linux server, you will be able to run PHP scripts, MySQL databases, Python, XML and many other languages. If you are planning to run your website with platform independent languages such as, PHP and MySql, it is a wise choice to go with a Linux server. Linux is an open source system, where anyone can contribute to the development and it is well known to possess remarkable power and stability. As long as they are administered properly, Linux servers are able to several queries at the same time. Linux based databases, such as MySql and PostgreSql are relational databases and they are both inexpensive and very efficient. With either of these database, you website can operate very well. Linux servers are famous for dependability as they often maintain a very high percentage of uptime, at least 99.9%. Linux web hosting servers enjoys great popularity among webmaster and developers also contribute to its great reliability.

Linux hosting plans are generally 20% cheaper than Windows hosting plans. This is mainly because that Linux server and its supporting technologies are open source technologies and many online communities make various contributions without any charge while Windows is developed the stuff of Microsoft Company at very high operative costs and the company force people to pay for their license fee before using the Windows server. To use Windows server software it will cost your hosting company much more than using the free of charge Linux server software. And less cost for your hosting company will means less cost for you.

In addition, with Linux server, you will enjoy the greatest of ease when it comes to switching over to Windows system. If a user’s requirement changes with the website development, it is also fairly easy to upgrade a Linux server to meet that needs. Due to the great versatility, Linux has become a platform for many new technologies that become widely used in hosting industry.

To sum up, if you do not need support for some unique Microsoft products to set up unique features for your website like a searchable database or a chat facility, then Linux hosting servers will perform beautifully and flawlessly without doubt. Finally, it all depends on what you need rather than on the merits and demerits of the server. Except for website requirements, for many people the major factor in choosing a web hosting plan is usually the cost. With the fierce competition in web hosting market, many hosting providers are offering cheap hosting deals.

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.