The most common operating systems used by hosting service providers on their web servers are Windows and Linux. It would be interesting to understand major differentiating factors between these two most popular operating systems and how these can impact overall aspects of web hosting.
VPS Hosting and Operating Systems
VPS hosting is the most appropriate hosting for running a business website that is posed for a healthy growth. It offers amazing features including dedicated resources, robust server controls, excellent hardware, and privacy that can be comparable only with dedicated hosting.
Linux and Windows are two options to run Virtual Private Servers. These share a wide array of similarities and facilitate same basic functions. The common functions supported by these operating systems include resource scaling, running applications, and storing your business critical data.
However, there are few important differences between these operating systems that need to be studied before making a final decision.
Linux Operating System
Linux has been providing robust support to corporate environments for more than three decades. It is an open source version of UNIX and is highly regarded for its stability and reliability. Web hosting industry has been leveraging Linux for performing a plethora of tasks including DNS services, web server support, and email hosting, just to name a few.
Linux is reckoned for its extensive support to a large number of open source applications that can be availed for free. One needs to analyze the hosting needs in terms of the databases, programming languages, and applications, before choosing Linux operating system for VPS hosting. In fact, you may be pleased to know that Linux has outstanding compatibility with Python, Perl, and PHP scripting languages in addition to its strong support to databases such as Postgre and MySQL.
The reason why Linux is preferred by majority of VPS hosting users as well as providers is its cost effectiveness apart from reliability. If you do not plan to run Windows specific applications, then you are totally justified to use Linux operating system for running your VPS. It is found that most web hosting providers pass on the cost advantage to clients because being an open source development, Linux is a free distribution.
In case you need your website that is hosted in Linux environment needs to be migrated to Windows operating system, then you can achieve this without hassles. However, a website hosted with Windows operating system cannot be shifted to Linux environment. This also holds true for shifting open source applications from Linux to Windows, since majority of open source applications are designed to support multiple operating platforms. This is the most striking reason for preferring Linux over Windows operating system.
One of the major differences between Linux and Windows operating systems is the case sensitivity. If your site is running on Linux operating system, then there are chances of 404 error if the URLs or addresses are not typed in proper cases. For example a file named as ContactUs.html will return an error if you type contactus.html. In contrast, Windows operating system is not case sensitive and attaches no significance whatsoever to the capitalization of letters.
Windows VPS Hosting
If your website is hosted on a Virtual Private Server that runs on Windows operating system, then it is known as Windows VPS hosting. Windows environment does not support a large spectrum of open source applications or utilities. This is due to the fact that Windows is a proprietary solution developed and distributed by Microsoft for a price as far as the license is concerned.
Windows operating system is available for over a decade and is a relatively younger platform than Linux hat is around for over four long decades. Therefore Windows lacks the maturity and stability of Linux operating system. In spite of this, Windows operating system is rapidly getting established due to its adoption by several corporate websites.
Thanks to the commercial nature of Windows operating system, the applications developed for Windows are married to the system including SQL and ASP that can be run only in Windows specific environment.
Windows is particularly appreciated for being a robust platform for development related tasks. It does provide a highly user friendly environment that can accelerate development processes. Windows operating system is mandatory for developing a Windows based application.
As mentioned earlier, Windows is a commercially developed product and requires Windows specific tools to run including .NET, and ASP. This makes it impossible to move Windows based websites to Linux VPS environment. Then there is an issue of case sensitivity of Linux operating system that can really make things overwhelming.
Linux and Windows operating systems are two amazing platforms to operate Virtual Private Servers with great deal of differences as well as similarities. A decision to choose the right operating system for your VPS should be influenced by the type of programs and software applications that you intend to run.
If you plan to use Microsoft programs, then a Windows operating system would be ideal for running your VPS.