Before launching your WordPress site, you will need to select a hosting platform. In addition to the functions of a company, you can also consider the operating system (OS) of its servers, which often boils down to two hosting options: Linux or Windows. However, the difference between the two is not immediately obvious.
Your server’s operating system can affect its behavior. Linux and Windows use different technologies and may not be compatible with all websites. It’s important to understand your goals, as the right OS can either help you or cause you a lot of stress.
In this article, we will explain what a server OS is. We’ll also talk about the differences between Linux and Windows hosting in terms of stability, development tools, and ease of use. Let’s start!
Introduction to Linux and Windows Server Operating Systems
Just as every personal computer needs an operating system, your server also runs on it. Most users won’t have to do this, especially if you just want to create a simple website. However, if you decide to delve deeper into your server configuration or network infrastructure, you should be aware of the various options available.
In most cases Linux will be the default server OS for your WordPress site. It is a more mature system that has earned a high reputation in the web hosting world. It is also compatible with cPanel.
In short, 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 secure because it is open source.
- Low cost: You are more likely to benefit from cheaper hosting plans as your ISP comes with no additional license costs.
On the other hand, Windows is the most popular desktop OS for PC users. In the context of web hosting, you may have heard of it as a Windows Server product.
Some of its main features include:
- Ease of Use: Windows is easy to install and configure, even for less experienced users.
- Developer-friendly environment: Windows makes it easy to develop web applications and customize the .NET framework.
- Innovation: Windows often uses cloud technologies and offers a hybrid approach to cloud hosting.
Please note that if you subscribe to a shared hosting plan, you will not have a choice of operating systems. You will need to choose a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated hosting plan if you want to choose your OS.
You may also be limited by which OS your preferred host offers. Several providers offering hosting for both Linux and Windows.
Why you can choose Linux or Windows hosting
Each OS behaves differently. Some web applications may not be compatible with Linux or Windows servers. Typically, your main focus should be on the type of software you want to install.
For example, launching a Sharepoint or Exchange site will work better with Windows. On the other hand, Linux is the best hosting choice for installing WordPress via cPanel.
When choosing an OS, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you prefer easy setup or more flexibility?
- Are you ready for additional costs?
- Can you do more to keep your site secure?
- Do you like using cPanel?
- Do you prefer to work with phpMyAdmin and MySQL databases?
- Are you going to rely on ASP, .NET or MS SQL to power your website?
Your answers will determine which OS is right for your goals. We’ll dive into the details in the section below.
Comparison of hosting on Linux and Windows
The two operating systems are very different. Here’s a comparison:
- User interface. Windows is easy to use thanks to its familiar menus. On the other hand, Linux relies on the command line with functions and syntaxes that can be difficult to learn. This is why many administrators rely on cPanel to simplify server maintenance.
- Stability and safety. While there are risks of being compromised for both operating systems, Windows is generally more vulnerable to threats. In addition, Linux is more stable and almost never requires a reboot. Windows can have trouble solving multiple problems, so it might 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 typical examples. They are compatible with other Microsoft applications, so you get better support. Linux may not run smoothly with these solutions, and relying on a Linux administrator is not ideal in a corporate environment.
- Development tools. Linux hosting is commonly used to set up personal websites with access to tools such as Apache, PHP, MySQL, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Experienced developers can also set up an NGINX web server or use Perl or Python. However, sites developed using Microsoft ASP.NET and MS SQL technologies will only work with Windows servers.
- Speed. Linux tends to be faster than Windows because it is lightweight and easy to use server resources when executing commands.
Finally, there can be a significant price difference between Linux and Windows hosting. Since Linux is free and open source, this is a more economical option. Plus, it doesn’t require regular updates and is easy to maintain, so dedicated servers using this OS tend to be cheaper.
Which hosting is best for WordPress: Linux or Windows?
When it comes to hosting a WordPress site, Linux is the best OS. WordPress is powered by PHP, which is much more difficult to set up on Windows. Microsoft Access database is not as reliable as MySQL and can slow down your website.
Since Linux does not require licensing costs, you can easily find affordable managed WordPress hosting that uses this OS. Plus, most of the popular hosts provide an intuitive control panel, making Linux easier to use than it would otherwise.
Linux also benefits from being an open source platform. Like WordPress, many developers contribute to the system to keep it stable and secure.
Finally, Linux is flexible enough to develop your own code and applications. However, if you plan to install the .NET platform or use applications such as ColdFusion, ASP Classic, or Microsoft SQL Server, you should opt for Windows hosting.
Choosing the right OS for your hosting can be an important detail, especially if you are looking to set up a VPS or dedicated server. Some applications only work with certain operating systems, so choosing the right one is key to achieving your goals.
As a reminder, Linux is the best choice for most WordPress sites due to its compatibility with PHP and MySQL databases. However, if you’re going to use development tools like the .NET framework, Windows hosting might be the best option for you.
Do you have more questions about Linux or Windows hosting? Let us know in the comments below!