When it comes to operating systems for your computers, Windows is by far the most popular choice, while Linux can be considered its greatest challenger. Indeed, Windows dominates this niche of the industry so much that you would be forgiven if you thought that the same applies to the web hosting industry. However, this is not the case.
In the world of web hosting, Linux reigns supreme.
In other words, most web servers are run using this operating system. The reason for that is Linux’s simplicity, and the fact that it is also a free open-source product probably has something to do with that too. Windows hosting, on the other hand, is much more demanding and does not allow you to use PHP, a very common and simple scripting language.
Since most servers use Linux hosting, you can probably guess that this type of hosting is very reliable and safe. Indeed, it can be argued that it is even more reliable than Windows when it comes to servers. On top of that, it can easily support WordPress websites, so you can very easily get your site up and running. However, if you’re new to all of this, allow us to answer ten most frequent questions about Linux hosting for you. This is what you need to know if you’re looking for some basic info about that topic:
What is the difference between Linux hosting and Windows hosting?
Well, obviously, they use different operating systems. But what does that mean? To put it simply, it means that you will have access to some very different features. For example, you will have to use different control panels (cPanel for Linux, Plesk for Windows servers). Additionally, you will need to pay attention to certain applications that can only be used on one type of server (more on that later). The fact that Linux is so much more popular and more straightforward also means that web designers have a much clearer idea of what to expect.
Apart from all this, the price will differ significantly. This is because Linux is completely free (and open-source, remember?), so your provider of web hosting services does not need to pay anything for it in terms of licensing and will be able to charge you much less to cover their costs and make a profit. Windows do not allow for this, so the services concerning these servers are generally much more expensive. A big advantage for Linux hosting here, no doubt about that.
Can I use Linux hosting if my computer runs Windows and vice versa?
The short answer is – yes. The operating system your computer uses has nothing to do with the operating system the webserver runs. Whichever system you have installed will be able to connect to the server without any problems, and you will be able to conduct your business perfectly smoothly. This shouldn’t ever be an issue.
Which apps can I use with Linux hosting, and which ones with Windows hosting?
When it comes to apps designed specifically for one of these operating systems, Windows has quite a lot more of them. Things like MSSQL, ASP Classic, ASP.NET, MS Access, and C# all need to be run on a server powered by Windows hosting. On top of that, Windows Dedicated Servers can even add some applications to this list, such as Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Exchange. And it is quite possible that you will need to pay extra for the last two since you need a license to run them.
Linux, on the other hand, has a much shorter list of exclusive apps. SSH is one of them, and pretty much everything that needs an Alpha module falls into this category, too.
Can WordPress be used with Linux?
Yes. As a matter of fact, WordPress can be used both with Linux and Windows hosting, but there are some differences that you need to be aware of. Specifically, the experience you get from using and setting up your blog on a Linux server is much smoother and significantly faster than on Windows servers.
Therefore, not only is Linux able to support WordPress, but it is actually the recommended platform for all blogs and even phpBB forums.
Through its control panel, you will be able to manage any WordPress website easily. As a matter of fact, why don’t we say a few words about that control panel next?
What is a cPanel, and why is it important for Linux hosting?
cPanel is actually a control panel based on Linux, which allows users to manage everything related to web site hosting through an intuitive graphical user interface, which allows even a complete beginner to fully grasp it in a short amount of time. It really is just a matter of learning where to click to fulfill a need of yours – no coding skills are required or anything like that.
cPanel also comes with plenty of tools that help automate and speed up various processes. Through this control panel, all administration can be done using just a web browser, so it makes the whole process of web hosting much more efficient and more accessible. A number of add-ons also exist, and some of them have a price attached to them, with Auto Installers leading the way in this respect. This, however, may not be necessary for you to run things smoothly. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
What is CloudLinux?
CloudLinux is essentially a slightly advanced version of the standard Linux server operating system. It is designed with servers that receive a lot of traffic in mind and keeps different accounts on the same server completely separate, which improves the overall stability and security of a server. To put it simply, if an account’s traffic increases by a lot in a short period, CloudLinux will not slow down the entire server but will keep the overload contained to that particular account. This is especially important when it comes to shared web hosting because, in this case, one server can accommodate multiple accounts, so it would be very inconvenient if everyone would have to suffer the consequences of a traffic spike for just one account.
Additionally, the control system administrators have is much greater, and this allows them to fine-tune the way a server operates and manage its resources more efficiently. Since this is an advanced version of Linux, you will often encounter this system on high-profile servers, which primarily offer shared hosting.
Which Linux distribution should I choose?
Just to clarify, a Linux distribution is a combination of the Linux kernel and a package manager, which combine to create a new operating system. The number of these combinations is quite high (there are several hundred of them available at the moment), but products such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and many others have managed to make a name for themselves. As a matter of fact, Ubuntu is fairly well known today, both as a server and as a desktop distribution, and is always a solid choice.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercial distribution that covers a lot of fields such as app development, storage, cloud, etc., and the fact that it has the support of a big and experienced company certainly has its advantages. However, if you’re going in solo and just want something nice and simple, CentOS could very well be perfect for you. It is nice and simple and works great with cPanel, plus it is maintained by volunteers and is even compatible with Red Hat. This last feature does not always apply to the advanced version when it comes to upstream compatibility.
What is Linux hosting based on in terms of technology?
A big advantage of Linux web hosting is that it uses quite simple but very reliable and well-known technology. PHP has already been mentioned in this article, and this is a programming language familiar to most web designers. Apart from this, however, Python can also be used as it comes with Linux and is one of the simplest programming languages out there. Finally, XML is also there, which is very important for data transfers. Through this language, much better control of information is achieved than if using the old HTML system.
MySQL database management system is also present. Since this is something available for all operating systems, it is also very much widespread and used by pretty much all websites that handle a lot of data that has to be browsed quickly according to a certain feature. All of this makes Linux very accessible and approachable, so setting your website up really shouldn’t be a problem.
Is Linux web hosting safe?
Linux web hosting is just about the safest form of web hosting you can find. As a matter of fact, some estimates say that more than 95% of all websites are on servers powered by this operating system. Others state a much smaller number, but still an overwhelming majority. So, Linux is indeed very safe and very reliable, and compared to it, Windows hosting has a fair amount of issues and can be quite unstable when executing many tasks at once.
This is because Linux is, as mentioned earlier, a piece of open-source programming, which means that literally anyone can help develop it. Since the system has been around for quite some time, a huge number of programmers have poured in their knowledge into it. Each of them made an upgrade or a modification that allowed the system to run better and more smoothly, so what you have today is an almost perfect product. You do not have to be afraid of putting your website on a Linux-powered server one bit!
I am starting my website, which type of web hosting should I use?
Go for Linux, no doubt about that. That is unless you’ve been charged by some large corporation to create a website for them (which seems rather unlikely at this day and age). The thing is blogs, personal websites, online shops, and stuff like that all prefer Linux, primarily because of its simplicity and intuitiveness. We’ve already mentioned the technology behind this operating system and cPanel, which usually comes with the service you purchase, and you will be able to set up e-mails easily, manage all kinds of software and even skip a few complicated hurdles altogether when it comes to tuning the server and maintaining it the way you want. In addition, WordPress runs better on these servers. With all that in mind, Linux is really the number one choice at the moment and makes creating new websites accessible to pretty much everyone.
Linux web hosting is the best type of web hosting you can currently find online. Not only that, but it can be considered to be the very foundation of the modern internet since an overwhelming majority of websites are run on Linux servers. Compared to its main competitor, Windows hosting, the advantages Linux has are numerous and quite obvious. For example, it is a more affordable system, it is based on widely spread technology most people are familiar with, WordPress runs much better on it and so forth. And since Linux is an open-source piece of software that has been out for everyone to see for a long time, it has also become exceptionally reliable and safe.
In short, if you’re not going for something that explicitly demands Windows technology, Linux web hosting is the only type of web hosting (when it comes to operating systems, of course) you should consider. Quite literally, millions of websites and servers all over the world are based on it.