Windows Hosting versus Linux Hosting - Which is right for you?

Joe Duchesne

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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 noticable.

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 everthing 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.

This article was written by Joe Duchesne, president of , a web hosting company that offers Linux Hosting plans. Copyright 2004 Yowling. Reprint Freely as long as you provide a clickable link back to my website from this resource box.


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