Windows and Linux are the most popular types of web hosting, and as such, a hosting provider will typically ask you to choose between a Linux and Windows hosting plan. However, people often aren’t sure which plan they should choose because they don’t know which criteria are important in making this decision. Well, we’ll try to shed some light on which type of hosting you should select – and this doesn’t mean choosing Windows because your home PC runs on this OS.
Does my OS make a difference?
The choice of Linux or Windows hosting is not determined by your operating system. In other words, you can run a Windows-hosted site on a Mac or Linux system just as easily as you can on a PC with Windows installed. Even if you are more familiar with Windows than you are with other operating system, this doesn’t matter either.
The reason it doesn’t matter which type of OS you use is that nothing from your web host’s server will be running on your home computer, or vice versa. The programs you’ll use to edit your website from your computer (such as Dreamweaver, an FTP program, or a web browser) are not dependent on your operating system. In other words, you’ll see the same user interface, regardless of which hosting type you choose. The important criteria determining whether you should choose Windows or Linux hosting is not your OS; rather, it is which programming language you prefer.
Linux and PHP
If you want to use a programming language called PHP, you should choose a Linux hosting plan for your website. But what is PHP? PHP is a very popular programming language that is easy to learn and is used on many of today’s websites. Many popular content management systems (CMS) are based on PHP. Some of these include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and OpenCart, for example. Usually, PHP is paired with a MySQL database.
The use of SSH and applications or scripts needing specific Apache modules also necessitates a Linux-based server. Please keep in mind that if these terms mean nothing to you, that’s OK, because they probably don’t matter! If you don’t have a preference regarding the programming language used to create your website, then you can choose either type of hosting.
Windows and ASP.NET
If you use a technology called ASP or .NET, you will want to choose a Windows hosting plan. As you may have guessed, ASP is another type of programming language. Sites built with this technology can usually store their information in an MSSQL or MBD database. Some Windows-specific technologies are as follows:
- ASP Classic
- MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
- MS Access (Microsoft Access)
- Remote Desktop (dedicated server and VPS only)
- Visual Basic Development
Other types of hosting
Although Windows and Linux are the most common and readily available hosting types, there is another type of hosting called Unix. Unix is very similar to Linux. However, it is not as common and is typically a lot more expensive.
Many people also wonder about Mac hosting and try to find hosts that use Mac servers. However, if you look for Mac-specific hosting, you’ll probably be looking for a long time. There are virtually no “Mac hosts” out there, but of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t edit your website on your Mac. As mentioned, the type of hosting you choose does not depend on your OS.
What if the provider doesn’t mention the type of hosting technology?
Some providers do not mention a choice of hosting technology when you sign up for a plan. In this case, they will typically give you access to PHP only. In the case of providers offering both PHP and ASP on the same plan, they are usually mixing the two technologies together – watch out for this, since, unfortunately, running PHP on a Windows computer can negatively impact site performance and speed.
To conclude, if you want to use Windows technologies such as ASP, .NET, or MSSQL, you should choose a Windows plan. For those who use PHP, Perl, or MySQL, then Linux hosting is the way to go. If you don’t have a preference among any of these technologies, then you can choose either Windows or Linux hosting.
Are you looking to launch a new website? Take a look at our Windows and Linux hosting plans, offered on our super-fast servers.