Choosing a provider of cheap website hosting is complicated by the need to decide between Windows hosting and Linux hosting. There are some basic differences between these two types of hosting service, but it is usually more important to choose a reliable and professional hosting provider than to worry about whether it is based on Windows or Linux.
Linux – the secure choice
Linux is generally considered a more secure and stable service than Windows. This is largely because Windows is the most common operating system for home computers, and has therefore been targeted by many hackers. However, Linux is a common choice for hosting services, and has been subjected to numerous successful attacks. The security of a hosting service is more dependent on the abilities of the administrators and the efficacy of the procedures they put in place than on the system being used.
In terms of performance, there have been claims that Linux can handle a greater number of processes and will therefore be able to make the server work harder. This is true to a certain extent, but a professionally managed hosting service will be able to provide a high level of performance whatever system it is based upon. It is rare for users to notice any difference in performance between the two systems, although if you have extremely high requirements, then you may wish to choose a Linux based system.
There are some differences to the way in which Linux and Windows based services can be used. Files can be uploaded to the server using FTP access on both types of service, but Linux web hosting services may also provide users with SSH or telnet access, allowing them to manipulate their files while they are on the server, using Unix command lines. Both types of hosting service also offer options for users who need a little more support to manage their own websites, usually through a control panel.
When to go for Windows?
A matter of personal taste
It does not matter what operating system is being used on the computer where the website will be created. It is possible to use either Linux or Windows web hosting, whether you are using a computer that runs Windows or Linux, or even a Mac.
One reason why many people choose Linux over Windows is that they prefer the idea of using an open source system rather than one produced by a major corporation, or vice versa. Some people feel that a system produced by professionals and with the power of a huge company such as Microsoft behind it is likely to be a higher quality product.
Even though Linux is open source, this does not mean that a Linux hosting service will cost less than one that uses Windows. There are plenty of cheap hosting services available that use both Linux and Windows. The difference in costs only affects the person who is running the service, and is rarely passed on to the people who are using it to host their own websites.
Ensuring that you are choosing a professionally run service and that it will allow you to work in the way that you want, to create your perfect website is more important than choosing one which runs on a particular system. There are some differences between Windows hosting and Linux web hosting. The most important are those that restrict the use of certain programming languages and programs to use with a certain system, as these can affect what you can do to your website. You should base your decision on the capabilities of the service and on the skills and reputation of the company and the administrators that run it.