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We have been asked this question from our customers several times, about the difference between Linux and Windows web hosting. Well, just because you have been using Windows Operating system on your local machine, and have not used Linux operating system, does not mean you need to buy a hosting package that uses Windows servers.

Linux and Windows are two different types of operating systems. Linux is an opensource and the most popular operating system for web servers. Since Linux-based hosting is more popular, it has more of the features web designers expect. So unless you have websites which need specific Windows applications, Linux is the preferred choice.

Our only intention to present you with this article is to help you deciding if you wish to go for a Linux Web Hosting solution, or a Windows Web Hosting Solution. We will take you through the differences between both so you can decide which system works best for you.

Lets concentrate on Windows hosting first:

Windows Specific Applications:
The real difference between the two systems lies in the scripting languages that Windows and Linux use in webpage production. ASP scripting is more often found on Windows and hence below we have drafted a few applications that particularly require Windows Server:

[list type=”tick”]
[li]ASP Classic[/li]
[li]Visual Basic Development[/li]
[li]Remote Desktop (vps or dedicated server only)[/li][/list]

Windows dedicated servers can support additional Windows-specific applications. For some applications, you may need to purchase a license and install the software on your Windows dedicated server.

[list type=”tick”]
[li]Microsoft Exchange (requires license & Installation)[/li]
[li]Microsoft SharePoint (requires license & Installation)[/li][/list]
Note: Software not included with the server is not supported by our technical support staff, since we would not know how your server and applications are setup.

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Linux Specific Applications:
PHP scripting is more often found on Linux systems. While CGI and Perl access are often found on both Windows and Linux servers, it is more typically found on Linux. Below you will find a few applications that require a Linux-based server:

[list type=”tick”]
[li]FrontPage Extensions[/li]
[li]Scripts or applications that require specific Apache modules[/li][/list]

Bottom line; you should choose a Linux Hosting account if you’re going to use PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, or CGI scripting. Or, choose a Windows Hosting account if you’re going to use ASP, ASP.NET, or ASP.NET 2.0.

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The two most popular databases are mySQL, MsSQL and MS Access. MySQL runs on both Linux and Windows, but is more associated with Linux servers because Linux servers more commonly use them. Meanwhile, MsSQL and MS Access is a Windows product that is only available for Windows. Look into the various databases available, and if you feel MsSQL or MS Access is the right database for you then choose Windows. Other than that, however, both Linux and Windows hosting tend to offer comparable database products.

Windows Database Support:
[list type=”tick”]
[li]MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)[/li]
[li]MS Access (Microsoft Access)[/li]
The general practice the developers use to build websites on a Windows server is to create the front-end of use the development scripting language as ASP or asp.net and use the backend database support with MsSQL database.

Linux Database Support:
[list type=”tick”]
The most widely used website development which is usually used by developers to create a website is using php as the front-end development scripting language, while MySQL database support for backend database.

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Control Panels:
Although Plesk control panel is available for both Linux and Windows servers, we strongly recommend and use WHM/cPanel for Linux servers. However, when it comes to Windows Servers, we use Plesk due to its stability, security and constant development. Windows servers and Linux servers use different control panels.

[list type=”star”]
[li]cPanel is available on all Linux-based hosting plans, such as Linux Shared, Reseller, VPS and Linux Dedicated Servers.[/li]
[li]WHM (Web Host Manager) is available on Reseller, VPS and Linux Dedicated Servers.[/li]
[li]Plesk is available on Windows Shared, Windows Dedicated Servers and VPS.[/li][/list]

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Case Sensitivity:
One other difference is that Linux files are case-sensitive and Windows files are not.

For example:
On a Linux server, index.html and Index.html are different names.
On a Windows server, index.html, Index.html, and INDEX.HTML are the same name.

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Server Security:
Although many people consider Linux to be more secure than Windows, both operating systems are equally secure. Security really has more to do with the server setup and administrators running the server. All managed servers are maintained with the latest security and performance patches and configured for optimal security.

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Cost Factor:
Linux being an opensource operating system is available free of cost. Hence this reduces the cost for overall Linux web hosting server, thus making it possible for us to offer it at cheap pricing as compared to a Windows web hosting product.

Windows on the other hand is developed by Microsoft Corporation, and includes a paid license depending on the version of Windows installed on server. To have most of the development and scripting features enabled, we often install Windows Server editions on servers, which includes licensing cost for other modules such as MsSQL, MailEnable mail servers etc. All these factors increase the cost for overall Windows web hosting plan, thus making it more expensive as compared to Linux web hosting plan.

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As a leading managed UK web hosting provider, RShosting offers both Linux and Windows web hosting, the choice is often dictated by the scripting languages and software preferred by your developers. Windows hosting is preferred if you use : Windows 2003 / 2008,.Net and Microsoft SQL Server. Linux Hosting is preferred if you use : MYSQL, PHP & CGI.

These systems fundamentally achieve the same results on your live website, but the technology behind it will be fundamentally different.