Linux hosting is the best solution for small businesses and bloggers who need a fast, secure website that’s easy to manage. It runs more efficiently than most alternatives and supports popular content management systems like WordPress.
With this article, as with Linux itself, no technical experience is required.
First, we’ll go over the characteristics of a good web hosting operating system (OS), then we’ll pit Linux against its main competitor in a head-to-head showdown and wrap up with a section about how to get started with Linux hosting.
What makes a good web hosting OS? If a system is going to be responsible for storing and distributing your most valuable digital branding assets, it better be up to the task.
Here are six must-have characteristics for any web hosting OS, regardless whether it’s Linux or Windows.
The search for an OS that checks all six of those boxes can lead to some tough decisions. You may feel like Linux and Windows are running a neck-and-neck race.
It’s not as close as it looks! Linux has the edge, as we’ll discuss in the next section.
Linux and Windows are both capable of reliably hosting a website, but when you take a close look at the factors that website owners care about most, the open-source option wins.
What’s so great about open-source software?
With open-source software, the entire user community can study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. This has led to amazingly effective collaborative development that produces advanced functionality and often surpasses the efforts of competitors creating commercial software.
Now, let’s revisit each of the six characteristics discussed above to declare a winner, Linux or Windows, in each category.
Linux is known for its speed and stability. With a boundless capacity for optimization, it can be fine-tuned to maximize site performance. Plus, it supports industry-leading content management systems like WordPress, along with some of the most popular site management tools in the world.
To be fair, Windows is also a reliable operating system for web hosting, but it’s not more reliable than Linux, so, when you factor in our next topic, cost, you’ll be one step closer to choosing Linux hosting.
Linux is the most affordable option for web hosting because of providers’ access to excellent free Linux distributions. The best providers offer Linux hosting at the most affordable rates. Some will include a nominal fee covering administrative costs, and one that reflects the true cost of the operating system being used.
When a hosting provider must pay for the operating system that their hosting servers run, as is the case with Windows-based services, you end up paying more. With the comparatively high rates, you’ll be helping your provider cover the high license fees that Microsoft demands from users of Windows, ASP, .NET, and Microsoft SQL Server.
Compared to Windows-based solutions, Linux offers the same or better web hosting functionality at a fraction of the cost!
Using Linux as your web hosting OS gives you the freedom to choose the CMS you like and select tools that perfectly fit your needs. This freedom comes from the fact that Linux is open-source software. Most content management systems and website management tools available for Linux are also open-source, and the Linux developer community has successfully answered every need that exists in web hosting.
Windows-based hosting solutions also offer comprehensive web server functionality, but they miss the mark when it comes to flexibility. Choosing Windows as your hosting OS if you’re unfamiliar with or not a fan of the Microsoft technologies involved (.NET Framework, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.) could lead to great frustration and disappointment, and the high cost associated with using those technologies will be salt in the wound.
For anyone who does not want to be locked into one company’s software, Linux is a better choice. It gives you the flexibility to select from a wide range of solutions and decide which ones are best for you and your website.
In a world where there are about the same number of Linux web servers as Windows-based web servers, why do the Windows platforms get attacked more often by hackers? Because of the massive number of Windows installations—over the years—the market dominance of Windows has made it the OS that hackers focus on more than any other. By comparison, open-source software like Linux is not even on hackers’ radar.
What happens when a security hole is found in an OS? Can Linux and Windows both provide a speedy resolution?
Microsoft has smart engineers who code their systems to be secure, and they resolve security weaknesses quickly, but that approach can’t compete with the open-source model. A vigilant Linux development community actively preserves the system’s bullet-proof security, with timely security patches ensuring that no up-to-date Linux installation will ever be vulnerable.
Windows didn’t become the most popular OS in the world by being hard to use. For every-day productivity tasks, the operating system’s intuitive interface gives millions of users an easier way to get things done.
But Linux is easy to use too, especially where it counts, in the arena of web site management tools!
A web server has one job to do and most of your interaction with a Linux-based system will be focused on website management. A tool called cPanel can make it easy.
cPanel is a web-based application for managing a web hosting environment. It’s got an intuitive interface that helps users control the site from anywhere. cPanel gives users the ability to install or remove applications like WordPress or Joomla, analyze web statistics, and more.
When considering ease of use, we could call it a tie between Windows and Linux, but when you factor in the cost and flexibility angles, it still makes sense to lean toward Linux as the best web hosting OS.
Linux, being open-source software, has a large network of developers that make up a very active support community. That’s one reason hosting providers can offer reliable help to their customers and solve any technical problems that arise.
While Microsoft offers world-class tech support as well, you’ll only need to consider the exorbitant support contract costs associated with Microsoft’s offering to realize that Linux wins in this area.
With Linux as your hosting OS, you can get great customer support from your provider and take advantage of the operating system’s active community of experienced users who are always around to help.
Linux makes it easy for a small business to get its website up and running quickly. If you’re wondering what kinds of businesses can benefit from choosing Linux as their web hosting OS, you’ll find out below. There’s also some information about how Linux is delivered to users.
Who Can Use Linux Hosting?
For all kinds of businesses, Linux is the perfect choice among web hosting operating systems. It supports easy-to-use website management platforms that can be used to create fast, secure websites.
Businesses seeking to engage with customers, and online retailers that need fast, reliable e-commerce functionally will find Linux web hosting to be the best solution. Both those kinds of companies need to take extra care in protecting customer data, and Linux-based hosting is the most secure option available.
Linux hosting is also ideal for bloggers and anyone who wants to promote their creativity online. The world’s most popular CMS for blogging, WordPress, was created to run on Linux and powers a huge percentage of blogs across the internet.
No prior knowledge of Linux is required to take advantage of Linux hosting. Some managed Linux hosting services allow you to set up a website and have it online in just a few minutes.
Linux hosting grows with your business. The availability of Linux shared web hosting allows businesses to initially take advantage of lower-cost plans that offer shared hosting resources. When business growth begins to push the limits of your web server, it’s easy to upgrade to Linux dedicated hosting, while Linux VPS hosting is an option for companies that need a virtual private server solution.
The people who can get the most out of Linux hosting include anyone who wants high-performance web hosting, reliable security, and an easy-to-use website management platform, but doesn’t want to pay a lot or get locked into costly commercial technologies.
Linux is a UNIX-based operating system. It’s designed for intensive processing in a multi-user environment and engineered to enable robust, secure, operation of each user’s CMS and other website management tools.
Being open-source software, Linux is delivered to end-users differently than commercial software. It’s usually packaged with other components, such as an installation program, management tools, and additional software, resulting in what’s known as a Linux distribution.
Each Linux distribution is created and supported by a specific vendor. If you look around, you’ll see many popular Linux distributions—you can find your favorite, but it’s best to use one that’s offered by your service provider. Common options will be a powerful and easy-to-use free Linux distribution called CentOS and another very popular free distribution called Ubuntu.
A blog or small business web site is of vital importance to the site owner, enabling promotion, customer engagement, e-commerce, and more.
With such a significant role, it makes sense that your website should be built on a solid foundation, one that promises reliable performance, flexibility, and security. Dealing with a competitive marketplace that offers several solutions, site owners should expect ease of use and low cost as well.
As we’ve covered here, using Linux as your web hosting OS offers clear benefits. It has a compelling answer to the concerns that most site owners have, including those related to cost, reliability, and security.
We hope this discussion has clarified what makes Linux such a great web hosting OS and that you have a good idea of how to get started with Linux hosting.