Windows and Linux are the most popular types of web hosting, and as such, a hosting provider will usually ask you to choose between a Linux or Windows hosting plan. However, people are often hesitant when it comes to choosing because they don’t know what are the important criteria to consider. Well, let’s try to shed some light on the type of hosting you need to select – and that doesn’t mean choosing Windows because your home PC runs on that operating system.
Does my operating system 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 site hosted on a Mac or Linux system as easily as you can on a PC with Windows installed. Even if you’re more familiar with Windows than you are with other operating systems, it doesn’t matter for hosting.
The reason why it doesn’t matter what type of operating system you are using is that nothing on your hosting server will be running on your home computer or vice versa. The programs you will use to edit your website from your computer (such as Dreamweaver, an FTP program, or a web browser) do not depend on your operating system. In other words, you will see the same user interface, regardless of the type of hosting you choose. The important criteria that determine whether you should choose Windows or Linux hosting is not your OS; it’s rather which programming language you prefer.
Linux & 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 websites today. Many popular content management systems (CMS) are based on PHP. Some of these sites include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and OpenCart, for example. Usually, PHP is paired with a MySQL database.
Using SSH (Secure Shell) and applications or scripts that need specific Apache modules also requires a Linux-based server. Please keep in mind that if these terms don’t mean anything to you, it’s OK, because they probably don’t count! If you don’t have a preference for the programming language used to build your website, then you can choose any type of hosting.
Windows & ASP / .NET
If you are using a technology called ASP or .NET, you will need to choose a Windows hosting plan. As you might have guessed, ASP is another type of programming language. Sites built with this technology can generally store their information in an MSSQL or MBD database. Some Windows-specific technologies are:
- ASP Classic
- MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
- MS Access (Microsoft Access)
- Remote Desktop (dedicated servers or VPS only)
- Development in Visual Basic
Other types of Hosting
Although Windows and Linux are the most common and easily available types of hosting, there is another type of hosting called Unix. Unix is very similar to Linux. However, it is not as common and is typically much more expensive.
Many people are also wondering about MAC hosting and are trying to find hosts that use Mac servers. However, if you are looking for specific Mac hosting, you will probably be looking for a long time. There are hardly any “Mac hosts”, but of course that doesn’t mean you can’t edit your website on your Mac. As mentioned, the type of hosting you choose does not depend on your operating system.
What if the provider does not mention the type of hosting technology?
Some providers do not mention the choice of hosting technology when you sign up for a plan. In this case, they will usually give you access to PHP only. In the case of providers offering both PHP and ASP on the same level, usually, it is that they mix the two technologies together – beware of this, because unfortunately, the use of PHP on a Windows server can have an impact negative on site performance and speed.
To conclude, if you want to use Windows technologies such as ASP, .NET, or MSSQL, you must choose a Windows plan. For those using PHP, Perl or MySQL, Linux hosting is what you will need. If you don’t have a preference among one of these technologies, then you can choose Windows or Linux, whatever.
Are you looking to launch a new website? Take a look at our Windows and Linux hosting plans, offered on our ultra-fast servers.
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