Linux or Windows Hosting – Which Is Better for Your WordPress Website?
When you’re choosing hosting providers for your website, you’ll often notice that the advice articles you can find online focus on the different types of servers and which package costs how much. That’s important stuff, of course, but the decision whether to use shared or managed hosting or VPS or dedicated isn’t the only one you’ll have to make.
You’ll also need to choose between Linux and Windows. Just like when choosing the operating system for your computer, you’ll soon notice that both have flaws and strong points in terms of hosting. In this article, we’ll try to figure out what they are, what use cases they are best applied to, and which one is better for WordPress hosting.
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Linux is the open-source darling of people who don’t want to spend tremendous amounts of money on software licensing, don’t want to deal with viruses, and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of their free time to get to a level of proficiency one needs to operate in Linux with ease. Linux might not be the operating system your average computer user would recognize, although chances are the same average computer user has been in contact with Linux more times than they were aware.
Linux Hosting Pros
In general, Linux will be the more affordable, safer, and more secure option. This is mostly because it’s not a proprietary product of a software giant and a huge target for miscreants of all kinds.
The operating system is also flexible, and its stability is legendary. Add to that the fact that it’s not too demanding on the computer’s resources, and you’ve got yourself a very popular operating system that supports Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, MySQL, cPanel, and many other languages, databases, and software solutions.
Linux Hosting Cons
Linux, for all of its flexibility and stability, isn’t the easiest operating system to use. Updating it can sometimes turn into a nightmare. Another notable problem with Linux is that certain software and hardware solutions aren’t too keen on supporting a Linux port.
We all know that Windows dominates the personal computer operating systems market. While that makes it a household name of a magnitude that Linux will hardly ever achieve, it doesn’t make it any easier, better, or more intuitive operating system for your website’s server – even though it manages to check some of those features off the list. Windows is simple, and it’s built to appeal to the consumer – it has that in common with its desktop versions.
Windows Hosting Pros
Windows is a novice-friendly operating system that benefits greatly from the familiar graphical user interface if you opt for it during the installation. Given that it’s such a popular operating system, you can expect to always have access to the latest drivers for the hardware it uses, just as you can expect it to be compatible with a wide range of software solutions.
As for the scripting languages it uses, ASP.NET is the big draw to Windows, as are MSSQL and Microsoft Access databases. Windows relies on Plesk instead of cPanel for administration, and it supports .NET applications.
Windows Hosting Cons
Windows isn’t cheap. Licensing costs money and having more users on a server won’t help you split the bill into smaller chunks. Windows is an enormous target for bad actors who would threaten a website’s security and try to infect it with malware, spyware, or ransomware. Add to it a lack of transparency, plenty of room for user mistakes, and a constant hunger for resources, and you’ve got yourself a flawed but interesting operating system for your server.
Overall, if you plan to have a WordPress website, it would be better to look for a server that runs on Linux. It’s more stable, reliable, and cheaper, and that would be enough to convince many website owners that Linux is the better choice. Linux machines can run for years, literally, without even having to be restarted.
Those aren’t the only reasons to use Linux for WordPress, though – there’s also the fact that Linux has an edge over Windows when it comes to running PHP easily, without third-party helpers. That’s a big one. The market share of Linux should speak for itself – it runs roughly three-quarters of worldwide servers. So both in terms of what is better for WordPress, and what is a better option overall, Linux seems to have an edge. Up to a certain point.
In some cases, you might want to use one of the options that are Windows-exclusive, such as ASP.NET support, MSSQL, .NET applications, or Plesk as the administration tool. If that’s the case, you’ll have no other option than to seek out Windows hosting.
Unless you’re running a dedicated server, you cannot request a change of software that’s used to run your server. If you want to switch from Windows to Linux, or vice versa, you’ll have to switch whole services. Your hosting provider might be able to take care of that for you.
You should keep in mind, however, that certain things work on Windows that don’t work on Linux and the other way around. So before you decide to change from one server operating system to the other, you should first be sure that your website is compatible with your future server operating system.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Linux and Windows are two great operating systems that have a lot going for them. They’ve also split the market fairly reasonably – while Windows dominates the personal computer market, Linux is the most widely used operating system for servers. This means that, when you’re hosting your WordPress website, mathematically you’re more likely to end up on a Linux server and be all the better for it. Still, if at any point you decide to move your website to a Windows server, you might be able to do it as long as there are no compatibility issues.