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Which Type of Web Hosting is Best? Windows or Linux?

If you are looking for a web hosting company to host your website, you may have noticed that some web hosts offer Windows (TM) hosting and some offer Linux hosting. With some hosting providers, you may be able to choose one or the other. So, which one should you choose?

It turns out that whatever kind of operating system you host your website on, or what you use on your own computer doesn't really matter, because both Linux and Windows servers can handle it! The data that each kind of server serves is the same. The only difference is the type of software that is used to serve the data: Windows or Linux.

Most web hosts use different versions of Linux. Linux is a form of UNIX. Windows can be expensive, so some web hosts charge more for clients who want Windows web hosting.

UNIX / Linux systems are said to be extremely stable. UNIX-based machines can run for years without ever having to be re-booted. Windows is very reliable, too. Linux servers may have the edge when it comes to reliability, but Windows servers are stable enough to cope with the demands of modern website hosting.

Linux and other UNIX-based operating systems are free, and they are also open source software. This means that anyone may alter the source code to update or improve it, or to add new features. The number of dedicated Linux enthusiasts who devote countless hours of free time working on Linux is huge. Windows (TM) is proprietary software owned by Microsoft, so users cannot alter or modify the code in any way. Any updates, upgrades or changes must come through Microsoft. This is absolutely fine with most people. Not everyone is interested in tweaking code or finding out who made the latest Linux updates etc.

Windows and Linux-based web hosting also differ in the kinds of software they can run. Windows-based hosts can run Microsoft offerings like MS Access databases, VBScript for operating your website, and ASP for delivering dynamic content. Windows can also use UNIX-based software such as PHP, MySQL, and CGI. Linux web hosting, on the other hand, cannot run Windows technologies. That means that if you need ASP or VBScript, then you should choose a Windows web host.

For hosting Windows videos and audio media, you need to have a Windows server. Either Linux or Windows can handle formats like MP4, Shockwave and Real Audio.

Both Linux and Windows can provide your website with dynamic content using MySQL, PHP, and CGI, and there is a vast library of dynamic scripts already available to do this. Except for Windows media such as .WMA and .WMV, either Linux or Windows can host whatever kind of multi-media formats you need.

Carefully consider what technologies you need as far as dynamic content or multi-media content, like streaming audio or video is concerned. When you know what you need, it will be easier to make your choice.

People who must have Microsoft databases, Windows media, and ASP will have to choose a Windows-based web host. If you don't need these Microsoft-specific features, you may be better off with a Linux host. Linux web hosting offers a wider range of choice of web hosts; reliability; as good or better than Windows web hosting, and it's often less expensive!

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