As somebody new to creating or owning their own website its a relatively safe assertion that you’d be best server by a shared hosting package of some for or other. Of course, not all hosting products are created the same and despite the relatively low cost there’s still some work to do to determine which is most suitable to your needs.
Things like server resource allocation, levels of support and the reputation of the hosting provider are all valid concerns, however the focus of this post is to provide a brief comparison of the two broad types of shared hosting package, namely, Windows and Linux.
Well, to begin with the difference isn’t particularly dramatic, and there’s certainly no clear superiority one way or the other, its simply a matter of which will suit you better.
The second point that needs to be made clear is the operating system of your chosen web hosting server is in no way determined by the operating system of your home or work computer. A Windows user can use Linux hosting just like an Apple user can choose Windows or Linux hosting, it doesn’t matter.
The real deciding factor between Windows and Linux hosting comes down to which applications you need or will be of greatest use to you. A Windows hosting package allows you to more easily utilise Windows specific applications and frameworks such as ASP.net. If this means nothing to you or you’re in anyway unsure then chances are that you don’t need them, as whilst exposure to these technologies is certainly on the rise this doesn’t usually apply to beginners and inexperienced developers.
By comparison, Linux based hosting runs a lot of commercial and beginner friendly applications smoothly and with fewer risks of complication. This is mainly because they were developed with the assumed use of a Linux based system and this is in large part the reason why Linux based packages are the predominant product in the hosting marketplace.
Despite how I may have made this sound there is a certain amount of cross compatibility between the platforms. For example, Microsoft’s ASP.net core is a multi-platform application framework useable by Mac, Linux and Windows users alike. Similarly, many applications traditionally thought to be confined to Linux can also be used on Windows platforms albeit with the potential for the loss of some functionality.
In the end the choice boils down to two factors; specificity and ease of use. If you want to utilise a specific technology then its advisable for you to use the platform it was developed upon.