So, you’ve finalized your dream website, and it is visually appealing, functional, it fills out every requirement you set for it at the beginning of the development process. Now it’s time to let it go live and let it be used by the people it was intended for, your customers/audience.
There are two crucial things you need to take care of before publishing a website – the domain and hosting.
While obtaining a domain is quite easy, deciding on a hosting option, depending on the level of your technical knowledge, can be tricky.
If you are completely oblivious to what hosting is, here is a short explanation. Think of hosting as a home for your website, its own place on the internet. When a website is being built, whether it’s done by you, or a web developer, at that point it is only stored on your or the developer’s device, it’s not yet connected to the internet. When subscribing to a hosting service, you are buying physical space on a server that is connected to the internet. And with that, a service that provides storage space to display your website. Not only that, but you are also purchasing bandwidth for your site, in other words, how much traffic will be able to go through your site.
Hosting comes in different varieties, and the decision which option you will go for depends on the scale and type of website you have. You can choose which type of server you will go for, shared server, virtual private server, or dedicated server. If you don’t expect too much traffic on your website, then a shared server might work for you. If you do expect a lot of traffic or the amount of traffic on your site increases as your business grows, then you should consider a virtual private server or a dedicated one.
Another decision you will need to make is will you go for a server that runs on Linux or a server that runs on Windows.
This has always been a highly debated topic, and somewhat of a gray area.In this article, we will talk about the pros and cons of each of the two options (Linux or Windows), in which case should you go for one or the other, and which would be best for your #WordPress #website. Click To Tweet
Before we dive in, let’s get one thing straight. A lot of people think that their hosting operating system needs to match the operating system they are using on their personal computers. That is completely wrong. If you are still confused about that, then the facts that most people use a machine running Windows and most sites use servers running Linux, might make it a little clearer to you.
Now that we got that misconception out of the way let’s talk about the differences between the two hosting options.
I think most, if not all of us are familiar with the Windows operating system since it is the most used operating system in the world when it comes to personal use. Windows is known for its user-friendliness and simplicity. But by being the world’s most used operating system, it is also the operating system most targeted by malicious hackers. Also, the simplicity and ease of use that Windows offers disable the user from having fine-grain control over the system itself. Windows servers are often seen as a less reliable option among the two because it seems that it crashes no matter how well maintained the machine is.
Another known thing about windows is that it comes at a price given that it is a closed-source software. Windows requires you to have a license for every desktop, every server, for every client accessing the server, and for other roles. All these licenses are paid for individually. Windows hosting will most likely come at a higher price than Linux hosting since Windows tends to “eat up” more resources on PCs, servers, and the network. While it does come with a price, Windows also comes with reliable support, it is tested, and will run on most machines.
After I have mentioned that most sites operate on a server running Linux, you might be thinking, “Why would I even consider Windows for my website?”.
Well, if your website was built using Microsoft technologies like ASP or .NET, and is using Access or MS SQL Server for the database, then your website would require Windows hosting.
One slight “advantage” Windows hosting has, it’s that sites that can be run on servers with Linux hosting can also be run on servers running Windows, while the other way around is not possible. You can’t host ASP.NET on Linux, but you can host WordPress, Joomla, and different types of sites on Windows. I put the word advantage in quotes because while WordPress sites can use Windows hosting, they won’t function as good as when they are using Linux hosting. Some statistics say that WordPress websites function 20% less efficiently with Windows hosting than with Linux hosting.
So, unless your website requires Windows hosting, maybe choosing a different route would be a smarter decision.
While Windows might take the majority of the market share in the personal device’s area, when it comes to the servers, Linux takes the cake. While it’s desktop version might not be as widespread as Windows, its server operating systems are. In 2017 the operating environment in approximately 68% of servers was Linux, and only in around 31%, it was Windows.
This ratio is like this for a few reasons. Linux is notoriously reliable and secure, despite the fact that it is open-source, it is not the target of malicious hacking attempts nearly as much as Windows is. It focuses heavily on task performance, security, and uptime, which is why scientific, corporate, and academic institutions like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Nasa, and many others use Linux to power their servers and development machines. Since it is open-source, it is entirely free, and you can modify it or even improve it and share your version with the rest of the users. Stability is also one of Linux’s characteristics; changes can be done without restarting the device running Linux.
When it comes to website hosting, Linux powers most of the web. Linux hosting, regardless of the provider offering the service, almost always comes at a lower price than Windows hosting. But is it the right hosting option for you? The answer is, most likely, yes.
Since this article is about deciding which option is the best for your WordPress website, you have to think which support you need for the site. A WordPress site needs support for three things: WordPress, PHP, and MySQL.
Now, how do Windows and Linux compare here? While they are both able to give the required support, things run smoother on Linux, much smoother. If you are in the market of finding support for a smaller website, personal website, blog, or something similar, which you probably are, then the Linux route is the way to go. If you have a website for a more enterprise or corporate environment where you cannot afford to have any downtime, and/or you have constrained yourself by using Microsoft technologies, that is one of the rare cases when you should opt for Windows hosting. In every other case, including hosting for WordPress sites, the choice is clear, considering the lower price and the exceptional performance provided by Linux hosting.
If you are now looking for an excellent hosting provider, then follow the Linux hosting link to explore the variety of packages available to choose from. This provider will give you secure and open-source database options and will make sure your site loads at the best possible speed. In case you aren’t a technical expert and/or you are in need of assistance, around-the-clock customer service is provided, along with tutorials and personal training sessions — everything you might need for a smooth-running website.
I hope that after reading this article, you have a clearer idea of which hosting option will suit your website. Be careful when making the final decision, because if you make the wrong one, migrating a website from one type of hosting to the other can often be a challenging task. Take a look at your site, be aware of it’s hosting requirements, and see if Windows or Linux hosting will be better of accommodating those needs.
But again, since we are focusing on what would be the best for your WordPress website, my advice would be to go for Linux even if you are a consumer and die-hard fan of Windows products. At the end of the day, hosting is not about personal preference, but about offering the best product and service to the visitors of your site.