When figuring out which web hosting plan is the right choice for your business, you have two main server options: Windows hosting and Linux hosting. If you don’t know anything about what they are and how they’re different, you could risk making the wrong decision out of the gate, and face trouble down the line getting your website working the way you’d like.
Compatible with Other Windows Tools
For a lot of business, this is the main reason to choose Windows hosting. If your business depends on a number of other Windows tools, then choosing a web hosting platform that plays nice with the various other software products and solutions you depend on will make your life easier.
Basically, the more your business depends on Windows programs, the more likely you are to need Windows hosting. You can always trust that your web hosting platform will be compatible with all your other legacy programs. And notably, you can trust that whenever your OS and related programs have an update, you don’t have to worry about losing functionality of other programs that depend on them since everything comes from the same company.
Another point worth considering is that most businesses that use a number of Windows-based tools will already employ a lot of tech support professionals that are experts on using, maintaining, and updating Windows programs. The people that already know how to manage your Windows products will have no problem also using your Windows hosting.
Runs on the Familiar Windows OS
Windows is the most popular operating system in the world. The current OS version alone has over 400 million users, and some estimates put the total user base at more than 1 billion. The Windows system is familiar, and using it is straightforward for millions of people around the world. But for anyone who plans to use the server user interface directly, Windows hosting provides a much more intuitive user experience than the Linux user interface.
Comes with the Easy-to-use Plesk Control Panel
Where Linux web hosting has the cPanel, Windows hosting has the Plesk control panel (although it should be noted that Plesk is also an option available with Linux hosting, just not as commonly used with it as cPanel). While many users that are already familiar with the OS can directly use the Windows server hosting interface, those that want something a little more user friendly can count on the Plesk control panel to make it easier to make updates and changes to your website.
Plesk provides an intuitive user interface that lets you create and manage multiple websites and domains, set up email accounts, and manage reseller accounts. Unlike cPanel, it’s more specifically focused on the needs of commercial website and app owners. It’s compatible with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
Slightly More Expensive
Windows hosting does cost a bit more than Linux hosting, but the difference is fairly minimal. For both types of web hosting plans, the costs do go up as the website’s needs increase, but even for an enterprise-level plan, Windows hosting only costs $14.36 a month generally, even though cheap windows hosting options are also available.
For most of the businesses, making a decision—especially for enterprise businesses that already depend on a number of Windows products and systems—those numbers should be manageable, even as Windows hosting costs more.
Not as Secure as Linux
Websites that run on Windows have been the victims of ransomware attacks in recent years with more frequency than Linux ones have. For business websites, security is an important consideration, especially if you sell products through the site and thus collect sensitive financial information from your customers. But even if you don’t have an eCommerce website, if hackers take your website down for hours or days, it’s bad for business and for your overall reputation.
While Linux web hosting beats Windows hosting in the security category, which of the two you pick is just one of many factors that influence website security. Even going with Windows hosting, you can do a lot to keep your website protected from hackers by making sure the web hosting company you choose invests in basic precautions, adding additional security software or extensions to your website, keeping all the website software you use up to date, and being careful about the levels of access you provide different people working on the site.
Can be Less Stable
Linux servers are known for being extremely reliable. They rarely need to be rebooted and can smoothly handle many functions at a time. Windows servers, in contrast, tend to have a little more trouble consistently handling a large number of apps and tasks at a time without interruption. As with any technology on the web, Windows hosting servers have improved in this area over time and can be expected to continue to do so, but they’re generally not quite as consistent in their performance as Linux servers.
That said, this is another area where choosing the right web provider can make a big difference. A Windows hosting company that includes a 99.9% uptime guarantee is promising they’ve taken all the precautions to keep their Windows servers working as consistently as possible. With the right attention to maintenance and preparation, a good web hosting provider can help overcome the difference in server reliability between Windows and Linux hosting.