Ask Hendry: Which web hosting platform should I use for my blog?
Web hosting platform refers to the operating system to web server runs. Usually it is either Windows or Linux, although some other operating systems like FreeBSD or OpenBSD are available too.
Without getting too technical, I’ll try to answer the question.
If you want a short question, my personal opinion is to go with Linux platform.
An explanation follows. I won’t pretend there is a definitive answer to the question. Each operating system platform certainly has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Windows vs. Linux: Security
While setting up a Linux platform usually requires more technical skills, it doesn’t mean that it is always more secure. Many people think Linux is more secure because if you find a security problem, usually you get an update the same day or soon thereafter. Still, the administrator of the server has to update their server. Human error is one of the biggest factors that affect the server’s security.
No matter which routes you go, it is important that you choose responsive hosting companies that prioritize customer support. When you have troubles with your hosting account, you want someone to help you out.
Linux usually handles server resources more efficiently. This means, it can serve more concurrent visitors at the same time. This, of course, depends on the knowledge of the admin who manages the server.
Today’s server technology allows you to run any operating system and serves high traffic sites, if you know how to optimize it well.
Stability and Reliability
Windows used to be very buggy and unreliable. It has improved ever since and now you can run Windows without any problems for months.
Overall, Linux is known to have more good stability and reliability track record, but this is just a statement based on very subjective opinion. Many people agree on the same thing though.
Linux is a free operating system platform while you have to pay for every server license. Using Windows operating system may be more costly, especially if you are setting up your own dedicated server.
On shared hosting environment, the cost is distributed among all users, but still you may have to pay more compare to accounts with Linux operating system.
Pricing policy is different for each hosting company though.
Web Programming Language Support
Well, I promise to keep the technical stuff at bay, so let’s keep this short.
Microsoft has their own proprietary web programming language called ASP, although some cross-platform attempts are available. Free and opensource web programming languages are Perl, PHP, and Python.
Most blog software depends on PHP and/or Perl to run, and they are both supported in the any operating system — although Linux and other UNIX operating system is assumed to be better supported by PHP.
From the hosting account standpoint, it doesn’t matter at all which platform you choose. Managing your account is done through an easy to use web user interface. To add email account, for example, you don’t have to execute any command at all.
To transfer files to the server, you can use the web-based file manager or use the standard File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or the secure counterpart SFTP. FTP should be available by default in every hosting environment.
That means if you run Windows, you still can transfer and manage files in the Linux platform. What the server runs doesn’t matter at all because communication tools are compatible across multiple platforms.
Linux is just my preference when signing up for hosting account. I recommend it though to run a blog because of the factors explained above.
Unless you are also running some applications that depend on specific platform, I would recommend you choose Linux hosting.
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