How to Choose the best Operating System for your Server

Choosing a hosting plan is the most important step to take when launching your web site or business online. But what are the most important questions you need to consider when choosing a hosting solution?

  1. Which hosting environment is more suited for your website needs?
  2. What are the more scalable options for the future?
  3. What are the economic benefits of your options?
  4. Can you opt in for a managed account?

Choosing the Best Webhosting for your Website

First, you need to know which hosting solution best suits your website. Perhaps you are just starting your online business, if that is the case then a shared hosting solution may be best. If you were looking to upgrade your website due to exponential growth then VPS hosting is the next logical solution. However, if you run a major website with massive traffic daily then a dedicated server will be the most robust option for you.

How flexible should your plan be?

In terms of scalability, you want a hosting environment that will grow and expand with your business – like VPS or a dedicated server. If you have a roomy budget for hosting and wish to own your hosting server then go with dedicated hosting, but if you want the benefits of a dedicated server with the economic feasibility of a shared server then choose VPS. You can get a managed account so that your hosting provider keeps an eye on technical things like crucial software updates.

While these are pertinent questions you may not have considered what type of operating system you’re hosting plan will need. Choosing the right operating system to match your preferred hosting solution is tantamount to your web sites performance. If you plan to run your website on a VPS or dedicated hosting plan then you also need to consider the operating system for your server.

Not to worry if you are unsure about the various options you have for operating systems this article is here to answer the question for you.

Let’s dive in to the topic.

Why does your server operating system matter?

If you’re not technically savvy it may come as no surprise that you haven’t ever considered what type of operating system you need for your hosting solution.

Especially if you’re now upgrading from shared hosting to a more do-it-yourself powerful solution like a VPS or dedicated server you’ve never really had to think about this before. Though this may have been something you’ve had to consider when purchasing a laptop, phone or desktop for personal or business use.

Two main categories for Operating Systems

Discussions on operating systems usually fall into two categories, MAC versus Windows, Android versus Apple etc. Usually, the debate is about features, speed, processing power, ease of use, etc.

Your hosting server is no different. Deciding on which operating system to install or opt for is a matter of preference, ease of use and your overall familiarity with the operating systems.

Maybe you prefer a Windows operating system because you know it inside out, on the other hand, your head technician may suggest using Linux because he is more comfortable with that system.

The operating system is important because it will determine how your server behaves, how well you are able to oversee its maintenance and it will affect all components, software and overall look of your website.

It is worth noting that not all operating systems are equal. They have their strong and weak points. Certain OS types are primarily for security setup, while others are not.

Understanding the technology involved with operating systems can go a long way in ensuring that you make the right choice.

Which hosting plans allow you to choose your preferred Operating System?

Shared hosting does not allow for server customisations such as choosing an operating system because it is usually governed by the cost-effective features set by the hosting provider.

VPS Hosting because of its nature requires a choice of the operating system. Either Windows or Linux. A dedicated server most definitely requires an operating system because with that environment you are renting the entire server.

Both VPS and dedicated hosting allow you the freedom of customisation. However, it is well to note that unless you intend on managing your servers yourself and have the technical savvy to do so then choosing an operating system should be left up to the hosting provider. This is possible by choosing the managed option.

You have the option though of Linux or Windows with both VPS and dedicated hosting. What’s the best option for you?

Which OS is the best for your server? Windows or Linux?

Deciding between Linux and Windows is part personal preference and part technical specifications. We’ll start by discussing them in terms of personal computers.

1. Linux Operating System

Majority of computer users don’t typically use Linux systems, while this might be so, Linux is the choice for many users when selecting an OS.

One of the reasons for Linux being a popular choice is that it is an open-source platform that offers various ‘distros’. These are fundamental offshoot operating systems, each focused for a different task. In addition, each distro can be tailored to your exact specifications and requirements.

Making Linux the most flexible option as operating systems go. Linux also supports Perl, which is a sophisticated programming language that is immensely powerful. In terms of database support, Linux prefers MySQL because of its compatibility with Perl.

Dedicated Servers work best with a Linux operating system. Because a dedicated hosting environment is such a powerful hosting solution an equally powerful operating system is best. Or alternatively for a more affordable solution like VPS you have the option of a cloud-based Linux OS.

2. Windows Operating System

You’ve probably heard and used Windows as an operating system. While it a popular choice for everyday PC users it is actually not the first choice for technical professionals for a server operating system.

When choosing windows as an operating system for a server the choice is usually made because of the database software MSSQL, which doesn’t support Perl and is less powerful than MySQL.

Unlike Linux, Windows is not an open source platform and costs may be an issue because a license is required. On the bright side, with Windows, you get to access Active Server Pages (ASP) and ASP.NET this is a solution used to create dynamic web pages and applications.

Windows’ popularity makes it more likely to be a top choice for many users because of the ease of set up and almost immediate use. If you are choosing to run your own server and you want a user-friendly operating system with less technical knowledge requirement, then,  Windows is for you.

Which server Operating System is right for you?

In the end, answering this question simply depends on a few factors:

  • The goals for your site.
  • The type of hosting plan you choose.
  • The budget you’ve set aside for hosting and maintaining a server.
  • Your knowledge and experience with software use.
  • The technical knowledge and experience you or your team has for managing and upkeeping a server.

You can review the Host website’s plans for other popular choices like CentsOS, CloudLinux, Fedora Linux, BSDFree, Debian Linux, Windows Server 2008 Web, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 Standard, Windows Server 2012 DataCenter and more.

In the End

We’ve given you a few factors to consider when it comes down to choosing the right OS for your server.

Our advice is this, if you’re absolutely a novice when it comes to managing a server and not sure which operating system is best, you are better off leaving the managing of your server up to your hosting provider. If your host is going to manage and maintain your server then Linux is the best choice.

With that being said, Windows remains a great choice. Especially if you wish to manage your own server. More so if you’re a small business owner, and you are more familiar with the Windows system.

Certainly, the variances with each OS won’t make a vast difference in a lot of everyday applications. If you do have unique server requirements, though, you’ll want to work with a technical expert to get some help deciding how your server should be set up and some maintenance tips.