When you’re looking for a web server to host your website, you essentially have two options – Windows-based or Unix-based. There are several operating systems that fall under the “Unix-based” category, such as Linux, CentOS and even Mac OS X, but they are all essentially the same as far as what they will support. In this article, we’re going to look at three advantages of Unix-based servers over others running Windows.
This is an area that people will debate, but in general a server running Unix is more stable than a server running Windows. Windows Server has definitely improved over the years, but it still suffers from some of the same problems as Windows on your desktop – it will crash once in a while.
This is more of an issue on a server that needs to be up and running 24 hours a day, otherwise your website isn’t available when people are trying to access it.
Unix-based servers, on the other hand, tend to be a lot more stable and often run for months on end without crashing or even requiring a reboot. Which brings up a related point – Windows-based servers often need to be restarted after operating system updates, much like a desktop computer does when Windows is updated. Unix servers, on the other hand, will generally handle updates without requiring a reboot (which also means your website is unavailable while the server restarts).
Unix servers tend to be more compatible with popular technologies such as PHP and MySQL, both of which are required for many other applications such as WordPress and Joomla. While these things can be installed on a Windows server, the process is more complicated and you can run into compatibility problems on a more regular basis.
Another factor is the cost of the web hosting. Because most popular variants of Unix are open-source, there is no cost to the hosting company to use them on their servers. This means there is no additional cost added to what you have to pay.
Windows servers, on the other hand, have a fairly high license cost for the Windows operating system, and that cost is built into the cost of your web hosting. You will generally pay quite a bit more for an equivalent Windows-based server, compared to most Unix-based options.