You’ve chosen to host your site on a Virtual Private Server. Congratulations, it’s an excellent choice: a complete server environment with way more power than shared hosting o. VPS’s offer many of the benefits of a dedicated server with additional cloudy goodness and lower price tag. But you have another decision to make, and it’s one that will have a big impact on how you interact with your server and the software that it can run: you need to choose an operating system. There are two options available to you: Windows Server or a Linux distribution.
You can do anything you might want to do on both operating systems, with some limitations, but the environments are very different. We’re going to have a look at what you need to know before making an informed decision.
Linux distributions are free (unless you pay for something like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which comes with a support package). You’ll pay for the server, but not for the operating system and most of the software that you want to run on it.
Windows Server is a proprietary operating system from Microsoft and to use it you have to pay license fees which will bump up the cost of your server by a few dollars a month depending on the VPS you choose.
That doesn’t mean that Linux is better or worse, both are very capable choices.
Linux is an open source operating system and the vast majority of open source software will run on it. It’s the most popular option for web hosting — most web hosting companies base their own hosting plans on Linux, frequently using the CentOS distribution. Most of the programming languages and applications familiar to web developers are compatible with Linux, and indeed many of them were created with that OS in mind.
If you need or prefer to use Microsoft technology, including ASP, ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL, IIS, and others, Microsoft Server is the only reasonable choice.
Access And Ease Of Use
The major difference between Linux and Microsoft Windows Server is how you interact with the operating system.
Linux servers are traditionally configured and controlled via the command line and accessed with SSH. The command line is not hugely complex to learn, and it’s preferred by many. But there’s no doubt that if you’re not familiar with the command line, it has a significant learning curve.