While Linux is an open-source operating system, Windows Server is quite a different story. Windows Server is a Microsoft product and therefore has a lot of similarities with the Windows platform, although Windows Server is built for Microsoft’s proprietary server products. One of the key differences is that the platform is designed for Windows users rather than Linux users. This allows Windows Server to be more friendly with Microsoft solutions for the environment of the organization, but this doesn’t mean that Linux hosting is unsuitable.
In fact, Linux hosting is used quite extensively on Windows Server platforms. All three types of Windows Server installations – Standard, Datacenter, and Hyper-V – use the Linux kernel as the foundation for their operating systems, and its bootable support only adds to this diversity. There are also a number of Linux distributions for Windows Server, although several of these are only available on dedicated servers.
What Operating Systems Are Used on Windows Server Hosting?
All Microsoft operating systems are supported for servers running on Windows Server operating systems. However, there are a few important caveats. The most popular version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2008 R2, only supports the following operating systems:
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
- Microsoft Windows XP SP3 Server
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Server
- Microsoft Windows Vista Server
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Server
- Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Server
- Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Server
- Microsoft Windows Server 2016
All other versions are unsupported and therefore not supported by Microsoft. In addition, all unsupported operating systems require specific server installations and support is extremely limited at the moment, especially for multi-server solutions.
This doesn’t mean that all Linux is unsupported on Windows Server. All server operating systems are supported on Windows Server using Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as the operating system. The one-time purchase of an installation license and the support plan is required for all users of these platforms.
Linux operating systems are known for being very diverse in the amount of software available. Because of this, server operating systems used on Windows Server are designed to integrate more closely with the applications and services that are installed on the system. This is done to allow different applications to work with the platform, especially those that were built specifically for Windows. For example, many web applications and desktop applications are available to run on Windows Server, as are many third-party virtualization tools such as VMware. Because Windows Server is used in such a broad environment, it allows Microsoft to get a large collection of applications and services onto a single operating system.
Can I Upgrade from Windows Server to Linux Hosting?
Many website owners migrate from Windows Server to Linux Hosting because it’s less expensive and is more flexible. When looking for hosting for your website, particularly if you are looking for a Linux hosting plan, there are a number of reasons that you may want to consider Windows Server hosting instead of Linux. These include:
The proximity of the Hosting Solution to Your Site: This is one of the most important factors in selecting a hosting service. If your hosting solution is a minimum of 10-15 minutes away from your website, it may be worth considering Windows Server hosting instead of Linux.
Extensive Documentation & Features: If you have been using Windows Server for a while, you may want to consider using Windows Server Hosting to match your experience. However, you may be pleased to learn that Linux is no slouch in this department, especially when it comes to extensive documentation. Most hosting providers can offer documentation that goes back years, and often have more features than you can list in one article.
Stable & Resilient Systems: If you are concerned about server failures, you should consider a reliable hosting provider. Since servers running Windows Server are essentially hardened hardware that will not crash, your website will not lose data in the event of a crash. A common concern with Linux hosting is that individual server failures can affect websites on the server.
Fast & Reliable Hosting Platforms: Linux is a mature platform and is currently the preferred option for many of the web hosting platforms on the market. There are a number of servers that are now available that can be used in Windows Server Hosting environments.
On top of all these benefits, Windows Server is less prone to viruses and worms than most operating systems.
That being said, there are a number of benefits that come with choosing Linux over Windows Server. Linux hosts are often the result of open source community projects, meaning that these hosting providers have taken the time to test these servers extensively and have developed automated procedures to help you maintain them. Some of the most popular Linux hosting platforms are Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian.
It is important to note that Linux isn’t necessarily limited to servers. Linux hosts are also used in a variety of other applications and situations, including the Raspberry Pi, which is the lowest priced single-board computer you can buy that runs Linux.
What about the Hardware?
When you purchase your server hardware, you will first need to decide if you want a virtual machine or a physical server. Virtual machines can be created on Windows Server, or on Ubuntu or Debian Linux.
When you are in the physical server option, you can choose between 2 types of hardware; Standard and Enterprise. The Standard model is for 1-3 CPU cores and offers a 128GB SSD and a DVD drive. The Enterprise model will give you 2 CPU cores, 1 GB RAM, and a 120GB SSD, but offers SSD and RAID storage options. As your needs change, and new services are being added, you may want to upgrade your hardware periodically to keep your server up-to-date.
Convenience and Features
Linux Server hosting has come a long way in terms of usability. While Windows Server Hosting has the added benefit of being fully compatible with Microsoft Outlook, you will want to avoid Windows Server Hosting if you prefer a fully Linux-based setup. The reason being that it is difficult to navigate some aspects of Windows Server, such as the command prompt.
Before you decide which hosting option best fits your needs, you should consider the capabilities you will be needing.
Security: Windows Server Hosting is set up with a number of security features including a firewall and anti-virus. You will likely want to configure Windows Server Hosting with a virtual private network (VPN) in order to connect to remote servers. Linux Hosting, on the other hand, will not offer the same level of protection but does offer its own set of features that help provide some security.
Customer Support: Customers have reported that the Linux community has a less support structure. With a server running Windows Server, Microsoft will provide you with support by contacting them directly. This is beneficial to your hosting company as you get paid twice a month when Microsoft sells a server to you and every time a client needs help with their website or application.
According to Azziblogs, you can go with a Linux server as they are less expensive and highly reliable. Many big websites are hosted on a Linux server compared to windows hosting.