Finding the best VPS Operating System (OS) is important for two reasons. One, it’s the basic interface through which you’ll be interacting with the server and both OS have very different approaches to server operating systems.
Secondly, your OS will, for the most part, decide how your website works. Each operating system uses different and sometimes exclusive software and applications to power a server, meaning that your choice of applications will always be decided by the operating system that you choose.
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS Hosting or Virtual Private Server Hosting is a type of website hosting where multiple websites share the resources of a single server. However, owing to server virtualization, each website is isolated from all other websites on the server and gets dedicated and exclusive hosting resources.
How to choose the best OS for your VPS Server?
There are two players in the market when it comes to server operating systems — Linux and Windows.
Linux is an open-source operating system that’s free to use for anyone. However, you’re going to need extensive expertise in Linux if you want to use some Linux distro right out of the box. Chances are, you’re going to have to spend on customizing your Linux so that you can use it easily.
Windows server operating system, on the other hand, is pretty similar to a PC Windows OS, meaning that there’s a good chance that you know how to use the operating system right out of the box. However, Windows server OS isn’t free.
Additionally, it’s important to understand right at the beginning that there’s no ‘better’ option here. Both Windows and Linux, have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The best operating system for you is the one that fits your needs better than the other one.
This article takes a look at some key features of both the operating systems and explores what markets they’re each catering to.
Ease of use
If you’ve never used Linux before, Windows is obviously easier to use. The (Graphical user Interface) GUI is familiar to most, if not all, and the interface is intuitively laid out. Even if you’ve never used Windows before, it’s easier to get comfortable with when compared to most Linux distros.
However, this isn’t to suggest that Linux distros are hard to understand or use. Linux has come a long way in the past few years. It’s just that you’ll have to understand some basic differences in the way Linux is set up. What’s more, most Linux applications are set up just like any other Windows program these days, meaning that it’s not that difficult a jump to make.
If your website is going to be based on software like C#, VB dev, MS Access, ASP.net, and other Microsoft products, get a Windows operating system. It’s really that simple because these applications are simply not supported in a Linux environment.
On the other hand, if you’re going to use PHP, Python, MySQL, Ruby, Rails, and so on, Linux is a clear choice. While most of these programs will work with Windows, the integration isn’t great and you’ll find too many glitches which can genuinely affect the functioning of your website.
Windows gets regular updates from time to time and these are always vetted and tested beforehand. So, you’ll rarely encounter a problem with system updates. However, there’s one problem.
Most, if not all, of these updates, force a system (server) restart, meaning that the server has to go down for a while. When the server shuts down, so will your website. It’s not for long, but with search engines giving server uptime a high priority, you might find that these forced restarts are a problem in the long run.
Linux, on the other hand, is open source which means that it’s driven by the community of designers, developers, and testing engineers. If you don’t know where to look for solutions, solving problems on Linux can become tiresome. However, as you use Linux more and more, you’ll find where to look for solutions and things become much easier.
Operating System Security
Linux is generally considered to be more secure than Windows and for good reason. A lot of people don’t understand the inner workings of Linux, including hackers, meaning that the pool of suspects is quite low, to begin with.
Linux has also been used for servers for a long time, meaning that the general setup of Linux server distros is usually excellent. For example, access is incredibly restricted in a Linux system. Unless you have root access and know exactly what you’re doing, creating backdoors, even by accident, is pretty difficult.
Windows, on the other hand, is a bigger target. More people know how Windows works and this means that it’s more prone to attacks. However, in the last few years, Windows server security has gone up and is getting better by the day.
Which is the right OS for you — Windows or Linux?
As mentioned before, there’s no right answer here. The best way to decide which OS is best, you’ll need to take a look at the type of website you’re building. If you’re building a website that’s heavily reliant on Microsoft software, choose Windows because that’s the best option.
On the other hand, if you want SSH for your website, or if you use Ruby, Python, etc. Linux is the best choice, given that these programs work best with Linux. What’s more, Linux has historically been the default choice for servers.
Irrespective of which OS you choose, make sure you get your VPS from a reputable vendor. Your VPS provider is going to have a significant impact on the way your website works.
VPS Hosting plans from HostGator India offer security, performance, reliability and affordability, along with 24×7 customer service and managed support, meaning that you won’t have to spend all your time fixing hosting problems and can instead focus on growing your website and your business.