The eternal hosting dilemma – should I use Windows or Linux? Opinions vary massively, to make matters worse it can be difficult to obtain any unbiased information on the issue, as opinions are so heavily polarised. This article aims to provide you with a fair comparison of the two systems; highlighting the negatives but also the positives of each.

Compatibility - The weight of opinion here favours Windows, however, this may prove to be misguided. Some people mistakenly believe that in order to use Linux you must also be running Unix – an operating system with only a minority market share. This most certainly is not the case, Linux is compatible with all modern Windows operating systems, it will even work on an Apple Macintosh. This is not to detract from Windows, it is also almost universally compatible, in truth when it comes to compatibility there is very little to choose between the two. From this it is clear that operating system compatibility should be a differentiator when it comes to selecting a hosting platform.

Databases - This is simply a matter for your personal preference or familiarity. Linux uses PHP with MySQL and Windows uses ASP with MS SQL. The two have very similar levels of functionality.

Price - This is where Linux starts to take a slight lead with plenty of free software. The open source nature of Linux software means reduced fees for hosting companies, this means increased profits for them but is often also reflected in the prices they charge their customers, it’s win-win.

Extras - This time Windows has the edge. It is fully compatible with every aspect of Frontpage, a widely used web editor, however, Linux users are also able to use most of the features offered by this software. Moreover, Frontpage is by no means the only web editor out there, arguably it is not even the best.

Overall, it is very difficult to come to a conclusion as to which is better, they are just so very similar in terms of functionality. At the same time many webmaster have very strong views on the matter – I believe it is simply a case of pick a side and stick to it.

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The Linux operating system is based upon Unix, one of the oldest open source operating codes, and is still as popular as ever in the web hosting community. Offering the benefits of free modifications, amendments and development, it became very popular with the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, Novell and Hewlett-Packard from the 1960s onwards. As you would expect, with these power houses of the computing world behind them, the use of Linux continues to grow each year.

Such has been the success of the operating system associated with the name, that Linux has become embroiled in a number of high profile court cases, with many different parties claiming ownership of the code, the name and the brand. As yet nobody has been able to prove total ownership, allowing the current users to continue as normal.

While the coding for the core operating code is in C, there are a vast array of other modules and activities which utilise some of the more modern programming languages of today. This is another major attraction to Linux, the ability to interact and accept other programming languages into the overall package. Consequently, the Linux operating system has spawned a massive market in customised coding and projects, with no royalties due to the original creators of the code.

Even though it tends to be the modern day Windows operating systems, etc which take the headlines in the consumer market, Linux is the most popular operating system in the server market. This is due in the main to its ability to communicate and run with other operating systems without any problems. It is this kind of compatibility which would go against the grain of many of today’s operating system distributors, where niche markets are vital, and there is a constant need to shut out your competitor.

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