It could be argued that the biggest single difference between a Linux server and a Windows server is in the fact that Linux is open-source while Windows is proprietary. Generally speaking, open source seems to be favored by many system administrators while proprietary software seems to be favored by a lot of individual computer users. There are numerous other differences between the two types of servers that really need to be explored before one can determine which server is the best fit.
Some users erroneously assume that a Windows server is necessary to host their site if they use Windows on their personal computer. Interestingly, choosing between a Linux or Windows server has nothing to do with the programs that run on your computer. Regardless of whether you are running Windows® 98, XP, 2000 or even an Apple Macintosh, you can still use Linux or Windows as your hosting platform. Listed below are a few other major differences between the two servers:
There is a significant difference in cost between Linux and Windows servers. One of the things that make Linux one of the popular operating systems on the Web is the fact that it is relatively inexpensive. Windows on the other hand is much more expensive.
Windows offers paid help-desk support for those using their system while most Linux users rely on online peer support from a huge online community. They can get helpful information from chat boards and forums. One disadvantage is that it often takes longer to get an answer when posting a question on a user board compared to calling a help-desk. The importance of support and how it is accessed largely depends on the technical expertise of those using it.
Average computer users often gravitate toward a Windows server since it provides excellent and timely support. On the other hand, highly technical and skilled administrators may be less concerned about having access to a help-desk. Those using Linux who desire access to a paid help-desk can also purchase support contracts from companies such as Novel and Red Hat.
Naturally, security is a very important issue that needs to be considered. Both systems have vulnerabilities and potential security problems. Many administrators claim that Linux has more vulnerabilities than Windows. Nevertheless, if you have a good administrator, security should not be a major concern regardless of which OS you are using.
Accessibility to code
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between Linux and Windows is that Linux allows all users to have full access to the code and they can make any alterations they want. The advantage to having access to the code is that it makes it easy to fix bugs and make improvements. Conversely, most Windows users do not have access to the proprietary code nor are they allowed to make alterations. Some feel that providing public access to code opens the operating system and associated software to malicious developers and reduces security.
Windows and Linux servers are both excellent servers. Open source and proprietary servers both have strong and weak points that need to be considered and evaluated. Deciding which one is the right one really just depends on what your individual needs are. By carefully evaluating the above issues and reading other articles online, one can make an informed decision.
John Hodge is a writer for RackMountPro. When he’s not writing he loves computers and everything related to them, gaming and spending time with his family.