Choosing an Operating System For Your Web Hosting Plan

Which operating system (OS) you want is one of the first decisions you must make when ordering a Web hosting plan for your Web site. This can be a difficult decision if you’re not sure what an OS is or which one fits your needs. Read on for a general overview of factors that should guide your plan selection.

What’s an OS?
An operating system is a system software program that manages and distributes the server’s resources. It prioritizes program and user requests and ensures that users’ content on the server doesn’t interfere with other users. Without it, your server simply wouldn’t work. It is the backbone that enables the server to run software and programs.

Which One Should I Choose?
The two most common operating systems for shared Web hosting plans are Windows and Linux. One common misconception about choosing a Web hosting operating system is that if you design your Web site on, and generally use, a Windows computer, you need a Windows Web hosting plan. While both your personal computer and a Web server have an OS, they do not need to run the same system to work together.

In reality, your computer’s operating system shouldn’t affect your Web hosting server choice. You can design your Web site using Dreamweaver on a Microsoft Windows PC and upload it to a Linux server without any issues, for example.

In most cases, either Windows or a Linux will work. But there are real differences that may make one or the other a better fit for your Web site. The biggest difference between Windows and Linux Web hosting plans is the server-side databases and scripts they support.

There also is usually a slight price difference between the two. Windows hostings tends to be more expensive because it’s a proprietary system, and your Web host must pay Microsoft a fee for the rights to use it. Linux, on the other hand, is open source, so there is no licensing fee associated with it.

If you’re using a particular database or script, you’ll want to choose the operating system that supports your needs. However, if you have a simple, brochure Web site without plans to use more advanced features in the near future, go for the plan that saves you money (usually Linux).