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Linux or Windows Hosting : Which Is Best for WordPress?

Are you wondering which among the two (Linux or Windows) would be the best choice for your website? Whether you are a beginner planning to start a blog or a blogger thinking to migrate from one server to other, choosing the right hosting is something that can’t be ignored.

Before I start telling you which hosting is best for WordPress, I am going to clear some misconceptions about hosting right away.
I’ve heard many people asking me that is it okay to have a Windows OS on their desktop if they have a Linux hosting.

Relevance of the OS on your desktop

Do you really think that having the same OS on your desktop as that of your hosting is necessary or makes any difference?

It is a wide spread misconception among the novices that you need to have the same OS on your desktop as that of your hosting.

Let’s try to understand this in a simple way.

Assume that your hosting OS is same as the one on your desktop.

When you access your server

You won’t see a user interface identical to the one on your desktop.

You access your web server using a web editor, an FTP program or an SSH program.

In case you are using an FTP client like FileZilla,

the user interface completely depends on the FTP program and has nothing to do with the OS on your desktop.

 

I hope I have cleared that misconception and now I’ll move to the question of the hour –

Which is a better choice for WordPress: Linux or Windows hosting?

 

Why do you need a Windows hosting?

It is important to understand the criteria for choosing a hosting. The first thing and probably the most important (after your budget) to take into consideration while choosing a hosting is your hosting needs.

Are you going to rely on ASP, .NET, MS SQL server for your website functioning?

If your answer is yes, then you better go with a Windows hosting since all these needs are met with using a Windows hosting. You can’t find your way around these things on a Linux hosting.

Honestly, this is the only reason to go for a Windows hosting.

When it comes to Linux, I can give you reasons convincing enough to make you stick with Linux hosting. Let’s explore.

 

Why go for a Linux hosting?

As I said before, understanding your hosting needs is the key in choosing the right hosting.

Let us see when and why you would go for a Linux hosting.

Most of you have come here looking at the “WordPress” in the title. So it’s pretty obvious that you are trying to get the right hosting for your WordPress blog.

So here’s the list of your needs:

  • WordPress
  • PHP
  • MySQL, etc.

To know the role of PHP and MySQL you can read other articles on how to install WordPress on your site and how to backup WordPress site.

There you’ll see –

Usefulness of PHP MyAdmin and MySQL databases.

How these let you manage all your admin data, posts related data and much more.

 

And this is all possible with a Linux hosting.

PHP and MySQL can also be run on Windows servers but the picture will be entirely different. Things won’t be as smooth as they are on a Linux server.

Linux beats Windows by being 20% faster

If you look forward to start selling in your blog, you might as well install some shopping cart related plugins/softwares on your site which work smoothly on a Linux hosting.

If you ever run into any web server related problems and look out for tutorials on configuring your server, most of the tutorials out there give you a great deal of help assuming you are on a Linux hosting.

Affordable

Let me give you another interesting comparison between the two.

Linux hosting is more affordable than Windows.

Talking about shared hosting,  Windows is as much as 30% more expensive than Linux. 

And if you are looking to go for a Windows Dedicated Server Hosting, you will end up paying 10 to $100 a month more than what you would pay for a Linux hosting.

 

Secure

I am not saying that Linux can’t be hacked, but Linux viruses are much lesser than that of Windows viruses. So, we can say that Linux is securer.

I have covered enough for all the newbies out there to decide what to choose.

 

The Windows nightmare

There may be some of you who already have a WordPress site and are thinking to move your site to Windows or Linux.

If you’re thinking to move to Linux, great, go for it.

But if you are on the verge of migrating your site to Windows, wait, wait right there.

Let me give you a clear idea of what you are getting yourself into.

I recently tried to migrate my site to Windows and ran into some errors that really made me lose my mind. For those who have found yourself in the same pit, here’s how to get out.

After changing from Linux server to Windows server, things looked fine. But it was only after I started browsing other pages on my blog (other than the homepage) that I could smell what Windows was cooking. And trust me it was bad.

Here’s what most (or all) of the pages on my blog looked like.

404 not found screenshot

To resolve this, I tried to update the permalinks settings, but still the 404 error didn’t clear out.

you should update your web.config now

After updating the permalinks settings, this message popped telling me to update the web.config file.

 

What is a web.config file?

It is a configuration file for an ASP.NET application. It has all the configuration settings of your website and you can use it to define or revise them.

You will find this file on a Windows server which needs to be configured to be able to use “pretty” permalinks.

An example of “pretty” permalinks can be seen in the above snapshot.

Now, a web.config file has many elements and to understand it completely is what an ASP.NET programmer would like to do to kill time. As a blogger we don’t want to spend our time coding and configuring such files.

But still, here’s how to solve the error.

To use permalinks there are some requirements, one of which is having mod_rewrite module installed on your server.

Now this module is not supported by most of the Windows server. So what now?

Locate your web.config file and in the system.webServer element add this rule.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<rewrite>
<rules>
<rule name=”WordPress Rule” stopProcessing=”true”>
<match url=”.*” />
<conditions>
<add input=”{REQUEST_FILENAME}” matchType=”IsFile” negate=”true” />
<add input=”{REQUEST_FILENAME}” matchType=”IsDirectory” negate=”true” />
</conditions>
<action type=”Rewrite” url=”index.php” />
</rule>
</rules>
</rewrite>
</system.webServer>
</configuration>

This rule will make sure your “pretty” permalinks look pretty even without a mod_rewrite module.

And that is how you solve the permalinks error.

I hope you don’t make the mistake I did and choose wisely.

Final words

I am not biased or anything but when I say, that Linux is the best choice for your WordPress site, I say it from personal experience.
You saw many aspects of Linux as well as Windows hosting from cost to applications to security.

Now you are in a position to look at your hosting needs and make the decision for yourself.

If you wanna know how to install WordPress on your site, do read the related article on this blog.

Also, you could find the necessary insight to the different hosting providers before choosing a web host by reading my reviews on various web hosts.I hope you take away a lot from this article and avoid yourself from getting into any sorts of hosting trouble.

Happy blogging!

About Nikhil S

He is one of the co-founders of TBT. He loves to write about WordPress & SEO tutorials also he is a Computer Science Engineering Student.

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