All websites need an OS (operating system) to run. Today, sites run either on a Windows based server or a Linux server. Windows hosting basically refers to the hosting of web services which run on Windows OS, while Linux based hosting refers to hosting of web services which run on Linux OS. It’s important to note that a site will work just fine on either of the platforms, although there are few differences.
Linux is considered to be more secure than Windows, however, it depends more on the server setup and the hosting system administrators rather than the operating software itself. So long as the server is properly managed and maintained with the latest security, performance patches installed, and configured for optimum security by a professional, there’s little difference in regards to security between the two.
Linux dedicated server hosting normally offers SSH and cPanel access where users can modify and edit files directly on servers when and as required. This means a dynamic site can run more easily on Linux hosting. That being said, note that Database MySQL runs on both Windows and Linux, but MS Access is only available in Windows Hosting. However, mySQL is a Linux open-source database alternative to MS SQL.
Linux OS is known to be very stable with a very high uptime, and can run for a long time without any kind of failure. Windows on the other hand isn’t as reliable, however, with the expanding user base (especially in the corporate users), it has improved its’ reliability significantly over the last couple of years, so it’s now believed to be equally as reliable as Linux.
With Linux, the files and the directory names are case sensitive; whereas Windows are not.
Linux servers and Windows servers use different control panels. The Linux servers use cPanel for all Linux based hosting plans, like Linux Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Servers. On Windows Dedicated and Shared servers, Plesk cPanel is used.
Linux is open source software meaning that companies don’t need to buy a license for using it on their servers, and this makes it very cost effective. On the other hand, hosting companies will pass on the costs of Windows licensing fees to users, which in turn makes it a more costly option.
It’s important to note that in recent years; Linux servers have become the most widely used because it is open source and more robust with a well managed file system. Linux is also considered to have better web server performance, and has more features as compared to windows hosting; so unless your site needs the Windows applications specifically, Linux is probably the better option.