Which operating system (OS) pairs best with a virtual private server (VPS)? Many businesses have an online presence (although, shockingly, the majority of US businesses do not—there are a lot of mom and pop ventures with no website or social media presence). However, those that do have an online presence know that having an attractive and easy to navigate website is key. What they fail to realize is that their web host and hosting plan plays a big role. Put simply: The more powerful your server is, the faster your website will be and speed is always a factor in website quality.
A fast website abides by search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, won’t frustrate visitors, and studies have shown people won’t spend long waiting for a site to load. More and more businesses are choosing VPS hosting, which is an actual, physical server split into numerous virtual servers via a group of users. These “virtual copies” are kept separate from all the others for safety and performance, which means they also have their own OS. As a user, you’ll be sharing RAM, CPU performance, bandwidth, etc. with the rest of the group, but you’ll maintain complete control over server options. Basically, you have a dedicated server working on a shared hosting layout.
VPS sounds like a no-brainer for many, but before signing on you need to select an OS. There are two primary options: Linux or Windows. Each has potential pros and cons depending on you, your business, your preferences, and what you’re looking for.
Linux for the Win
Linux hosting options use, of course, Linux open-source software. This means a website owner doesn’t have to buy licenses to download, use, and run Linux programs. This is a lifesaver for many companies, especially those operating on a shoestring budget. It lets you get out of the gates quickly, is budget-friendly, and many people say it’s very user-friendly. Linux is known for being reliable and flexible. VPS servers running Linux use fewer resources, which can reduce downtime. Linux is also very compatible, letting you optimize server reliability and uptime, and it supports a number of computer languages including Ruby on Rails, Perl, PHP, MySQL, and Python.
Linux interacts well, but you do need to know coding and programming in order to implement Linux in an SSH environment (which is equipped in all VPS servers via a text-based command). Since Linux is open-source, you can change the configurations of your server, take care of updates yourself, and customize it to suit your needs. Install those applications and add-ons you’ve been mulling over—it’s easy with Linux.
Windows, a Top Contender
The Windows OS is popular, but more expensive than Linux. It’s a commercial software, not open-source, so you will need to pay for licensing, installing more programs, applications, and the like. However, it also comes with some great perks. Buy a Windows hosting plan, and you’ll get a fantastic user-friendly design with simple graphical user interface (GUI) and a product that’s familiar to Windows users. Remote Desktop Access allows you to manage and control your server from anywhere. There’s also fantastic website support via ASP.NET and ASP, which is great for complicated sites or customizing an existing website.
Renowned for security, Windows VPS servers have a killer antivirus and antispy software program. You’ll get sturdy firewalls to protect from hackers, too.
Choosing an OS for your VPS is a big decision. Think about the features, but also your company’s goals.