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  1. #1
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    Windows or Linux Hosting? What sells more?

    A "lot" of folks here offering Linux based hosting. Here being predominantly North American market (sorry for generalizing). However, the opposite seems to be true in East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, and Europe. Windows hosting is in more demand?

    What hosting solution (LAMP or Windows/.NET/MS-SQL) is more marketable for SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) and SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) Businesses?
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  2. #2
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    Hi,

    It all depends on who you are targeting, but in general the Linux Hosting Market is more popular atm especially online and here at WHT, the Windows Hosting market is catching up but it's not as saturated as the Linux market.

    You might want to start off with Linux unless you're very familiar with the Windows Hosting market already, it is much harder to manage the servers using windows and the control panels arent as friendly either for the admin side of things.

    Good luck
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoobastank68
    it is much harder to manage the servers using windows and the control panels arent as friendly either for the admin side of things.
    Well thats just not true.
    Some of the windows control panels out there are well developed and have very good interfaces

  4. #4
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    Well we've been doing Windows hosting for quite sometime now. The market I am looking at is SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) and SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) Businesses - I just felt quite the opposite, that Linux was more harder to manage.
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  5. #5
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    IMO, small office users may want linux. I'm looking to switch my hosting from windows to linux simply because of the scripts offered for linux. Right now I have a test linux account and learning how to set permissions and the such (well, more than that, but you get the point). Seems linux has more scripts, they tend to be cheaper, and they tend to have been on the market longer.....

    For larger businesses with a staff and dedicated web people, it would depend on what they need for the company.... Do they use ASP? What can you push them to use....
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  6. #6
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    Well script-speaking only, yes, Linux does have an advantage. The average end-client typically has no idea about Linux and some vague idea about Windows. All they need is convincing that the end website can be hosted.
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  7. #7
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    I've tried many times to do Windows hosting only to be dissapointed by the complicated nature of it. Linux/Apache (LAMP - what a brilliant name) is much more robust and simply works!

  8. #8
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    Linux hosting leads the Industry period.

  9. #9
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    Question to the hosts that offer both,

    do you see a difference in how many clients you can put on a server between windows and linux as I have heard even if both are admined well a windows server of the same hardware can't handle as many shared clients? Which thus drives up costs?
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  10. #10
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    I don't think I've ever *wanted* to be that close to the margin on either, but that is a pretty broad question. As people always point out, no two baskets of clients are the same.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by bwb
    Question to the hosts that offer both,

    do you see a difference in how many clients you can put on a server between windows and linux as I have heard even if both are admined well a windows server of the same hardware can't handle as many shared clients? Which thus drives up costs?
    Static websites on Windows vs. static websites on Linux I would argue you could host equally the same. Where you get into scaling issues on Windows/IIS is when you host ASP/ASP.NET/ColdFusion sites with Access backends. Of course you can charge a heck of alot more for that service though.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDizzle
    Static websites on Windows vs. static websites on Linux I would argue you could host equally the same. Where you get into scaling issues on Windows/IIS is when you host ASP/ASP.NET/ColdFusion sites with Access backends. Of course you can charge a heck of alot more for that service though.
    Yep yep, I mean just in general with a bunch of random clients like if you were ipower or so on, do you think in general with a random mix linux or windows allows for more? or about the same?
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  13. #13
    I think Linux is more script-friendly. You can easily find many scripts that operate under linux servers, while windows can be a little more rare.

  14. #14
    I would say definitely Linux hosting, and not because of performance or usability. There is just more support and resources for Linux hosting. Not just with scripts, but with control panels, security, etc. -- your more likely to find answers to the Linux versions of these packages online, than you would the windows versions. Simply because more people are using them.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bwb
    Question to the hosts that offer both,

    do you see a difference in how many clients you can put on a server between windows and linux as I have heard even if both are admined well a windows server of the same hardware can't handle as many shared clients? Which thus drives up costs?
    If you're talking about packing clients onto a server, then I believe Linux has the advantage. Mainly because you can get into the source in Linux and tweak it to handle more and/or by removing or stopping things you don't need or want. Windows is a bulkier software, and requires more memory to run, on a base install. So it may run out of resources faster.

    However, for small business clients, I think you need to look at what services you want to offer and what the client wants. For example, if their site is a FrontPage site, interactive ASP, or they pull data from their site into an access database at the office, then Windows may be for them.

    But most people cannot tell whether they're on a Windows or Linux server if they only require basic hosting services. FTP, web design, and control panel software, work and look virtually the same on both, from the clients perspective. Under this scenario I'd recommend Linux, only because it's cheaper to operate.

  16. #16
    Hello,

    If anybody has to choose between the linux hosting and windows hosting, then that depends on the application you use in the site.

    Linux hosting is more stable security wise, more stable in handling your clients.

    For e.g

    A linux server with cpanel/WHM control panel can handle around 300 clients effeciently. 300 clients I am talking is the minimum limit.

    Where as if we talk about the windows server with Plesk control panel, can handle only 150-200 clients.

    SO you see there is almost 50 % difference between both.

    Linux servers are robust in handling the pages. Well, there are certain application for which we need windows server. For example, dotnetnuke. Dotnetnuke is one application which requires MS-SQL server and ASP.net.

    Dotnetnuke is a complete site management.

    Hosting selection depends on the application you want to use in your hosting.

    Thank you.

    Regards,

    Hostech Support.

  17. #17
    There is more business in linux hosting but now windows business is also growing.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hostechsupport
    Hello,

    If anybody has to choose between the linux hosting and windows hosting, then that depends on the application you use in the site.

    Linux hosting is more stable security wise, more stable in handling your clients.

    For e.g

    A linux server with cpanel/WHM control panel can handle around 300 clients effeciently. 300 clients I am talking is the minimum limit.

    Where as if we talk about the windows server with Plesk control panel, can handle only 150-200 clients.

    SO you see there is almost 50 % difference between both.

    Linux servers are robust in handling the pages. Well, there are certain application for which we need windows server. For example, dotnetnuke. Dotnetnuke is one application which requires MS-SQL server and ASP.net.

    Dotnetnuke is a complete site management.

    Hosting selection depends on the application you want to use in your hosting.

    Thank you.

    Regards,

    Hostech Support.
    Linux is more secure? This is hardly the case. Security of a server comes down to the person running the server. More robust? Again, I don't think so. If you are only able to host 200 domains on a Windows server, you're doing something terribly wrong. A P4 server with 1GB of RAM should be able to host about 400 domains easily. We have some customers hosting close to 1000 domains on dual xeon boxes with 2GB of memory. We have dedicated mail servers that host 2000-3000 domains each.
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  19. #19
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    Windows can indeed support more. I'd have to agree with Jay. 200 domains - something is definitely wrong on your box.

    Linux's advantage is due to its after-market scripting programs like Fantastico, if Windows were to offer the same, Windows would probably be equally popular.

    Linux no doubt is popular in North America, but looking at Asia-Pacific, Middle East, South Africa, and partially Europe, Windows sells an awfuly lot more than Linux.
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  20. I would also say that Linux hosting seems to run slightly cheaper then windows.

  21. #21
    For sure. Windows licensing can be a real headache, and costly. Even with SPLA.
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  22. #22
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    It is mainly a question of philosophy.

    A Windows installation maintained by a professional who has been working with Windows for a long time can be made secure enough to compete with a basic installation of Linux. Of course, you can pack tons of expensive tools on your Windows machine to further improve security.

    Linux comes with decent security out of the box; kept up to date by someone who knows what he is doing it becomes a real challenge to exploit even the smallest bug. The main problem of Linux systems are insecure scripts.

    Unless a client really wants a Windows server there is no reason to offer them. Good Windows administrators are hard to find, windows security update intervals and reaction times are a joke and the pricing is just not competitive.

    If you are running a company with mainly Windows based tools and you have the staff to take care of the servers, it might make sense for you to go with Windows. Other than that, it is Linux you will want.

    Perhaps the most obvious reason why people want Windows servers is because they have a Windows PC at home and they feel they can administrate a Windows server because of that. If your company cares about the needs of each individual customer, you will want to tell them this is not a good idea.

    Besides, as for Europe, it is in no way true that Windows servers are outselling Linux servers. The opposite is the case. And I do not think that is any different for other parts of the world. No idea where your assumption comes from.

  23. #23
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    Well there is lot of linux business.Therefore i will prefer linux.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babushka99
    A "lot" of folks here offering Linux based hosting. Here being predominantly North American market (sorry for generalizing). However, the opposite seems to be true in East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, and Europe. Windows hosting is in more demand?

    What hosting solution (LAMP or Windows/.NET/MS-SQL) is more marketable for SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) and SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) Businesses?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolfJack
    It is mainly a question of philosophy.
    Of course, you can pack tons of expensive tools on your Windows machine to further improve security.
    i call bull on that statement. i've been running Win2k3/IIS6 since Aug 2004 host about 84 domains on my server at the planet. it only use remote routing feature on Win2k3 standard as basic firewall. No hack or what so ever. there are plenty of hack on *nix and security firms also sell expensive tools for *nix.

    that type of bull don't fly here. it will probably work at Slashdot tho.

  25. #25
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    From my experience:

    I have +30 Linux servers, and only 5 windows boxes:
    1 for Plesk for Windows Resellers (Most of them I gave it free in a Linux hosting promotion, and nobody it's using it)
    2 are for Exchange hosting
    1 it's a dedicated server customer who use it for a custom solution.

    So around of the 5% of my customers use Windows, and I advertise both as well.

    For referece, I target Latin American market.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwb
    Yep yep, I mean just in general with a bunch of random clients like if you were ipower or so on, do you think in general with a random mix linux or windows allows for more? or about the same?
    iPower, Yahoo!, etc. who host a lot of domains per box, use FreeBSD. With Linux you will need to be a bit more specific. They are different as night and day in organization and performance. There is a lot of development takes place there that makes its way back into other operating systems. We have both. Nothing wrong with either. On Linux, our weather site was in trouble before it had 3,000 users on it. Three large vendors have tried, each inferring the last didn't know what they were doing. Each amazed after they tried, one now offers FreeBSD due to other experiences like ours. With FreeBSD it isn't even breathing hard with 13,500 on. We don't have problems with Linux elsewhere. I would also say, that there are more web applications available for Linux than any other platform by a wide margin. If Windows came anywhere close to the Linux & UNIX numbers, it wouldn't be that way.

    I'm curious if Windows could run our weather site. The last Windows site I had was Windows 2000, it was a single site running IIS, and would get hacked in no time, so I switched it to Apache. 2003 is no doubt improved. However, if you run IIS to be compatible with the MS software, then I wonder what happens to things like ioncube loader, .htaccess, mod_rewrite, etc. If you lose access to 90% of the apps written for web if you go to IIS to gain the access of the Microsoft software, then there is no way that it is useful for general hosting. If you need to run Apache on the Windows server to gain access to them, but you lose half of the Microsoft software advantages plus pick up licensing costs, I'm trying to think of how that makes sense. I wouldn't want to invest in software or a web site that would only run on Windows. How does Windows licensing work for a web server? If you create a user for say FTP or to manage or domain does that mean a user license? Does it go by CPU, and then what about dual-cores? Unlike hyper threading, they are two distinct CPUs on the same piece o silicone. What does it cost? I would like to know the answers to those.

    When I talked to one of the huge hosters earlier this year, he said, "Generally if you are doing hosting, FreeBSD is a good choice. If doing corporate type sites and applications, Linux is a better choice and more of the latest software is available for it, and Windows generally only selected when there are applications that require it. But there is a lot of crossover." This was just one man's opinion, but I did hear similar comments from two other hosters. I would like to better understand the context of his comments. I would like to know if Windows 2003 as a web server has enough redeeming virtues that make it a better choice than running an ???X, and then what web server process would that be?
    Last edited by IT_Architect; 09-23-2006 at 02:41 PM.

  27. #27
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    Well there is one facet that is taking shape - which we all know - Linux is out there puh-lenty! Our company (without disclosing numbers and the number FYI are in excess of 200 servers) has a ratio of like 1 Linux server for every 20 Window servers. This does not have anything to do with performance, etc. but merely the simple fact, that the client who walk-in - request ASP.NET/MS-SQL - and keep that requirement in view, we service them.

    The European market (to some extent), Asia-Pacific and Middle-East markets are perhaps more hot on Windows than they are on Linux. This is something we have had first hand experience on - so rephrasing the above statement, "in our view" would be the correct add-on.

    Linux beyond a doubt has a plethora of scripts, add-ons, flavors, etc. etc. but somehow - find good Linux administrator (in our geographic part of the world) is a problem, and even if we did address that - its the market. In our part of the world, market demands Windows.

    Linux is something we are now seriously looking into... (perhaps not for marketing it in our region, but perhaps in different geographic markets in close proximity to our time-zone).
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babushka99
    merely the simple fact, that the client who walk-in - request ASP.NET/MS-SQL - and keep that requirement in view, we service them.
    Which web server do you run then?

    If you need to run IIS to be compatible with the MS software, can you still run applications that require things like ioncube loader, .htaccess, mod_rewrite, etc.?

    If you run Apache on Windows server, do you lose Microsoft software advantages?

    How does Windows licensing work for a web server and what does it cost?

    Thanks!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babushka99
    The European market (to some extent), Asia-Pacific and Middle-East markets are perhaps more hot on Windows than they are on Linux. This is something we have had first hand experience on - so rephrasing the above statement, "in our view" would be the correct add-on.
    Can you please explain what this assumption is based upon? Because I can not confirm it at all. In fact, to me europe seems somewhat more hostile towards Microsoft than any other part of the world.

    Also when looking at the mass market, the vast majority of servers sold in europe are Linux servers. Windows servers do get a fair share, but only where people require ASP or .NET.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Architect
    Which web server do you run then?

    If you need to run IIS to be compatible with the MS software, can you still run applications that require things like ioncube loader, .htaccess, mod_rewrite, etc.?

    If you run Apache on Windows server, do you lose Microsoft software advantages?

    How does Windows licensing work for a web server and what does it cost?

    Thanks!
    We run them on IIS - however, we don't use ioncube loader, etc. All those are offered on our Linux platforms for customers who wish as such.

    Windows lincensing for Web / Windows 2003 Standard runs at $25-$30 per server per month (prices vary as per data center).
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolfJack
    Can you please explain what this assumption is based upon? Because I can not confirm it at all. In fact, to me europe seems somewhat more hostile towards Microsoft than any other part of the world.

    Also when looking at the mass market, the vast majority of servers sold in europe are Linux servers. Windows servers do get a fair share, but only where people require ASP or .NET.
    Like I cited, the assumption is based on our view and our sales. The companies / clients we interact with, the resellers we have.

    Most of the commercial businesses use Windows in Europe as opposed to Linux.
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  32. #32
    I agree with LoneWolfJack.
    It's only up to web application technology - Windows can cover .ASP and .NET which is not possible with Linux.
    I'm allways for Linux if there is no need for .ASP or .NET. It seems to be that Linux and Windows are close to each other regarding security, but Linux is cheaper.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babushka99
    We run them on IIS - however, we don't use ioncube loader, etc. All those are offered on our Linux platforms for customers who wish as such.

    Windows lincensing for Web / Windows 2003 Standard runs at $25-$30 per server per month (prices vary as per data center).
    Got it! That's what sorta suspected, but didn't know for sure. I know some web servers know how to make themselves look like Apache, and even run Apache modules natively. I didn't know if IIS had developed those capabilities or not. Thanks!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babushka99
    Like I cited, the assumption is based on our view and our sales. The companies / clients we interact with, the resellers we have.

    Most of the commercial businesses use Windows in Europe as opposed to Linux.
    I reckon we just happen to have the most different customers then.

    But claiming that commercial businesses prefer Windows over Linux in europe could not be further from the truth. And most of those that do so, are mainly doing it because of ignorance. They are used to have Windows workstations so it is logical to them to have Windows servers, too. They are usually stunned to silence if you tell them that they can get the same machines run under Linux for much less money.

    However, my experience is limited to companies with say 50 to 1000 employees, it might be different for companies that have several thousand employees.

  35. #35
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    OK, here's my view on this debate.

    There was a time 5 to 6 years ago when linux was hotter, more stable and more secure than Windows. Back in the days of NT and early 2000, it wasn't the best hosting platform. That is why alot of the early internet companies and hosting companies decided to go linux.

    But recently, 2000 SP4 and 2003 have maken great improvements in security and stability. 2000 SP4 would still need to be locked down. 2003 on the otherhand is pretty much locked down outside of the box. You can spend hours hardening a Linux server, but a Win server is deployable right after the basic install and small tweaks.

    We run about 30 to 35 windows server (more than linux) and we've never had a hack/exploit that took advantage of a windows security flaw to gain access to the system. Most hacks we see on Windows websites are due to bad scripting by customers (sql injection, being able to upload scripts into web directory, etc). Most security patches for Windows have very little implication for hosting as they target applications/services that are usually disabled on hosting servers. How many times have you seen a security patch for IIS?

    Another thing people miss out is that Windows is supported. I could call MS 24x7 if I had a problem and they would go over the logs and help us diagnose it. Linux support is mostly by 3rd parties or communities and they may not be to savvy with the code of the OS.

    .NET and SQL Server are gaining popularity very fast. Alot of the demand for windows hosting is being generated by .NET, which is increasing windows market share. Infact there was a recent report that showed windows server deployment matched linux server deployment in certain months.

    The main advantage now coming out of Windows is that it can host everything. A general hosting customer wouldn't care what platform he/she is hosted on. If a hoster chose windows, they could offer every feature to the customer (from mysql to sqlserver, php to asp.net). The fact that windows can run and host everything is going to play to its advantage in the long term
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yash-JH
    OK, here's my view on this debate.The main advantage now coming out of Windows is that it can host everything. A general hosting customer wouldn't care what platform he/she is hosted on. If a hoster chose windows, they could offer every feature to the customer (from mysql to sqlserver, php to asp.net). The fact that windows can run and host everything is going to play to its advantage in the long term
    I'm glad you said that because nearly every app out there for web servers is coded in PHP and uses ioncube loader or zend, mod_rewrite, and .htaccess. I just don't know how to do that in Windows, and would really like to know how so that I can entertain the possibility of Windows servers.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Architect
    I'm glad you said that because nearly every app out there for web servers is coded in PHP and uses ioncube loader or zend, mod_rewrite, and .htaccess. I just don't know how to do that in Windows, and would really like to know how so that I can entertain the possibility of Windows servers.
    ioncube loader, zend are available on windows.
    there are rewrite tools available on windows, as 3rd party dlls.
    using .htaccess is plain bad coding, but is available with control panels such as hsphere (which have written their own htaccess dll).

    I've seen tons of php apps running on windows.
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  38. #38
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    I do know you can run Apache on Windows (though we've never done it/ tried it). I believe even IBM's Websphere is built on the Apache's engine. We have successfully run PHP/MySQL for a couple of clients on a Windows boxes with zero problems.
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  39. #39
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    Excellent info.

    When I see fanboys of Linux mention the low price (free) they fail to compare apples to oranges. Last time I checked, "enterprise" license for RHEL and associated annual support fees were very expensive. Ditto for IBM Websphere, or any other SUPPORTED os choice.

    It really isn't Linux version Windows as a matter of cost; it's self-supported I take the risk versus commercial/enterprise deployments with official support.

    As much as there are cheapie Linux hosts with plans selling for $3/month, there are still quite a few PROFITABLE linux/unix hosts that charge $10 to $15/month for a basic account. Guess which ones have OS vendor support and more reliable servers?

    Your comments about security are very true too. Right now, there are reports of a hosting company having many many websites hacked -- it's due to a flaw in cPanel, not the OS or web server itself.

    Of course, as typical in these nobody-can-win Linux vs Windows debates I see only techie arguments. I don't see a single mention of business goals and needs.

    From our point of view, we WANT every hosting company to host on Linux - leaves more market for those of us that use Windows and keeps the price wars a little bit removed from us.

    If you host generic sites, then windows versus linux is not a big difference. If you host higher-margin database and technology rich sites, than Windows, SQL Server, ASP.NET, SharePoint, and other Microsoft technologies make this discussion a non-issue. They simply just run on a Windows server and by definition they are more complex, more sophisticated, and hence higher value and higher margin services.

    Sure there are equivalent technologies with MySql, PHP, RubyRails, etc. etc. - but guess what? clients looking for those features still want to pay $5/month for x GB of bandwidth and hundreds of mb of database. No thank you, Windows clients still have some sense of value for quality service rather than wanting the world for next-to-nothing. Gee, would it have something to do with so many Linux hosts out there and less windows hosts? (supply and demand, folks).

    I'll take 5 or 10 SharePoint clients over 100 basic clients anytime.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yash-JH
    OK, here's my view on this debate.

    There was a time 5 to 6 years ago when linux was hotter, more stable and more secure than Windows. Back in the days of NT and early 2000, it wasn't the best hosting platform. That is why alot of the early internet companies and hosting companies decided to go linux.

    But recently, 2000 SP4 and 2003 have maken great improvements in security and stability. 2000 SP4 would still need to be locked down. 2003 on the otherhand is pretty much locked down outside of the box. You can spend hours hardening a Linux server, but a Win server is deployable right after the basic install and small tweaks.

    We run about 30 to 35 windows server (more than linux) and we've never had a hack/exploit that took advantage of a windows security flaw to gain access to the system. Most hacks we see on Windows websites are due to bad scripting by customers (sql injection, being able to upload scripts into web directory, etc). Most security patches for Windows have very little implication for hosting as they target applications/services that are usually disabled on hosting servers. How many times have you seen a security patch for IIS?

    Another thing people miss out is that Windows is supported. I could call MS 24x7 if I had a problem and they would go over the logs and help us diagnose it. Linux support is mostly by 3rd parties or communities and they may not be to savvy with the code of the OS.

    .NET and SQL Server are gaining popularity very fast. Alot of the demand for windows hosting is being generated by .NET, which is increasing windows market share. Infact there was a recent report that showed windows server deployment matched linux server deployment in certain months.

    The main advantage now coming out of Windows is that it can host everything. A general hosting customer wouldn't care what platform he/she is hosted on. If a hoster chose windows, they could offer every feature to the customer (from mysql to sqlserver, php to asp.net). The fact that windows can run and host everything is going to play to its advantage in the long term
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  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    3,352
    Quote Originally Posted by Yash-JH
    The main advantage now coming out of Windows is that it can host everything. A general hosting customer wouldn't care what platform he/she is hosted on. If a hoster chose windows, they could offer every feature to the customer (from mysql to sqlserver, php to asp.net). The fact that windows can run and host everything is going to play to its advantage in the long term
    finally, a real statement that doesn't have any Slashdot bull. what you said is what i'm seeing too. most of Opensource stacks, LAMP can be run on Windows2k3/IIS6 plus ASP.net/MS SQL. the end users don't really care what platform they are on. they log on to a control panel to manage their hosting package and upload their scripts/files via ftp client. all they really care about is what features you can offer and if the things is going the way they are going now. i believe linux will lose out to Windows due to the fact that Windows can also host the LAMP Stack without using Apache and Linux. while Linux can't do ASP, ASP.net and MS SQL/MS Access and IIS7 is bring more features.

    why do we even aruging or care about Windows vs Linux on hosting? you offer what end users want and if your customers want ASP, ASP.net and MS SQL then either provide it or lose the customers. it's as simple as that. if you don't want to offer Windows purely because you're a zealots then well, i'm more than happy to take your customers away from you.

    it's business. Give your users what they want and don't let stupid Zealots b.s. get into your head.

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