Linux isn’t just a lovable penguin (his name is Tux, in case you didn’t know). It’s the most popular operating system for web hosting servers. But why? What gives Linux that extra edge?
In short, it’s because Linux is an open-source operating system.
“What makes an open-source operating system so special?” you might ask.
An open-source OS is an operating system that has a free and public source code and is available for modification and redistribution both commercially and non commercially. Everyone can use it, edit it, and redistribute it for any reason they want.
Because Linux is open-source, it’s inexpensive, customizable, secure, and more stable – it’s even becoming the industry’s preference because of its superior features.
When it comes to web hosting, Linux is the most widely used, and there are a few bullet-proof reasons for that:
1. A Linux VPS is Inexpensive
Linux is an open-source platform, which means it’s free to use. This means cheap hosting, and that’s a big advantage.
The majority of Linux distributions (or “distros”) are free and easily customized to meet the developer or application’s needs. Most hosting sites choose a free distro to cut costs and provide a quick start-up.
However, not all distros are free. Many have been downloaded, modified, and sold for specific applications.
When you need to put everything on the web, it’s essential to have options.
A massive company doesn’t develop Linux, and it isn’t one single OS – there are loads of different distros and forks.
This code can be modified and redistributed without restrictions, which allows for greater customization in user options and server capabilities.
Developers love using Linux because it isn’t an “all or nothing” OS.
Using Linux for web hosting can save disk space because you install only the components you want to use, not the whole update like MS Windows.
Linux-based web hosting bypasses a great deal of Windows bloat. Back in the day, everyone did their hosting for IRC servers on Linux so it could be remotely accessed using a terminal-style text interface and would run faster as the server wouldn’t be running all the unnecessary Windows extras.
A single user on a PC won’t feel the bloat from an OS like Windows, but when hundreds or thousands of requests from various users and services come into a server… Well, that’s when the ability to fine-tune Linux saves precious processing time and memory – making the entire system faster, more effective, and creating a better experience for you.
Windows bloat can be useful if you’re working on a PC, but a hosted server is usually a dedicated machine, and Linux allows you to be more specialized.
Linux has flexible hosting with heaps of high-performance applications. It uses desktop and server applications, plus embedded systems (devices whose OS is built into the firmware and is highly personalized, like routers, smart home technology, smart TVs, smart systems in cars, etc.).
Linux was built by a group of programmers. They designed it to be easy to install and use for servers and web hosting.
While most feel it is easy to use, others are on the fence. One of the reasons it might not feel as “user friendly” as other OSes is that Linux users tend to be more tech-savvy and interested in programming. Linux is built for them, not the casual user, which is why most casual users do best with a managed VPS plan when opting for the lovable penguin versus Windows.
Simply another reason most prefer Linux for servers and web hosting.
Of course, Linux wouldn’t be able to take the lead if it couldn’t fill in for other operating systems. Windows and Linux have many similarities and are compatible with the majority of the necessary tasks.
However, if you’ve never used Linux before, don’t expect a replica of Windows OS.
While the two systems are similar in many ways, they have fundamental operational differences and cannot function in the same manner. You don’t expect to turn the page on a movie or use a remote to fast forward through a book, but you still get the story.
Linux provides more security than other operating systems. Because it’s open-source, it’s relatively easy for someone to adapt and change things to work the way they need.
It also means someone will quickly find anything nasty hidden in the code.
Linux runs differently than Windows, and as a result, is more secure. Typically, no antivirus is needed because it won’t run the virus at all.
Linux-based servers almost always perform better than Windows-based servers. It doesn’t slow down over time or freeze up. Linux web servers don’t have memory leaks and have better up-times than other servers.
Windows had issues with stability, but recent editions have brought it closer to Linux’ level.
Linux servers are scalable, so even a small shared hosting account will work in a comparable way to a dedicated server.
Due to its many options, Linux meets the needs of specific websites and hosting requirements over Windows.
Its ease of use, compatibility, and flexibility make it preferred by many developers, and it’s gaining popularity every day.
The Final Word
In the end, Linux isn’t the most popular OS for web hosting just because their mascot is adorable (though he undoubtedly is). Linux’s open-source operating system allows for flexibility, customization, and security that other operating systems just don’t compare.
Not to mention it’s less expensive, compatible, and gradually becoming the preferred option (okay, I mentioned it).
If you’re debating on whether to try it out, I say, “go for it!” As we’ve established, it’s free, so the only thing it will cost you is time. Plus, the reward is well worth it. Just ask Tux.