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Windows or Linux Servers?

Windows or Linux Servers?

You’re looking to get a virtual server, or perhap a hosting package, and you’re not sure whether to get a Windows hosted server, or perhaps a Linux one.

Well look no further!

We take a look at the pros and cons for each in this guide so that you can make an informed decision.

Let’s get into it.





Almost everything works or is compatible with windows


Windows is the most widely used platform. It naturally draws the most malware.


A lot of Support in the form of forums, Microsoft Technet and user Q & A sessions


Although it is sometimes included in the purchase price of your computer, a Windows license is quite expensive. Hosting a Windows server as a Virtual Server is more expensive due to the fact that Windows is heavier on the underlying resources than Linux.

Ease of Use:

Most of us have grown up using Windows thus making its use almost second nature although Microsoft has started changing the games with it’s latest offerings.


Windows tends to take a lot of space for its basic functions and this could leave you without enough space for the “REAL” data. Windows is also heavy on resource usage (CPU and Memory).


A wide variety of software is available and most business software is written for Windows.


Most software for Windows is commercial and often requires a major investment in license fees. Licenses are also often tied to a “per User” model which can become very expensive.


Many people will differ, but Windows Server versions as from 2012 onward have made some major improvements in basic security and Microsoft even offers their own security software called Microsoft Security Essentials.


Even though Windows security from the Server perspective has improved, the User level security is still difficult to implement and can easily leave dangerous holes and vulnerabilities.





Linux is completely free and has a plethora of free open-source software (FOSS) available. Hosting a Linux server is usually a LOT cheaper than a Windows server as Linux can run far lighter on the underlying host system as well as make better use of the available resources.


Not all business software is available for both Windows and Linux but this does not mean that there is no business software available. There is a wide choice of business software written for only Linux or both Windows and Linux.


Linux has many variants and you can also choose from a number of interfaces. There are also specialist versions of Linux, from Server to Multi-Media.


The level of complexity of Linux behind the screens is initially more difficult to understand for those coming from a pure windows environment.


Linux systems have very few issues with viruses and malware and good security is easy to implement. Multi-user isolation is built-in as Linux was developed as a multi-user environment.



Linux systems can be customised to meet almost any need and to perform almost any function needed. It is relatively quick to develop new software for Linux and there are thousands of small programs and utilities written for Linux. Source code can also be re-compiled quite easily for Linux, especially if it was written in a C based language.



Linux systems hardly ever need to be rebooted, even after updates and upgrades. They can also run for extremely long without degrading or gradually slowing down due to disk fragmentation and memory leaks.



Given the same resources, Linux systems will run up to four times faster than Microsoft based systems, and handle up to ten times the workload.


At the end of the day, what you host on will also come down to what you need to run your business. If it is only web-hosting then Linux is the obvious choice.

When it comes to something like a database, it is a 50-50 choice as both Microsoft and Linux have brilliant database systems. The only downside of Microsoft Databases is the cost factor and the more expensive hosting.

Applications are very dependent on what you need. Often times there is similar software available for Linux, we just don’t know about it.

Happy Hosting 🙂

The Author

Michael O.

Michael is the founder, managing director, and CEO of HOSTAFRICA. He studied at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and was inspired by Cape Town's beauty to bring his German expertise to Africa. Before HOSTAFRICA, Michael was the Managing Director of Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG, one of Germany's largest virtual server providers.

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