Linux Hosting: How To Pick The Right Host For Your Business
When you are first looking for a hosting plan, you might blindly select a Windows hosting plan over a Linux plan because of the brand recognition. While Windows might seem more familiar, it doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Linux hosting is everywhere, and with good reason. This budget-friendly hosting solution runs on open-source Linux software, and as such is one of the most flexible and reliable hosting options available today. Here is what Linux hosting is and how to find the right Linux hosting for your business.
What Is Linux Hosting?
Linux is a group of free, open-source software operating systems. Like its UNIX predecessor, Linux’s open-source software is the middleman between your computer’s application and system software and the hardware that powers these programs.
When you are in the market for shared hosting, you might notice that you can choose between Windows and Linux hosting. The difference between the two is the operating system that is installed on the server that is hosting your website. Unix-based operating systems (Linux, Red hat, Debian, CentOS, and Ubuntu) are extremely popular and power about 70% of all websites, while Windows-based systems account for the rest.
The advantage of choosing Linux hosting over Windows is many of the software and server technology is open-source, so that you can find a hosting package for cheaper. Despite the lower price tag, you won’t notice a difference in the quality of service you are getting, and the Linux hosting plan might even fit your needs better. As an open-source offering, Linux lets you play around with the source code to create truly unique websites. The sky's the limit when it comes to adding and improving your website with other open source products, from advanced analytics to databases to GIT repositories and beyond.
Beloved by developers for its constant evolution and flexibility, a result of the contributions of a dedicated global community, Linux is one of the most common and popular operating systems in the world.
Ultimately, the platform you choose will depend on the language you use to create your website. If you are using MySQL or PHP, it should be on a Linux hosting plan. Therefore, if you have a WordPress site, Linux will fit your needs better. However, if you are using ASP.NET, ASP, or MS SQL, likely Windows will be better for you. For those who have a static site that uses CSS or HTML, you can use either Linux or Windows.
As you explore the Linux hosting terrain in search of your best provider, here are some questions to keep in mind:
- Are its uptimes and load times to your liking?
- Does it offer 1-click script installation?
- What security precautions does it take?
- Does it provide free backups and SSL certificates?
This is just a sample of the considerations that should help you come to a decision, but they’re essential to making sure you’re getting the most out of your Linux hosting service.
Take a look at our top Linux hosting website rankings below to get started and browse our comprehensive expert and consumer reviews for Linux web hosting services to find the best one for you:
What Are The Types Of Linux Operating Systems?
Linux, unlike Windows, can appear in various forms. Because the open-source developers have modified Linux to meet their needs, you’ll see that there are multiple distributions. Here are some of the most popular:
- Ubuntu Linux
- Linux Mint
- Arch Linux
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Choosing between the various distributions isn’t a huge consideration. It won’t matter if your Linux host uses CentOS vs. Fedora. The hosting provider makes their choice based on how easy it is to use, cost, reliability, and support.
Why Do You Need Linux Hosting?
Linux hosting is one of the most popular types available for good reason. Despite its decades of availability, Linux remains open-source, making it cost-effective and giving you greater control over your website’s back-end.
Similarly, it’s open-source nature means that it’s compatible with the vast majority of applications and CMS tools developers need to build websites. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some Linux hosts are more generous than others with their developer toolkit, so be on the lookout for hosts that include features like 1-click script installations and GIT.
Linux hosting is also known for its flexibility, often giving you features like multiple PHP versions, different databasing options beyond MySQL, and a wide variety of control panels like Plesk and cPanel.
Most importantly, Linux has one of the largest communities in the world. This means the technology behind it is constantly being fine-tuned, improved, reworked, and added to. Because it’s so modular, you can add your own touches (if you’re an expert) or take advantage of the thousands of projects available to upgrade your Linux hosting.
Features To Consider
People who are running an e-commerce site or another kind of online business will likely want to choose Linux because it powers some of the biggest blogging platforms and e-commerce tools. Therefore, when you are looking for a Linux host, you should consider finding one that allows you for one-click installations. For example, FastComet is one of the best Linux hosts because of the multitude of hosting plans they offer. One of the features that they offer is a one-click app marketplace. It quickly allows you to install over 450 apps within seconds.
Here are some other features you should be considering:
- High-quality hardware that is compatible with the Linux software
- cPanel, which will allow you to manage your server easily.
- Software that is compatible with Linux (programming scripts, Apache, etc.)
- Uptime rates at least 99.9% or higher. The closer to 100%, the less time your website will be done.
- 24/7 support that is reachable by email, chat, and phone
If you are a more experienced and technical-savvy website owner, then you should pay attention to what version of PHP is supported, as well as the MySQL database and any limitations it might have. If this is a feature you are interested in, you can sometimes even pick your Linux distribution.
What are the Benefits of Linux Hosting?
- You have free rein to configure your back-end: This is one of the biggest benefits you get from Linux. Unlike some more restrictive operating systems, Linux gives you full control, and lets you build your website exactly the way you want. More importantly, you can tweak and fine tune areas that aren’t working how they should.
- Your website is (fairly) safe from cyber-vandals: Because it’s so prevalent in the hosting world, Linux servers have been given a great deal of security features. This means that, while not completely blocked off from attacks, your website is likely to be incredibly safe for as long as it's online.
- You can expect speedy load times and uptimes: Linux allows for lightweight design and applications to run smoothly on it. The result is a server that helps speed up loading times thanks to customizable caching, and reliable websites that don’t crash often.
What Factors to Consider for Linux Hosting
Are you compromising features for pricing? Linux hosting is known for its very competitive pricing, which accounts – at least in part – for its enduring popularity. Before you sign up for the cheapest plan you can find, however, check to see that the plan allocates enough bandwidth and disk space to handle your average website traffic, and that its developer toolkit includes the features you need.
- Is its support robust? It’s true – Linux’s passionate online community is a fantastic resource for troubleshooting on your own and getting support from your peers. Still, there are other aspects to Linux web hosting apart from its servers, and chances are you will need your Linux host’s support team to walk you through issues pertaining to your account. The good news is that some of the cheapest, most basic plans offer around the clock support, with phone, email, and live chat channels connecting you to experts – you just have to seek these plans out.
- Are you satisfied with its loading and uptime tests? Ensuring that your website is nearly always online and that its loading times are ultra-fast is one of the first critical steps in attracting and retaining readers or customers. If your website loads just fractionally slower than your competitors, there’s a good chance you’re losing out on potential or even regular audiences. The same goes for frequent service disturbances – if customers have a hard time accessing your site, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.
- Is your site dependent upon Microsoft software? Sorry, but we have to ask. If you are deeply involved with Microsoft products like .NET or MS Access, a Linux hosting solution is probably not the right fit.
Is Free Linux Server Hosting A Good Idea?
Some new business owners might realize that having a website can get expensive. They might get drawn into the offers of free Linux hosting, but don’t be fooled by this option. While you can find free hosting plans out there, it is almost never a good idea to power your website through a free hosting plan. Companies that offer free hosting plans might disappear at any time, causing your business website to disappear without warning. Or, you might find that a free hosting plan severely restricts you in terms of storage space, bandwidth, and security protections.
In addition, the free hosting plans might not have the most up-to-date infrastructure and software, which could leave your website open to attack. If you are running a business online, the last thing you want is to portray an unprofessional or unsafe image to your potential customers. Instead, it is better to invest in your website hosting to get a reputable Linux hosting provider and better access to resources.
Choose the Best Linux Web Hosting
Whether you’re building the next big e-commerce store or launching a revolutionary blog, you first need to find a hosting platform that will fully accommodate your website’s needs. Open-source Linux servers empower you to create unique back and front-ends, but the servers are just one part of the greater Linux hosting experience. We invite you to read our Linux hosting reviews to zero in on the best Linux web hosting solution for you.