Choosing between a Windows and a Linux Dedicated Server Part 2.
If you have chosen a Dedicated Server as your choice of hosting platform, the next stage is to decide what version of operating system to use on your server. The options can be divided into 2 main rivals and then further into different versions of these rivals.
Linux dedicated servers have the main advantage of being cheaper than their windows equivalents due to no license costs. The difference for the same specification hardware can range from 20% to 50%. The reason for this is that the Linux distributions rely heavily on their “communities” to maintain their operating systems. This can be a double edged sword, with the possibility some operating systems may cease to be supplied if their community disbands however it usually also means any technical issues can be resolved through the communities free resources rather than expensive support contracts.
The main three distributions of Linux which we recommend are Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS. The first two of these are based on the same architecture and use almost identical commands for much of their functionality, so moving from using Debian to Ubuntu or vice versa is fairly straight forward. The main points to note are that new versions of Ubuntu tend to be fairly frequent however many have shorter support lifetimes. Debian versions are less frequent but their versions support 5 year life cycles. CentOS is based heavily on RedHat Enterprise, a subscription Linux distribution. It tends to have long life cycles, however the version of software like PHP, Apache and MySQL will not change over the course of these life cycles so you could be stuck with an old version for some time.
Most server Linux installs tend to come without a GUI (graphical user interface) unlike windows so it can seem daunting to manage and use which is why it is less popular with users who are used to Microsoft operating systems on their own PCs.
Next week, Part 3.