Windows vs. Linux – The Right Fit for Your Business?

As things stand today, when it comes to web hosting & web development, there are two major platforms when selecting a base for your corporate website – Windows or Linux. As a SMB (small-midsize business) owner, selecting the right platform may seem like a tough decision. The following should make your decision easier. Windows refers to Microsoft’s server which is currently on version 2008. Originally developed to support ASP and later .NET programming languages, support has grown to include PHP – a major break-through.

Designed to work hand-in-hand with IIS and SQL Server, Microsoft’s operating system provides stability, maturity and the backing of a multi-billion dollar corporation continuously working on improving their products. While the association of Windows and .NET often seemed best suited for enterprise level computing and development, the recent release of PHP for Windows has leveled the playing field. Now SMBs can develop their website using a dynamic and easy-to-code language, while running on a fully backed OS along with a robust database. While hosting costs for Windows/SQL are higher than those of Linux (due to Microsoft licensing requirements) this option should be considered by SMBs that value having a major corporate behind their platform. Linux is an open-source operating system typically bundled with Apache, mySQL and PHP (LAMP) and has appealed to many startup companies seeking to save costs typically associated with Microsoft hosting and licensing fees.

In addition Linux’s native support of PHP made it the natural choice for many SMBs due to the high availability, and lower costs, of PHP developers. As Linux is open-source, no one company owns the platform – thus several flavors of Linux are available. This fact should be included in your Windows vs Linux decision. Since the release of PHP for Windows, along with the ability to use popular content management systems such as Word Press, deciding between Windows and Linux is not as cut and dry. If you’re an SMB that values longevity and having a name-brand behind your products, yet still want the flexibility of a dynamic and affordable programming language – then Windows with IIS, SQL server and PHP is an excellent choice. However if you place a higher value on cost-savings and want the complete flexibility of the open-source community, then Linux might be the better fit for your SMB.