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Linux v Windows web servers...





Captain Fertile
I am working on my website which can be found here:

www.captainfertile.frih.net

As you will see it is more of a club which I really want to expand rather than a business. But I still want it to be a nice site to be part of.

The main part of my site once it is finally hosted and has a domain will be a forum from which to run my club, I am guessing PHPBB forum as that seems to be the forum of choice these days.

I am looking for hosting that is included a PHPBB as part of the package.

Anyway, most hosts offer Linux or Windows Hosting but don’t seem to really explain which you should choose and why.

I am thinking maybe the file naming conventions I use (some of my html file names are long) may be an issue for Linux servers and the quite simple PHP I will use for feedback forms may be an issue for windows servers. But I am not sure if this is the case.

So what is the difference and what should I consider before choosing?

Could anyone please answer thisi n full or point me to somewhere that does?

Many thanks guys and gals.
spyborg0
I visited the site and it is very nice! well done!
johanfh
Hi Captain Fertile,

the difference is not in PHP or something like that.
Windows and Linux are both operating systems. That means that what differs are the operational things, like filenames etc. Linux is case-sensitive, which means that Thisfile.com is something else as thisfile.com or as thisfile.COM
Windows is not case sensitive. On windows all three files I mentioned are the same.
PHP is a scriptinglanguage which works both on linux and windows servers. So that's not a problem. As far as I know ASP (another language) only runs on linux.
Most of the time as a user you don't need to worry on which operating system your website runs. Linux is considered more stable, but Windows isn't bad either. One advantage of Linux above windows is the open source, which basically means that everyone can read and change the system. So: if there is a bug in Linux it is most of the time faster solved than a bug in Windows, because with Linux the whole world of programmers can search for a solution as where the Microsoft team only searches for solutions for bugs in windows.

If you would consider to run a webserver of your own, and your pc is fast, windows is a good choice, because you're probably used to it and it has nice wizards. If you care about speed, linux is better, because you don't need to run the graphical interface if you don't want to, which speeds up the system. Windows is nice if you use a standard config, linux is most of the time better configurable, because you can configure it using configurationscripts instead of wizards.

There is a lot more to say about this, but you can find that all using Google I guess.

Good luck!
JohanFH
MrBlueSky
An excellent explanation from johanfh!

Quote:

There is a lot more to say about this, but you can find that all using Google I guess.


For more information about Windows vs. Linux you can start here, although this page doesn't focus on server-issues per se.
SonLight
Long file names should not be a problem for any web server. If you want upper/lowercase filenames to be considered different, then you might prefer Linux since it does that by default. If you want them to be considered the same, then you might prefer Windows. It might be possible to change configuration settings to handle some files named the other way, but it will require a little more effort and you may not be able to modify the settings on some hosts.

In most cases, your forum software will insure that names are chosen appropriately for the server. If you have a lot of html files already written, you would probably only need to change the names in one of two cases:

1. Two or more file names are the same except for upper and lower case. This is ok on Linux but not good on Windows (with default settings). Generally such file names should be avoided so you can easily port to any server.

2. Links to some files use different case letters. This is ok for Windows but not good on Linux. These are also wise to avoid.

In general, it is wise to code pages so they work either way, and feel free to choose any hosting compary, regardless of which server OS they use.
outofnicks
I've been a freelance web developer for 6 years and have installed hundreds of various scripts, both PHP and Perl, and the recurring issue I've seeen with many is whether they actually run on a Windows server or not. Some scripts did not, or no support was offered.
I've always used Linux server space so never really thought much about it but that was one thing I remember. Another issue was of file and folder permissions--which Windows doesn't use but which is a major aspect of Unix/Linux systems.
WickedGravity
Not to nitpick, but ASP is a Windows scripting language. It is possible to run it on a Unix box of course, but it is not native.
JayBee
I'd like to choose Linux, but I'am familiar with linux and I like it. I think you are Windows user. You can have some problems with Linux server. If you want to use pure HTML or "boxed" solutions, both OSs are greate for you.
qscomputing
Well I would say go for Linux. Most Linux hosts are cheaper than the equivalent Windows host, seeing as the cost of obtaining the OS is much lower. Linux servers will probably be more reliable too.

The question is, would you rather your site be on a full server OS that just happens to work as a desktop as well (ie Linux) or a notoriously unstable desktop OS with some server features bolted on as an afterthought (ie Windows)?
JayBee
qscomputing wrote:
The question is, would you rather your site be on a full server OS that just happens to work as a desktop as well (ie Linux) or a notoriously unstable desktop OS with some server features bolted on as an afterthought (ie Windows)?


Partly. Windows are not so bad. If you have server with Debian "testing" or with Gentoo "~x86". You are in the same hell. I know that hostings.


Additionally, I don't like pose: "Linux is super tux and windows is shit." It depends on who are you and what you want to do.
qscomputing
JayBee wrote:
Partly. Windows are not so bad. If you have server with Debian "testing" or with Gentoo "~x86". You are in the same hell. I know that hostings.

I was assuming that no sensible host would be using a bleeding-edge distro, but if they exist then no doubt they will be unstable.

JayBee wrote:
Additionally, I don't like pose: "Linux is super tux and windows is shit." It depends on who are you and what you want to do.

That is true. My apologies if I appeared overly biased.
infobankr
Both Windows and linux (and Solaris and bsds) can be used as production servers. The important thing is your administrator's experience. If they (or you) are more familiar with one platform over the others, go with that one.

You can run Apache (a great webserver imho) on any platform, but IIS will only run on Windows, and as someone mentioned, ASP is native on IIS.

I am definitely biased towards Apache and the entire open source movement, and highly recommend using it if you can. Linux rules! Smile
mOrpheuS
Captain Fertile wrote:
Anyway, most hosts offer Linux or Windows Hosting but don’t seem to really explain which you should choose and why.

I am thinking maybe the file naming conventions I use (some of my html file names are long) may be an issue for Linux servers and the quite simple PHP I will use for feedback forms may be an issue for windows servers. But I am not sure if this is the case.

So what is the difference and what should I consider before choosing?

Could anyone please answer thisi n full or point me to somewhere that does?

Many thanks guys and gals.

Typically people consider Windows hosting only if they have a custom developed corporate web application to host. (Such things invariably end up being written in ASP or ASP.NET, often with MSSQL backend).
That's precisely the reason why Windows hosting is often "enterprise class" and accordingly priced.

For an individual hobbyist webmaster, Linux should normally be suitable.

There are also minor technical differences as others have pointed out - but nothing that stops one from doing something on either platform.
simplyw00x
Filenames
As mentioned, linux file-systems are generally case-sensitive - many web applications are (improperly) designed to assume this, and you may find errors in rare cases.

Remote management
Even Frihost's fairly locked-down servers (running linux) have the standard unix tools (ls, cat, rsync, ssh, etc.) installed, and this makes remote management a breeze even through silly PHP shells.

PHP
...runs better on linux. php.net's function reference often mentions cases in which the windows version has odd bugs.

Web software
Some things like PHPBB like having standard unix programs like sendmail, gzip etc. available, and setting them up to use windows equivalents is difficult/impossible.
xbcd
i always thought most people only choose windows specifically if they had a site created using ASP. If they were not using ASP then it came down to price. As far as case sensitivity, you can setup apache to not worry about case so THISsite.cOm and thissite.com are the same. But that is just a personal oppinion. Also as a web developer you should know to use lowercase all the time. Most good and professional devs do it with out even thinking. I personally run a windows web server in my house because my server is used to rip my dvd collection to the harddrive in xvid format and i can't do it on the fly in linux. I use anydvd to decrypt the files on the fly. However i use linux for my main OS because of how it manages users, permissions, and ram.
qscomputing
THISsite.cOm and thissite.com are always the same: the domain name system is case-insensitive. It's what comes after the domain that can be case-sensitive. HTH.
simplyw00x
Quote:
It's what comes after the domain that can be case-sensitive.

That isn't usually the problem; people aren't generally accustomed to typing in names of pages, so the difference between http://somesite.com/index.htm and http://somesite.com/InDeX.hTm won't be apparent for them. Where it matters is in your PHP coding and your links, and lack of case-sensitivity is just an excuse for laziness and will make your work entirely non-portable. So use a linux server. End of.
icedrakon
Linux: good achitecture, fast yet hard to manupale, free.
Windows : easy to use, bad achitecure, not free, for the average user...
simplyw00x
Quote:
for the average user...

The average user isn't making a website, and if they are they sure as hell don't care what OS it is. And cost isn't an issue when it's someone else paying. Did you even read the post? Or even the title of this thread?
qscomputing
Of course cost is an issue - the price of the platform (OS, hardware, maintenance, etc) is reflected in the price of the hosting.
simplyw00x
Quote:
the price of the platform (OS, hardware, maintenance, etc) is reflected in the price of the hosting.

Yes, and the OS cost of this is utterly minimal compared to hardware, maintenance and data centre costs.
icedrakon
The entire internet stucture today is based on the apache server more than 50% of the internet today is on linux. The reason is that unix and linux architecture is for network based than the IIS of Microsoft>
Linux is more secure becouse of the hundreds or more programmers that working securing the core and applications so today internet is based on Linux
apache server not on IIS.
qscomputing
Linux (and all Unices) are built from the ground up to be networking OSs. Windows has a TCP/IP stack poorly shoved on top (and they took it from BSD as well).
That alone should tell you which makes the better server. Smile
xbcd
linux because unless you have a asp site you get no benifit. You can setup apache in linux to be case inisensitive if you want and sendmail and gzip are used my tons of web scripts and conten management systems and setting it up in windows is a weee bit more difficult than linux.
simplyw00x
On a related note, why the hell does frihost no longer let one use many of linux's handy programs via PHP system()? Of course it's a security hole in the wrong hands but PHP itself is an hole anyway, so...
Arnie
Don't overly focus on whether a host has Windows or Linux. It's not that important. Johanfh mentioned the most important differences AFAIK (although I think Linux supports CHMOD over FTP but Windows doesn't?)

Just go for the best host you can get for your buck. Whether that be Windows or Linux, I think there are more important things to consider. The question is only relevant when you're going to manage the server yourself instead of just use it. FTP, HTTP, PHP, they all work nearly the same for users.
qscomputing
Arnie wrote:
(although I think Linux supports CHMOD over FTP but Windows doesn't?)

chmod over FTP only really makes any sense on systems that have chmod in the first place, ie not Windows.
Arnie
That's right... let me rephrase: Linux supports modifying permissions over FTP.
HollyK
Linux has a great variety of programs that can be used together. Debian itself has 21 cd isos worth of software. One example is ls /usr/person/webpages/ > /usr/person/list.txt . That says 'Take the listing of files at /usr/person/webpages/, then send the output to this file, at /usr/person/list.txt'.
Arnie
Which is totally irrelevant unless
Arnie wrote:
you're going to manage the server yourself instead of just use it.
since what you're suggesting requires shell access, which wouldn't be a common thing to get. Let alone installing Debian packages, which even requires root access. It's not like the Captain wants to run his own server at home!

P.S. Your example "ls" isn't exactly a special program that you can install... it's a basic Linux command that's present on any Linux system.
simplyw00x
Quote:
since what you're suggesting requires shell access, which wouldn't be a common thing to get.

You can easily get shell access if you have php, unless, y'know, the admin disables that feature for no reason at all.
Arnie
Is that a subtle hint towards the Frihost staff, perhaps?
vln004
Captain Fertile wrote:
I am working on my website which can be found here:

www.captainfertile.frih.net

As you will see it is more of a club which I really want to expand rather than a business. But I still want it to be a nice site to be part of.

The main part of my site once it is finally hosted and has a domain will be a forum from which to run my club, I am guessing PHPBB forum as that seems to be the forum of choice these days.

I am looking for hosting that is included a PHPBB as part of the package.

Anyway, most hosts offer Linux or Windows Hosting but don’t seem to really explain which you should choose and why.

I am thinking maybe the file naming conventions I use (some of my html file names are long) may be an issue for Linux servers and the quite simple PHP I will use for feedback forms may be an issue for windows servers. But I am not sure if this is the case.

So what is the difference and what should I consider before choosing?

Could anyone please answer thisi n full or point me to somewhere that does?

Many thanks guys and gals.



i'm not sure if asp.net is available for linux or not (most likely not, so that is a potential problem. Although i don't know anyone who uses that language)

the only other distinction that i can think of off the top of my head would be the enormous cost of a windows license. Linux is free and will always have that going for it.
Arnie
And he doesn't have to pay for that licence because he isn't going to be managing his own server!! The hosting company pays the licence so the only thing for users to care about is:
Quote:
the best host you can get for your buck

I know many of you are infused with the dogmatic reasons why Linux would be a better OS but they don't apply here.
qscomputing
Exactly, you should get the best host you can get for your buck - but I think the question is: what should one look for? Windows or Linux?

IMO, you are more likely to get a good server at a good price on Linux: the license is a lot cheaper (or free) for the server's owner, and that saving is likely to get passed on to the clients. Linux is usually also a lot more stable than Windows. I won't rule out high-uptime on Windows servers, let's just say that you probably need multiple redundant servers and brilliant (ie expensive) sysadmins.

So the point is that Linux is more likely to be a better server at a lower price than Windows.

I assume that because Captain Fertile is asking this question that he isn't interested in the philosophical reasons for choosing Linux...
Arnie
But that eliminates the need to look at Linux or Windows in the first place, because all he has to look at is the price itself.
smpmedia
The company I work with has a multi platform network (MAC OSX, Windows XP and Linux)
The Mac OS X platform is for the designers
The Windows platfrom is for accounts and web development
The Linux requirment is for web development (server testing)

We had a FC5 Linux system up and running (not easy to install when you a want a shared Windows / Linux server) however we had a power failure which cause dteh Linux server to become corrupt
I have since reisntalled FC5 but I am having difficulty getting a SAMBA share service in place
- Issues are user authentication of windows users on the Linux

We have the requirement of windows and Mac users been able to read, edit, writ eto the linix server

Does anyone have eay instructions on how to set this up of FC5?
Arnie
Samba, afaik is setup on every machine the same way, with a configuration file. There are many manuals to be found via Google. E.g. http://www.samba.netfirms.com/sambconf.htm
vln004
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/pricing.mspx


look here for prices of window server 2003


now go download ubuntu server for free.


k thnkx bye
Arnie
No, please don't. If you take Linux as a server, Ubantu is the wrong choice. It's based on Debian but with added hype and reduced stability. However, for servers there's even less reason to take a half-stable, hyped distribution than for desktop use. Debian is tested much, much more thoroughly than Ubantu, so you're a lot better off with it.

And.......... this topic starter isn't even intending to install his own server. He just wants to rent one!
vln004
Arnie wrote:
No, please don't. If you take Linux as a server, Ubantu is the wrong choice. It's based on Debian but with added hype and reduced stability. However, for servers there's even less reason to take a half-stable, hyped distribution than for desktop use. Debian is tested much, much more thoroughly than Ubantu, so you're a lot better off with it.

And.......... this topic starter isn't even intending to install his own server. He just wants to rent one!



i didn't mean litterally go out and get ubuntu for to set up a stable server. Ubuntu server is most bleeding edge (mysql 5, php 5, etc) and debian is without a doubt very stable. I merely chose ubuntu because that was the first name that poped into my head. another good choice would be fedora 7.

btw, ubuntu desktop owns debian. PERIOD.
fadirocks
So far I have/had frihost, godaddy, dotgeek, canaca

what frihost has Direct Admin
canaca has CPanel
godaddy has its own junk (i hate)

so far I can't be more happier than CPanel, it's not perfect but it's great also with any host service with umm DirectAdmin i would take because it will help you out setting up files without need to know how to SSH or FTP things ...etc

but I would always go with linux but that's what I'm familiar with if I decided to SSH, SFTP, ..etc
turbowolf
I think Unix/Linux is the best choice for a web server.

Windows depends on GUI so it's hard to configure in a long distance. On the other side, Unix/Linux doesn't depends on GUI so it's suitable to configure in a long distance. Furthermore, web server like apache is more stable in Unix/Linux environment rather than in Windows.

Captain Fertile wrote:
I am working on my website which can be found here:

www.captainfertile.frih.net

As you will see it is more of a club which I really want to expand rather than a business. But I still want it to be a nice site to be part of.

The main part of my site once it is finally hosted and has a domain will be a forum from which to run my club, I am guessing PHPBB forum as that seems to be the forum of choice these days.

I am looking for hosting that is included a PHPBB as part of the package.

Anyway, most hosts offer Linux or Windows Hosting but don’t seem to really explain which you should choose and why.

I am thinking maybe the file naming conventions I use (some of my html file names are long) may be an issue for Linux servers and the quite simple PHP I will use for feedback forms may be an issue for windows servers. But I am not sure if this is the case.

So what is the difference and what should I consider before choosing?

Could anyone please answer thisi n full or point me to somewhere that does?

Many thanks guys and gals.
infobankr
You might want to checkout linux, php and punbb - I'm a huge fan of linux and php, and just found punbb. Very fast and lightweight, with good features too, like displaying only new messages.
Arno v. Lumig
vln004 wrote:
Arnie wrote:
No, please don't. If you take Linux as a server, Ubantu is the wrong choice. It's based on Debian but with added hype and reduced stability. However, for servers there's even less reason to take a half-stable, hyped distribution than for desktop use. Debian is tested much, much more thoroughly than Ubantu, so you're a lot better off with it.

And.......... this topic starter isn't even intending to install his own server. He just wants to rent one!



i didn't mean litterally go out and get ubuntu for to set up a stable server. Ubuntu server is most bleeding edge (mysql 5, php 5, etc) and debian is without a doubt very stable. I merely chose ubuntu because that was the first name that poped into my head. another good choice would be fedora 7.

btw, ubuntu desktop owns debian. PERIOD.


You don't want the bleeding edge on a server -.- You want thoroughly tested and stable software on your sever.
Ubuntu desktop doesn't own debian. Debian is faster and more stable, and has less pathetic configuration tools that are worthless anyway. (Please, get that network manager thing out of my screen. I don't use a damn laptop!).
There is NOTHING ubuntu can do that Debian can't. Nothing.
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