Unless you're a graphics design shop, you most likely use Windows as your main operating system with your workstations. Windows has a tight grip on the workstation and consumer market, but the line is skewed towards Unix-based operating systems, which includes Linux, for servers. W3Techs reports that 66.4 percent of the server market belongs to Unix-based operating systems, of which Linux makes up 47.2 percent. Both Windows and Linux have unique features, advantages and disadvantages that require careful consideration before you throw your lot into a specific operating system for your business.
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One of the primary factors in choosing between a Windows or Linux server comes down to the price. ZDnet reports that the lower total cost of ownership with a Linux server, along with lower system requirements for the hardware, helps small businesses who don't have a lot of extra budgeting room for their IT needs. Most Linux OS distributions are free of charge, so you don't deal with licensing fees with Linux. Windows server hosting and other web hosts who offer Windows servers do have to pay a licensing fee to make the operating system available.
Linux's open source nature means there's a great deal of community involvement from the developers and users, but that doesn't always translate into a source of support you can quickly get help with. If you want structured support in place, Windows and certain Linux distributions such as Red Hat Linux come out on top. Check into the support options before you decide to go with Linux over Windows.
Windows' consumer and workstation popularity does not help with keeping it safe and secure. Hackers have a lot of experience attacking the Windows operating system, and the fact that there's only a few versions makes it easier for them to work on it. Linux, on the other hand, is both relatively obscure as a desktop OS, and it has many distributions that have plenty of variations — viruses that work on one won't necessarily work on the other. The way that Linux handles user permissions also makes it easier to keep things locked down in the event of malicious code, since you have to specifically grant users admin powers instead of having them receive the power automatically.
Windows has a great deal more flexibility on the compatibility front than Linux does, and you can also only run certain technology on Windows server, such as ASP.NET, a free web framework for building sites, according to Jaguar PC. Linux-specific technology — such as PHP and MySQL — also have ways of running on Windows, so if you're looking for the most flexibility, you want a Windows-based server. Look at the types of application and application development you want to pursue for your small business, and choose the option that works best for your present and future needs.