By Ravi Chamria

Any person interested in publishing any data on the Internet requires Web Hosting. Web hosting has been around for several years now and has evolved from simple HTML pages hosting, small simple sites with a few images into full blown web based hosted applications where end users can visit a site, interact with the web site owner, and even purchase goods and services all over the internet.

The use of Internet as a medium for integrating business across the globe with the help of Web Based software applications has produced wide range of web based technologies like ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, and others. This choice has forced various options for web hosting now as HTML based sites work equally well on both Linux and Windows platforms.

Web hosting platforms vary from different types of operating systems. Microsoft Windows Server and Redhat Linux are just two examples and probably the most well known web hosting platforms. So, what is Windows or Linux web hosting and what are the advantages and disadvantages to hosting your web site on either Server. And why now Linux is gaining more popularity. Well, that’s just the answer isn’t it?

Linux platform has been developed by Community based efforts and it has been rendered for professional use with the efforts of many IT companies like Red Hat, Suse, Mandrake, and like. This background of Community development and open source nature of Linux Server and backup of professional IT companies has made Linux platform more powerful, inexpensive and secured.

The cost effectiveness in this competitive era is a major boost that the companies required without compromising on the quality and security of the product. Apart from ASP, ASP.NET, all other major web based technologies work well with Linux. The virtually free distribution of PHP, MySQL, PERL has reduced the costs of the website hosting tremendously on Linux Server. At Sakshay, we provide both kind of hosting services but the advice to companies requiring Hosting for HTML based websites, small applications like Recipe site is to use Linux Hosting.

The menace of viruses, spamming and hacking is also quite less with Linux Hosting. Firstly, this is due to the robust architecture of Linux Server and Secondly, due to many cost effective softwares available for protection on Linux Platform.

The following are the advantages of using Linux based web server compared to Windows based web server:

Stable and Robust: Linux/Unix operating systems has traditionally been believed to be very stable and robust. A web site housed on a Linux operating system will have very high up-time (of the order of 99.9%). Of course, other factors such as power supply, network admin skills, and network load etc. also matter when it comes to maintaining the system uptime.

Low cost of ownership: The Linux OS comes free of cost (or at very insignificant cost, usually cost of distribution). Also, it has full fledged server, and desk top applications that comes free along with the OS. These server applications (such as FTP, Web Server, DNS Server, File Server etc.) being free, are also very stable.

User Friendly: When it comes to web hosting, it is easy to host on Linux web servers. The process of uploading and hosting is almost same for both Linux and Windows web servers. If you want to use a Windows based tool such as Front Page for uploading a web site on to a Linux based web server, make sure that the Front Page extensions are enabled. This is only required if you are uploading using HTTP feature (http://www.yourwebsite.com) of Front Page. Front Page also makes it possible to upload a web site using FTP. You need to select [ftp://www.yourwebsite.com] for up loading using front page FTP option. Note that if you select “Front Page Extensions”; during web site design, you must enable Front Page extensions on a Linux web server also. These days, all Linux web servers are coming with installable Front Page extensions, and this should pose no problem for hosting on a Linux platform. You can use almost all types of file extensions (or scripts) when using Linux web server. Commonly, the following extensions are supported: .cgi, .html, .htm, .pl, .php, .shtml, .xml, and others. Basically it means that you can host web sites that use different types of server side scripts including .cgi, .pl, .php, and .asp (with plug-in).

Easy to move between hosts: A web site designed to be hosted on a Linux based web server can be hosted on a Windows web server easily, where as the reverse is not always true.

Most widely used: Linux/Unix based web hosting is most widely used compared to Windows based web hosting.

Scalability: Scalability and future expansion are other major criteria to consider while hosting an application. A web site is dynamic. Usually, a web site starts with a few pages of html and grows over a period of time to suit the customers requirements. It is preferable to design a web site keeping this requirements in mind. A web site designed for compatibility with a Linux/Unix based web server meets the scalability requirement easily without making any site wide design changes.

Self Management of your website on a Linux Web Hosting Plan with Sakshay hosting is made very easy with our Implementation of the Award Winning Control Panel software by Sw-Soft called Plesk. Plesk is a web based interface to your Linux web hosting account that allows you to create e-mail addresses and mailboxes, view your web site traffic statistics, set permissions on your HTML, PHP pages, MySQL, and more. We also provide Windows Hosting with Plesk Panel.

So, all kudos to Linux and open source technologies for making the technology affordable and within the reach of common man.

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Dr Ravi Chamria is the CEO, Sakshay Infosystems Pvt Ltd. He can be contacted at ravi@sakshay.net or you may visit [http://www.articlesworld.com]

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