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I'm not very familiar with server hosting but I wanted to get a better understanding of what the differences are between the Windows server setup and Linux. I do understand that Linux is free whereas Windows, you have to pay. Or I might be wrong.

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closed as not constructive by Zoredache, RobM, sysadmin1138, Zypher Oct 7 '10 at 20:55

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This has been rehashed constantly for years now, and I don't see that it needs to be done again. – RobM Oct 7 '10 at 20:51

The biggest determiners for OS should be

  1. Do your intended applications have requirements for OS? Are they better supported on one or the other?
  2. Do your intended administrators have more skill with one OS over the other?

Windows is rarely low-cost for purchasing unless you're a nonprofit. Linux can be free or low-cost, or can be as expensive as Windows, depending on distribution and level of support you want to buy. Windows can be cheaper to administer, but that's a very complicated topic so let's just leave it at a very general statement :-)

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Are you referring to hosting web applications or something similar? It all depends on what your needs are. Sure you can host PHP code under Windows (why i dont know) but folks would prefer Linux over WAMP. ;-)

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For me :

Linux is Free (depending of the distribution), more open, more flexible.

Windows is more unified (.NET Everywhere), integrated (Active Directory / Exchange everywhere), and you can get almost everything from Microsoft.

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Server hosting, such as Virtual Private Servers (VPS), or shared hosting on Windows as a platform, will almost always be more expensive than the equivalent on Linux simply because of the licensing costs.

Beyond that, it really depends on what you're doing with your server hosting: are you running a Web application? What language/platform do you prefer? Are you running commercial applications that require Windows?

Linux is usually considered "more secure" than Windows by default because of the smaller footprint and the majority of zero-day exploits in the wild target Windows directly or indirectly, but a) the gap is closing with Windows 2008 (especially Core) b) in the case of Web applications, a cross-site scripting or SQL injection vulnerability in a popular Web application is 99% of the time applicable to any platform.

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