Linux Servers Understand the Difference

Linux vs. Windows Hosting

linux-vs-window-300x225As far as prevalence is concerned Linux system has been considered more secure and robust server than Microsoft to choose. In fact both have their own vulnerabilities, which depend over the administration level. The basic difference is the way you get access to backend. Radically, choosing the operating system type on hosting server lies over consideration of some key points:


Linux and Microsoft WindowsThere are some common features does not matter which platform we select for our hosting site. All web servers are configured to support HTML files and JavaScript. It can also include FrontPage which is an extension and provide a set of capabilities that is utilized by a wider range of software. It can be installed on either a Windows or a Linux server.

Both Microsoft and Linux use FTP to access server but Linux allows telnet and SSH access as well. Linux uses CPanel and WHMCS whereas Microsoft uses Plesk.

Key advantage Comparison:

Linux web hosting is referred as LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) which is widely used by webmasters who prefer a flexible environment. It is an open source which allows another open source such as MySQL. It is based on GNU (General Public License). It is most popular as it is inexpensive. It is known for its security and stability.

On the other hand, Windows hosting is used by webmasters who need to design specific dynamic websites and require scripting language such as ASP or ASP.NET. It is used in web application and XML services. Windows is compatible with ColdFusion which is a script language created by Adobe Systems. With the help of Windows developers can easily integrate COM objects with a combination of IIS and ASP.

Top benefits of Linux hosting:

Linux is beneficial in many ways. As it is an open source platform so that can be modified, improved and distributed to the public. It is more flexible so that it can host e-commerce application, blogging websites and multimedia applications. It is less expensive in nature. Linux is generally easier and simpler to use. It comes with preinstalled software that is ready for modification and extension. Linux was designed to support basic web hosting which means users can install PHP, MySQL and Perl script to maximize website productivity and performance.

Top benefits of Windows:

Windows operating system provides lot of benefits. Dedicated server based on Windows will be an excellent hosting platform for any website. This platform is a good option for the use of Visual Basic and DOT net programming. Microsoft access for database functionality is easy to use in windows hosting servers where in much more options for integration between these two. MySQL Server is used in window web hosting which is used to create websites. Microsoft is also compatible with new technology like php and mysql. Microsoft SQL Server is capable of coping with high loads and load spikes very well meaning that it is ideal for use in a situation where your website receives a large amount of traffic.

Comparison Platform:

Linux and windowsReliability: Linux is more reliable. There are good servers without any downtime. Microsoft Windows 2000 is much more stable and reliable than previous versions.

Functionality: Both have different functions in the technology point of view. The technique which one can use on Linux can’t be use on Windows. For example, under Linux for database driven website, one can choose either PHP/MySQL combination whereas on Windows we can use ASP/MS SQL combination.

Security: Linux is safer because it is open source. Open source programming would be more secure than closed source programming. To install Linux one has to create a unique password which is called “root” access password whereas in Windows there is no need of root password.

Price: Linux is an open source (free) so it is easier to maintain Linux server than Windows server for the same level of reliability.

Comparison Chart
Database Support
* My SQL
* SQL lite
* SQL Server
* MS-Access
* Sql Server
* Sql Compact
Script Support
* Zend Optimizer
* Silverlight
* Drupal
* Joomla
* Magento
* WordPress
* Neucleus
* Drupal
* Joomla
* Umbraco
* WordPress
Data Traffic
Depends on Plan
Depends on Plan

Data TrafficDepends on PlanDepends on Plan

Which one is more secure?

Linux and Windows both have their separate security issues. Both has users of hosting accounts which should periodically change all passwords used for access of server and files. Website account holders should change passwords in the event of any detected threat to their sites or after major modification such as updating a CMS or uploading new software.

Some Common Attacks over Linux:

Unauthorized access: People who shouldn’t use your computer services are able to connect and use them. People outside your company might try to connect to your company or to NFS server.

Denial of service: This cause the service or program to cease functioning or prevent others from making use of the service or program.

Eavesdropping: This is the simplest type of attack. To protect against this type of threat avoid use of broadcast network technologies and enforce the use of data encryption.

Some Common Attacks over windows:

Fake wireless access points: This hack is easier than any other. Anyone using a bit of software and a wireless network card can advertise their computer as an available WAP.

Cookie theft: Browser cookies are wonderful that preserves state when a user navigates a website. Cookie theft has been around since the invention of the web but these days tools make the process as easy as click.

Linux is the platform for the future of computing. More developers and companies are contributing to the advancement of the operating system.

Windows is a proprietary operating system; it has fixed number of web developers and programmers working on improving and extending the code base.


Rajat SudanYeshaswiDeepali Bansal

Web Hosting Server Options

Now after advantages the biggest disadvantage of hosting on own web server is the uptime reliability. If one’s web server get powered down for any reason then his/her website will also get offline. Generally web hosting companies have methods and networks to prevent this failure from affecting one’s website. Also if the system goes down they have a mirror location where one’s site is invigorated and doesn’t experience much downtime. There are several web hosts, which do not practice this method, or any other fault tolerance. One can imagine how worse can happen if a blackout or power outage occurs and his/her web server gets down for hours or even days. It will surely lead to destruction of whole business. There are several hosting companies providing mirror web hosting for a small charge, but there is doubt in their reliability. Thus only experience can make one play safe in hosting business else it’s all on his/her fortune or God.

Hosting one’s own server is not at all a money-saving experience as sometimes it even costs more to host on one’s own server, when one totals the up keep and maintenance. Thus the benefit of hosting one’s own server is usually a better platform for one’s customers, because it is no longer a shared server and it provides the ability to make global changes almost immediately.

Website Hosting – A quick rundown

Website hosting generally means storing information pages at a remote location (servers) from where people can access those pages over the internet. There are plenty of website hosting options and plans available in the market today. Many website hosting plans are offered free of cost and have sponsored advertisements on the hosted web pages. Such plans can be used hosting a personal website or a single page. Businesses and organizations of all sizes usually use enterprise level premium fee based web hosting plans. A typical website hosting cycle would involve the following steps:

– Creating required web pages on the local machine.
– Depending on the platform and programming language in which the pages are created, web space is acquired. For e.g. if the pages are in ASP then Windows based server should be taken, or if the pages are in JSP/PHP, Linux based server must be obtained. However, if the website comprises simple HTML pages then any type of web server would suffice.
– If the requirement of the website demands user interaction and/or some data to be stored then adequate database space should be procured.
– The amount of web hosting space that will be required to host your web pages needs to be determined. Also, it needs to be considered that the web site might grow in future and so adequate arrangements for additional web space need to be made in advance.
– After the DNS of the server location is pointed to the domain name, the locally developed web pages and other relevant files can be transferred to the remote server location using FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

Let us now look at different types of web hosting services.

– Dedicated web hosting – entire web server is owned by a single user and is provided complete rights over it.
– Shared web hosting – many users use the same web server and share the server resources.
– Reseller web hosting – the users can themselves act as web server owners and allow other users to host websites on their own space.
– Managed web hosting – the user owns the web server entirely, however, is given only limited access to resources and configurations.
– Clustered web hosting – same content is hosted on different servers. This aids in effective use of the resources.
Apart from website hosting services, there are many specialized services that cater to file hosting, blog hosting, image hosting, and many others.

Criteria of Choosing an Ideal Web Hosting Company

What can be a criteria to choose a web host? Then the answer is a web host is a service provider that places your web site on a computer which is connected to the internet. The term for this ‘computer’ is called a server. A web hosting provider will typically have a fast connection to the Internet and they may host thousands of web sites on many servers. The web host essentially rents out space to you so that you can get your website up on the world wide web.

The main feature a better web host should contain Control Panel is an interface where you can access your site on the web server, allowing you to set-up and subsequently update and customize your web site. Though cPanel is by far the most popular control panel, some hosting providers customize their own so that they can up-grade and expand it at will.

A vast majority of sites that don’t have tons of graphics, sound and video clips or downloadable files easily fit in 50 MB of disk space. You should always leave yourself some room for growth or check if the host has a bigger plan in case you need to upgrade.

So on this basis you can select a host.

Putting Your Web Site on the Internet

Site hosting on internet is follows by different steps like first you need a web server to put your web site on the internet. Sometimes, owning and maintaining a web server can cost money and it requires someone who knows what they are doing to maintain the server and the web-site.

web host can do this for you. They provide equipment and other technical programs that are required to build a customer a web-site. These hosting companies charge a monthly fee for the service of storing your web site and allowing your web site to be seen on the internet. Within that fee, it allows web-site visitor traffic to flow through their servers so people can view your site on the internet.

The physical web server does not reside at the consumers home or business which means that the web host services are designated as outsourced services.

Many web hosts provide excellent services that really assist individuals and business owners. All the weight of maintaining the host servers and application fall on the hosting company and not the individual and as a business owner, this is great because there are so many technical routines that you have to do daily to maintain a server. Through these steps you can host your site.

Personal Web Hosting – Free Or Cheap?

If you are planning for self site hosting then you should have to check whether it is right or wrong so when coming to web hosting, many face the dilemma of choosing between free or paid web hosting. Although the costs associated with paid web hosting is rather small, it’s still money.

Out of free space some of them even offer POP3 for your e-mail address on their web site or FTP access to your files on the web site. So it looks like all this is building up to become quite an alternative to spending dear money for almost the same thing.

paid web hosting gives some more space, quite a few more features and all that, but do you need them anyway? You probably just need a web server that can feed .HTML and maybe some simple java scripts to your visitor.

A more careful look at the matter is likely to make the right decision easier to take. As a matter of fact, depending on the objectives trusted to your personal web site, the decision between free or cheap almost dictates itself. You should also keep in mind that you actually trusting your virtual image to the web host.

Advantages and Disadvantages of dedicated web server

Advantages of Dedicated Web server

  1. The client has full authority and independence to access to the server.He can store or remove any software or language pack over it.
  2. Dedicated servers provide higher reliability, increased performance, greater security and exclusive use of the server, system and network resources to the client.
  3. Good for those who have large business requirements and have large amount of traffic.Also for those who need to open their servers for 24 hours in a day.
  4. These servers are capable of hosting multiple websites or domains.
  5. Powerful database support. The client has full access of database on this type of server.
  6. Strong software support. The client can install or upgrade any type of support on the server according to their need.

Disadvantages of Dedicated Web server:

  1. Dedicated servers are very costly among all types of web hosting services.
  2. Requires skilled persons to tackle the dedicated server.
  3. The server is the property of the service provider. The only thing that the company owns is the data.
  4. you do not have the option to change the host even if you are not satisfied with it.

Advantages of Dedicated Web server

Advantages of Dedicated Web server

  1. The client has full authority and independence to access to the server.He can store or remove any software or language pack over it.
  2. Dedicated servers provide higher reliability, increased performance, greater security and exclusive use of the server, system and network resources to the client.
  3. Good for those who have large business requirements and have large amount of traffic.Also for those who need to open their servers for 24 hours in a day.
  4. These servers are capable of hosting multiple websites or domains.
  5. Powerful database support. The client has full access of database on this type of server.
  6. Strong software support. The client can install or upgrade any type of support on the server according to their need.

Disadvantages of Dedicated Web server:

  1. Dedicated servers are very costly among all types of web hosting services.
  2. Requires skilled persons to tackle the dedicated server.
  3. The server is the property of the service provider. The only thing that the company owns is the data.
  4. you do not have the option to change the host even if you are not satisfied with it.

Difference between dedicated and virtual hosting

A dedicated server is a web sever that stores files just for your own website. You have full access to the server and you need not to share your resources with have full access to shell and command line modes and can install any software programs and applications that you wish. Dedicated servers tend to cost more money because you will not be be splitting the server costs with anyone else. Unless you really have a big web site that needs a lot of disk space and bandwidth don’t go the dedicated server .
A virtual server (also called shared hosting) is a web server that you share with other users. The web server will contain your website’s files and also the website files of all of the web hosts other customers. You could share a web server with any number of other customers so it will not cost a lot of money. A dedicated server is good for websites which are just starting out. You should also know that what others who are on the same server as you do can affect your website. For example, a customer may install a script that will affect the servers performance or in a bad instance the script installed by a user can shut the server down which in turn can shut your web site down.

Linux Dedicated Servers

Linux servers are manufactured to counter high demand of application such as database management, web services and network administration and system administration. Linux servers are more preferred due to its reliability, flexibility and stability. A major part of the IT market is relying over Linux platform. Linux servers now covers 16.8 % of all server revenue; up by 2.5 points over 2009.Linux server market revenue grew 30% to $1.8 billion when compared with second quarter of 2009.It share 16.8 % part of revenue grossed by all servers.

Hardening Linux servers :

A proper procedure and policy is required to maintain a secure computing environment where unauthorized access could be prevented .For making security risks should be assessed. While open source does not hide o/s inner working, but security is the core part of Linux kernel.

Linux servers are secured by External firewalls, SSH hardening and internal privilege hardening. Further some of measures can be applied that are as following:-

  • Use PAM to make user control secure. Strong password and authentication controls are critical for host with high number of shell user.
  • SELinux should be used while it is complex to configure but it strengthens more granular control.
  • You should prevent advancement of tools if there is large no. of shell user.
  • Centralized log monitoring system should be arranged and alert must be put over more critical and important log messages.SEC or Swatch like tool should be used.

ShellShock Flaw :

ShellShock Flaw has collected huge media coverage over the time. ShellShock Flaw allows invader to execute bash commands on unauthorized and unauthenticated host. It is basically a mass of vulnerabilities. The risk depends upon how bash interprets environment variables. The systems using Bash Scripts are at the higher risk .Some measures are taken to protect form Shellshock flaw are:-

  • Defense in depth should be incorporated for systems that are using bash scripts.
  • SELinux and APPArmor should be engaged to limit the access of bash to what user is running.

A required attention is brought to Shell scripting security by shellshock. Migration to languages that have been designed keeping security in mind is essential since need for shell script always exists. A new language Shill has been developed by Harvard researchers with a stress over security but there is a long way to go.

Some other common attack vectors are:-

  • Httpd
  • Secure Shell
  • DHClient
  • CUPS
  • Sudo
  • Firefox
  • Postfix

Redhat recently announced its 64 bit ARM architecture designed for datacenters. It has (TDP) thermal design power between 10 and 45watts where as traditional x86 processor has more than 90watts.Direct Server utility bills and data center running cost lowers along with power consumption.

Why Linux?

Linux has been a preferable choice because of its stability feature and better response to concurrent processes. It is able to run over a long period of time without facing any crash. The basic reason of adopting Linux is TCO (total cost of ownership). Moreover all configuration changes can be accomplished without rebooting system thus not effecting irrelevant services. The distributive nature of Linux made it acceptable choice because it does not need any SI (System identifier). In Linux; the systems are distinguished by IP addresses and names. It runs over any machine architecture and unlike its counterparts which completely depends over Intel compatible processors.

Some of the best Linux Distro :

  • Fedora : It was developed around same time as Ubuntu. Fedora 21 is the new release known as fedora next. Fedoras has three releases Workstation, cloud and sever, each one is aimed to specific use-cases.Fedora21 server with its Rolekit tool is now focused over server administration and enable administrator to specify server roles .It leverages open source freelPA identity and authentication application providing secure access. The big tool is Cockpit server management which provides small scale server management.
  • Ubuntu : It is one most prevalent and famous Linux Distro .it is preferable for its user friendliness. Its name is derived from a South African philosophy of ‘universal humanism’. Besides it includes various open source programs like email client thunderbird, web browser Firefox, and Libreoffice. Moreover a user can access more software from Software center Repository.
  • Debian : It is one of original Linux Distro developed almost three decades ago. It is named over its founder Ian Murdock and Debra.
  • Linux Mint : It is less prominent distro and has been forked in its second iteration from earlier release of Ubuntu. The developer behind Linux mint decided to release an alternate version of debian and now supporting various streams for those who wants to incorporate it in different hardware condition. It comes with Many of software which will be needed out of the box despite of being less dominant than its industry rivals.
  • OpenSuse : OpenSuse was based off a German acronym Suse (Software and system evolution).The project was developed by the US firm Novell for allowing to work over its development by them who are outside the firm. It offers high configurable feature, huge scope of customization and YAST a tool for the control of entire operating system from single program.

There are many organizations who advocate for Linux adoption. In May 2014, W3techs surmised that 67.5% of top 10 million website run over some form of UNIX whereas Linux is used by 57.2% of website which uses UNIX. The (IFOSSF) international free and open source foundation has decided to accelerate and promote the adoption of FOSS (free and open source software) through civil society partnership and research.

Some other are:-

  • Asian Open Source centre (AsiaOSC)
  • Software LivreBrasil (a Brazilian organisation)
  • Free and open source foundation of India and china.
  • IBM with its Linux marketing strategy
  • Linux users group

Oracle has released secure boot version of its linux, which has chain of trust in boot process. When bootloader is loaded by firmware, it checks authentication signature of bootloader with signature key stored in firmware before proceeding.

Linux software developers are striving hard to expand Linux storage and file systems. In recent years flash memory has been evolved as server primary storage and persistent memory is rendering us storage that works at DRAM speed.

  • BTRFS : BTRFS is a copy on write file system that emphasis over fault tolerance and easy administration. It has advantage of handling numerous small size files and huge size files such as 16 EiB, multi-storage device support, and baked in RAID. It has extent based storage system, space-effecting indexing directories, Writable and read only snapshots, separate internal file storage system modules. The BRTFS development team is working over object level stripping and mirroring, compression methods and in band deduplications.
  • CephFS : It is POSIX-compliant file system that utilizes ceph storage cluster to store data. It provides a distributed storage and file system, which relies over resilient and scalable storage model. Some expert says that CephFS is not completely ready yet. Being a distributed system, Ceph FS has to deal with multiple writes from multiple clients. Consequently that results in file lock-in situation.

So, Although Linux has many file system and able to use any kind of storage. Still there is lot of work which is to be done.