With the importance of a high-quality software system in mind, deciding between Linux and Microsoft Windows’ options for your home server can be a tough decision. Declutter your mental space by attempting to make the most informed decision possible.
When comparing and contrasting the options, you’ll notice there are many different types of servers on the market. After hours of perusing, choosing the right one can be a daunting process. Furthermore, you need to consider which operating system you’ll be using with your server — and in fact, that should be a key determining factor in your purchasing decision. Should you go with an open-source Linux OS like this, or stick to the widely popular Microsoft Windows OS that dominates the home-computer market?
As millions of American workers transition to remote work, there’s no better time to upgrade your home server, as you can now justify the investment for business and leisure purposes. Below is a comprehensive guide to help you decide the server option apt for you.
Pros and cons of Linux servers
Today, most online servers and data centers are running on a Linux-based operating system. To help you understand how robust Linux is, household-name companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon currently rely on Linux-based server software.
Let’s run through several factors that have led to the widespread use of Linux.
Free and open source
Imagine buying a car and not being able to see what’s under the hood. Unfortunately, when purchasing a Windows-powered system, you’ll encounter similar difficulties. By contrast, Linux (or GNU/Linux) is free and open-source. What does this mean?
In layman’s terms, you can see the source code used to create Linux, allowing the operator to fix bugs, edit features, and check your system’s security. With ready access to the system’s source code, you can monitor the code’s every move.
Stability and reliability
If you’re a Windows user, you’re likely familiar with this phrase: “For these changes to take effect, you have to restart your computer.” With Linux servers, 99 percent of the time, the user doesn’t need to reboot their machine after updating or modifying the software.
Even though Linux isn’t 100 percent foolproof, it’s one of the most secure systems out on the market. Linux employs numerous security mechanisms to secure files from external threats. Other reasons why Linux is the safest option available include the following:
- Linux is highly configurable
- Typically, hackers don’t target Linux as much as Windows
- It’s quite challenging to execute a dangerous file in Linux
- Linux doesn’t give admin access by default
Given Linux’s secure nature, a user generally doesn’t need antivirus software to keep your computer safe.
If control is a priority, Linux is the way to go. Linux allows you to configure the system to behave the way you want. You can customize your server to fit your organization’s changing needs.
Furthermore, Linux presents users with a wide variety of options. If you don’t like a particular Linux distribution, you can install another one that checks-off your requirements.
Linux operating systems are free of charge. Yes, you heard that right. You only pay for the technical support. This cost-free option significantly reduces your IT costs, making it a great budget-friendly option for home servers.
Cons of Linux-based servers
Just like any other system, Linux has a few downsides that you should keep in mind. These include:
- The update process can be complicated
- Technical support isn’t the best
- Several programs aren’t compatible with Linux
You’ll notice that two of these have to do with updates and support, both of which can be solved by partnering with the right support company. As for the last one, incompatibility is an issue with any OS, so you should always consider which programs and software you want to run before settling on an operating system.
Pros and cons of Windows server
The advantages of Linux servers appear compelling, but it’s prudent to consider the advantages of Windows before making your decision. Some of the benefits to consider include the following.
Better technical support
Even though it’s not free, Windows offers more comprehensive technical support than Linux. It’s also nice that support is provided via a centralized company (Microsoft), not a fractured industry like Linux where any company can provide support.
Windows servers come with a Remote Desktop with a graphical user interface, facilitating remote operations. This flexibility isn’t a luxury with Linux, which is command-line based.
Supports numerous third party programs
Most third-party programs are compatible with Windows servers. Yes, there are Linux-based software programs, but they are few and far between compared to Windows.
The downsides of Windows servers
Now, let’s look at the downsides of Windows servers. These include:
- Vulnerability to malware and viruses
- High licensing costs
- Requires powerful machines (resource intensive)
- Frequent server instability (i.e., Windows servers require more frequent rebooting)
- Closed source, making scalability difficult
Choosing the right server isn’t a small feat. You will always face the difficult task of choosing between Linux and Windows servers. While there is a thin line between the two choices, the final choice comes down to what features you are looking for.
If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable, and highly customizable server, you can’t go wrong with a Linux server. For complex, feature-oriented processes with all-round technical support, Windows is the preferable choice.
Ultimately, you can utilize both systems for numerous purposes. However, for most web applications, Linux has a slight edge over Windows due to the previously mentioned cons.