Whether you are running your own business or just trying to get more out of your home network, a dedicated server can be a big help. Having a dedicated server makes it easier for your customers to find the information they need, without the hassles or slowdowns so common with shared hosting arrangements.
A dedicated server also puts you in total control of your data, enhancing security and making upgrades easier and more effective. Shared hosting can be a good interim solution for small firms, but many companies find that they need the freedom and flexibility of a dedicated server when they start growing and taking on more clients.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux and Microsoft
Buying a dedicated server is no small decision, and it is important to consider a number of factors before making the purchase. One of the most important consideration is whether to buy a dedicated server that runs on Linux or choose one that uses the Microsoft operating system. Both platforms have their advantages and drawbacks, so it is important to consider each option carefully.
The Value of Experience
One of the most important considerations when choosing between Linux and Microsoft is the level of experience you and your staff have with each system. If your experience is all on the Microsoft side, it would make sense to stick with that platform rather than try to learn a whole new system on the fly. If your IT staff are Linux devotees, a Linux-based dedicated server might be the better option.
The availability of local support is another important factor when choosing a dedicated server platform. Many small companies outsource their tech support to third-party firms, and it is important to look at the firm you use and where their expertise lies. Getting tech support can be hard enough – getting tech support for an unfamiliar system in an emergency can be a real nightmare.
Advantages of Windows-Based Dedicated Servers
The Windows operating system is ubiquitous, and that means that there are literally thousands of off-the-shelf programs available for it. The wide availability of applications can make it easier to get what you need from your dedicated web server.
In addition to those advantages, Windows-based servers have a number of other benefits, including:
Easy testing for web applications using ASP or ASP.net. Many such applications are built using Microsoft SQL or Access, which will not be available on a Linux-based system.
Support for websites built using PHP and MySQL. A Microsoft-based system gives you the ability to test web apps no matter which scripting language was used in their creation.
Seamless remote access to the server. Microsoft provides full remote access with an easy to use GUI, allowing even non-tech savvy business owners to check on the system from home, from the local coffee shop or even while on vacation.
Advantages of a Linux-Based Dedicated Server
Linux has some important advantages of its own, and many businesses have been successfully using Linux-based servers for many years. Before you go shopping for a Microsoft-based dedicated server, consider the benefits of a Linux-based system.
Linux is open-source. Linux is an open-source system, meaning that business owners do not have to pay a license fee to use it. Those cost savings can be a deciding factor, especially for startup companies.
Linux requires fewer system resources than Windows. Linux is much less resource-intensive than Windows, meaning that it can run on older (and cheaper) hardware. That can enhance the cost savings of the system and save business owners even more money.
MySQL and PHP tend to perform more efficiently in the Linux environment. These platforms are popular in the business world, and running them on Linux can make them more stable and easier to use.
The Bottom Line
Both Linux and Windows-based dedicated servers have their advantages, and their place in the business world. There is no one right choice for every business, and every company will have a different list of criteria to consider when shopping for a new server. From the initial cost of the hardware and the ongoing license fees to the types of applications that will be hosted, there are a number of factors to consider before making such an important purchase.
In the end, it is important to look at your dedicated server as an integral part of your business – not just another piece of hardware. Looking at how the new server will fit into – and enhance – your existing business is one of the best ways to decide whether a Linux or Windows-based system is right for you.