One of the most important choices you’ll have to make when you choose to move from a shared hosting solution to a VPS is what kind of operating system will provide you with the most benefit – Linux or Windows. Depending on the server provider you choose, you may be able to install whatever OS you prefer, or you may be bound to use the same OS as the host. Both types of operating systems offer a number of benefits for an SMB, but which one is right for your business?
Benefits of a Windows VPS
Windows VPS servers are not as populous as Linux, in part because of the proprietary nature of Windows as a Microsoft product. As a result, Windows VPS servers tend to be used for more specialized tasks, and while they will come with a higher price tag, they will also come with a broader base of support, and more regular updates. Most Windows servers currently run on Windows Server 2008 R2, in combination with Windows Hyper-V, a hypervisor that functions as hardware and allows the server to manage the resources being used in real-time. There are number of advantages that a Windows-based server can offer you over a similar Linux solution, starting with more robust support for ASP and ASP.NET, which can be especially useful for Web developers. In addition, Windows VPS solutions will come with support for the Microsoft SQL or Microsoft Access database. Microsoft SQL Standard or Enterprise will require a separate licensing fee, however. Another benefit to a Windows virtual private server is the ability to remotely access your desktop through an easy to configure GUI that will let you manage tasks even when you are not at your computer.
Benefits of a Linux VPS
A Linux VPS can also offer your business a wide range of benefits, starting with the many types or “flavors” of the OS that are available. Linux as a whole is an open-source OS, which means that it is constantly being changed and modified by users, and does not come with as large a cost as a Windows server, simply because the cost for you to use Linux is much lower – and often free. Different types of Linux will offer different features; some will have easy-to-use GUIs, while others include strong communities that are constantly releasing updates for their work. Linux VPS servers are also known as more reliable, in part because so many VPS providers use them, and can often provide a greater amount of uptime for end users. Another feature of Linux not found in a Windows VPS is secure shell (SSH) access, which will allow you to direct access to the control panel of your VPS, and allow you to control all of its functions. This SSH access is text-based only, meaning it will require a higher level of knowledge to use, but can give you a great deal of power from anywhere you log on.
Making the Choice
There is no clear-cut winner in the fight for VPS supremacy, and which OS you choose will depend in large part on the needs of your business. If you’re looking for a server that can offer you dedicated access to resources and support for ASP.NET, then a Windows VPS may be your best choice. If you need to manage your IT on a tighter budget and want an OS you have more control over and greater access to remotely, then you may want to consider the use of a Linux VPS to get the most value for your dollar.