The Essential Guide to Linux Web Hosting

It’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve encountered Linux in your search for a web host. In fact we know you have because Linux plays a huge role in Internet infrastructure.

Linux is an operating system, an OS as it’s often referred to. An operating system is a group of programs that manage all activities on the computer. It is essentially what lurks underneath the hood running the show, much like a car engine. Without an operating system, your computer is just a box of, well, stuff.

Linux is one of the most popular operating systems out there. As an operating system, Linux is offers users a long list of perks. It’s inexpensive to install, easy to maintain, and a powerful alternative to the Windows operating system. In addition to being cost efficient and easy to install, Linux is just as well supported as Windows and can also run Windows applications if needed. Linux web hosting is a type of web hosting which runs on the Linux operating system. Linux web hosting is a popular choice for powering websites. It is affordable, fast, flexible, and secure, and has its own software repository.

You know you want to start a website, you keep seeing “Linux” pop up in your search results, but you still are not sure if it is right for you. Don’t worry, you have come to the right place. To get started, ask yourself these questions:

Linux is pronounced “lih-nix”. Ubuntu is pronounced “oo-boon-too”.

  1. Are you a beginner creating a personal blog and would like to run it on WordPress or another CMS?
  2. Are you an HTML master, and have already written your website from scratch?
  3. Are you starting a small e-commerce site?
  4. Are you already familiar with, or have at least heard of, cPanel and WHM?
  5. Do you want to have options in regards to what kind of software, script languages, etc. that you can use?
  6. Are you looking to connect with others on a specific subject by starting a forum?
  7. Are you looking to save money?

If you answered yes to even two of these questions, Linux may be your preferred option for your hosting needs. In this article, we have compiled all the information and resources that you could possibly need to help you learn more about Linux web hosting.

What Web Hosts Do We Suggest?

The following providers are well-known companies in the hosting industry and offer great service at a great price. On a personal note, here’s where you can help us out – we work with these hosts and collect a small marketing fee when they get new sign ups from us. You get cheap hosting, and we get to keep things running here, providing free content and information to visitors like you.

Web Host Location Plans Starting At Coupons
BlueHostBluehost re-introduced the cloud to make it safer, faster, simpler, and bigger. Their Cloud Hosting automatically mirrors your data across three different devices. Bluehost also offers equally secure Shared, Dedicated, Reseller, and VPS Hosting plans. Many of these plans come with 100 or more email accounts and 24/7 support, as well as optional add-ons like spam protection, SSL certificates, and SiteLock.Orem, UT Monthly: $2.95
63% off all shared hosting plans
HostGatorHostGator takes pride in making web hosting easy for their clients with 24/7/365 support, 99.9% uptime, and 45-day money back guarantee. They offer a myriad of hosting packages, and can transfer websites and domains easily for those who are dissatisfied with another web host provider. Just ask HostGator’s “Migrations Team” to see if you qualify for free cPanel and website transfers.Houston, TX Monthly: $2.78
Up to 60% off shared hosting plans with the code ‘WHDB’
GreenGeeksGreenGeeks is, you guessed it, a green and clean web hosting provider with a 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer support. Many of GreenGeek’s web hosting plans are all-inclusive, meaning that they come with unlimited web space, data transfers, and domains. GreenGeeks’ plans can also include free marketing tools, free website and domain transfers, and so much more. Agoura Hills, CA Monthly: $3.95
60% off shared hosting plans with the code ‘take60off’

Linux-HostingLinux is the most popular operating system used by Web hosting providers. Why? Linux offers an amazing diversity of choices, can be customized by the host, and works on over 70% of webservers worldwide. Small business tend to favor Linux hosting over Windows hosting because it’s affordable, more powerful, and has a variety of easy-to-use apps. Other reasons why hosts choose Linux include:

  • Advanced Security: Linux is known for its robust, built-in security features.
  • Basic Plans: Provides users with a variety of basic plans encompassing FTP access, Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripting, MySQL services, email services and ssh access.
  • Fewer Bugs: Linux is known for its low susceptibility to virus and malware infestation.
  • Simple Administration: Offers easy one-click software installation without using other software tools.
  • Technical Support: Linux is known for its reliable technical support services.
  • Less Expensive: Charges far less in terms of setup, software, and monthly operating costs making it a most preferred solution.

Why is Linux less expensive? Linux is a free open source system; which means web hosting service providers do not need to pay licensing fees for using Linux as their hosting servers’ operating system. This lowers the the cost for this type of web hosting service.

Many hosting companies also support and invest in Linux. These investments have made Linux a very viable operating system and gives hosting providers an opportunity to focus their efforts on that one platform, greatly improving tech support and customer satisfaction.

The Linux Foundation offers a certification program to help developers and admins become Linux experts, improving the user experience with highly trained IT staff.

Linux vs Windows Hosting – What’s the Difference?

Should you choose a Linux or a Windows web hosting package? Linux and Windows are two different types of operating systems, and knowing the differences is important when choosing a web hosting plan.

Linux and Windows use different script and database languages. If you know in advance you’ll need specific Windows applications, a Windows hosting package is the way to go and vice versa. In short, the type of files and functionalities you expect to use as an Web administrator will determine if Windows or Linux is right for you.

BOTH platforms use HTML files and read them in the same way. So if you have a static website which is made of HTML and CSS, you can host your site on either a Linux or a Windows platform. Bottom line, which hosting service you choose? If you use PHP and MySQL for your website, Linux is the way to go. If your website using scripts like, ASP, SQL or Access, Windows is your best bet.

If you’re still unsure, the chart below outlines the key differences between the two options:

Linux Web Hosting Windows Web Hosting
Which control panels can I install on my server?
  • cPanel is available on all Linux-based hosting plans, such as Linux Shared, Reseller, VPS and Linux Dedicated Servers
  • WHM (Web Host Manager) is available on Linux Reseller, VPS and Dedicated Servers
  • Plesk is the only control panel that provides Windows support
Which applications can I run on my server?
  • SSH (Secure Socket Shell)
  • Scripts or applications that require specific Apache modules
  • ASP Classic
  • MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server)
  • MS Access (Microsoft Access)
  • Visual Basic Development
  • C#
  • Remote Desktop (dedicated server only)
What are the different distributions of this OS?
  • Ubuntu
  • Red Hat
  • SUSE
  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Oracle
  • Windows Server only has one distribution variant, but several versions are available, like “R2” which stands for simply “Release 2”
How does the server treat file names?
  • On a Linux server, home.html and Home.html are different names.
  • On a Windows server, home.html, Home.html and HOME.HTML are all the same name.

When it comes down to it, what does your website need?

Are Cheap Hosts Dependable?

Since Linux is an operating system, it is largely the same regardless of your host. Price will very rarely affect a host’s ability to offer Linux support or its quality in that regard. However, price can affect other features that impact the performance and potential of your site. Keep in mind when comparing Linux-based to non Linux-based hosting that some applications will require Linux in order to run (or run efficiently).

It is important that the hosting provider meets your standards in other areas like bandwidth, data transfers, storage, uptime, customer service, and so on. The biggest difference between hosting plan price brackets is usually in the other features that they offer. If you are looking for eCommerce or other business features, you may have to pay a bit more. With a basic site or blog, you can likely save money on your hosting plan while receiving the same dependability and Linux OS as you would with many other hosting plans.

Tutorials and Guides for Linux Users

There’s a lot of information on the Web about Linux hosting and how to use it, which is why we’ve sorted through many of those resources for you. You can click on the links below to jump to a detailed list of resources to help you find the support you need.

How to Get Started with Linux Hosting

These helpful resources cover everything you need to get started with your Linux hosting pacakge.

How to Use cPanel with Linux Hosting

CPanel is a Linux-based administrative control panel that offers an easy to use interface and automation tools. Below are a few handy resources to help you install and configure cPanel on your Linux hosting server.

Linux vs. Windows Hosting

By far the most common question about Linux hosting is whether to opt for Linux or Windows technology. To help you make the right decision, we’ve created a list of resources with helpful advice and recommendations as to which choice better suits your needs.

Linux Support Resources

Good technical support is essential and not always easy to come by so you’ll want to bookmark these pages below.