The free Linux, apache, mysql and php popularly known as the LAMP setup makes this combination the popular choice as the web hosting platform among many hobbyist and enthusiasts. The Linux operating system which is a special kind of UNIX, inherits many of UNIX’s desirable properties as a web server platform. You spend zero costs in terms of the needed software to setup a web server in contrast to the more expensive price of the Windows operating system for example. Open source software is freely downloadable over the web and is protected by the GNU license.
The GNU license ensures that this freedom is protected and prevents other software from abusing it. Contrast this to a Windows based offering which is clearly a more expensive proposition even from the bare operating system alone. The proprietary solution’s cost is even more compounded by the additional costs of the other required software components needed to setup a web server setup.
To wet your appetite on some of the goodies that naturally comes with the Linux solution, think of the following: Linux operating system costs $0.0; the PHP and mySQL tutorials are everywhere and the technology is awesomely easy to learn; a telnet of ssh account is naturally present in the system already. The readily downloadable mysql for the database and the php language makes this choice of web development the favorite of many wannabies eager to start up their very own web hosting service.
Web hosting companies that use Linux in their solutions offer services at a very low price. Being a Unix foster child, the Linux operating system always have the powerful tools that many people are already familiar with like Perl and sendmail. The Linux choice is not only popular, it is also secure. Due to its openness, there is no limit to its configurability and you can customize it to your heart’s content.
The engine of all Linux solutions is the Linux kernel. Developed and constantly enhanced by thousands of eager Linux programmers, the Linux kernel is one of the most stable systems for a web server. There is a very high uptime of websites that are hosted by a Linux system. The process of software development in a Linux environment is very transparent and direct to the nuts and bolts. Contrasts this to the closed development in a Windows operating system wherein there are just so many hidden settings and hidden door knobs.
Moving a Linux web hosting to a different host is also easy. The apache, mysql and php combination runs in a Windows based web server. However, there no known Windows web solution that can be easily made to run inside a Linux server. Linux web hosting solution is also more scalable and does not require drastic code changes within the code or design. The Linux operating system is extraordinarily scalabe in that the Linux that runs inside a handheld device is the same Linux that runs inside of some of IBM’s mainframe. Its only drawback is its incompatibility with Microsoft applications but these has been remedied through wine and the several virtualizations.
If you want a proprietary solution, there is the Windows based server. This is a more expensive solution. You will only go this path if you have no other choice because your hosted web server uses ASP/ASP.NET. Microsoft Access or the Microsoft SQL server. If you think that proprietary solution is a better choice then get ready to pay the cost.
You should feel fortunate for having these choices in your web hosting solution. Newcomers to web site development and theses with little or no knowledge on web hosting options, the choice of Linux is often recommended. It costs less, and there are lots of talent pools out there ready to answer your questions. But if your solution uses the Windows-specific subsystems such as Microsoft Access, Visual Basic.NET, COM/ActiveX then a Windows based web hosting service is the one that will work for you.