Linux Dedicated Server or Windows Dedicated Server
Should you choose a Linux Dedicated Server or a Windows Dedicated Server as your platform of choice? Preferences aside, we can make an informative decision on which dedicated server OS to choose by doing an intelligent comparison between the two. In order to do so we need to know the pros and cons of each operating system.
First let us look at a Windows based dedicated server. A lot of businesses run on windows based networks, so integrating a windows based dedicated server is more beneficial, especially that some corporate applications only run on Windows, such as an Exchange Server and SharePoint Server. Also, if you plan to host ASP based websites, Windows is the way to go as it natively supports ASP. Windows also have Hyper-V, its own version of virtualization platform.
Keep in mind though, a windows server operating system is not free, and most of the time its license cost is factored into a dedicated server price. And Windows Server typically requires better hardware to perform adequately.
Next let us look at a Linux dedicated server. There are different flavors or versions of Linux, like CentOS, Redhat, Ubuntu, and Debian. Although there are some flavors that are not free, most of them are, which makes deploying a Linux dedicated server cheaper. And each flavor or version of the operating system is a little bit different than the other, like Ubuntu is Debian based and is a bit different from CentOS or Redhat. However, such changes are not that drastic to administer, and if you are familiar with Linux, switching into different flavors should not be too difficult.
In terms of hardware specifications, Linux requires a smaller footprint or hardware requirements to operate adequately, which also contributes to cheaper overall deployment and maintenance. And if you are hosting PHP based websites, Linux is a better choice of platform, just as Windows is a better choice for ASP based websites. The same goes for your choice of database platform, if you are using MySQL, you would be more suited using a Linux dedicated server as it is more mature in a Linux environment. MySQL, for reference though, is also available in Windows.
Lastly, if you are looking for a dedicated server to serve client websites or require client portal access, Linux has more options to choose from for a web paged control panel, which is highly recommended as it simplifies the day to day task of administering a web hosting server, and it provides a wide variety of client access portals, such as Cpanel, Plesk, Interworx; albeit there are also some designed for Windows based hosting, although in a more limited selection.
As a final word, in choosing between a Windows or Linux dedicated server, the usage type plays a key factor. If you are server PHP websites, you are better suited to go for a Linux distribution, while if you require Exchange or are serving ASP websites, or prefer a uniform OS deployment across your Windows network, then you are better of using a Windows Server. And also, administering both operating systems require different sets of skills, so if you are better to choose an operating system that you are more comfortable working with and maintaining.