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What is Linux?

Linux is the most popular operating system (OS) used by Web hosting providers. This versatile and powerful alternative to Microsoft Windows is available in a variety of free, “freemium” and commercial iterations.

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Why Choose Linux Hosting?

Those of you who aren’t technically inclined may not have given much thought to either the figurative or the literal nuts and bolts of your Web hosting server; after all, available features and user friendliness are generally of greater concern than the operating system that drives the whole works. But if you’re shopping for a new host, understanding the benefits (and limitations) of your server’s operating system (OS), as well as the applications and scripting languages it supports, can help you make a more informed decision about which host to choose.

So, keeping that in mind, do you know the OS running the server that hosts your website? For the majority of business site owners, the answer to this question is most likely “Linux.”

Linux is the creation of computer systems engineer named Linus Torvalds. In 1991, Torvalds was a computer science student in Finland when he created, as part of a part-time project, an updated OS kernel based on the popular Unix system. The new OS was incredibly popular, and has since gone through countless modifications and spawned various permutations, including Google’s Chrome OS. Its versatility, stability and open-source code have helped make it one of the leading OS options for not only Web servers, but personal computers and mobile applications.

The well-known acronym LAMP illustrates the standard Linux configuration for a web server: Linux, Apache (the “Web” component of your Web server), MySQL (a database management tool using Structured Query Language, or SQL), and PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor). Some of the most popular versions of Linux used by hosting providers include CentOS, Fedora and RedHat Linux.

While no one operating system is required to create a professional and engaging website, some applications are specific to Linux. If you want access to the popular cPanel management console, for example, you’ll need to make sure your hosting provider’s server is running Linux. Ditto for the Perl scripting language, the PHP, and popular blogging software WordPress.

Analogs for all of these applications exist for the Windows environment, but you’ll most likely have an easier time installing, configuring and troubleshooting them if you go with a Linux server. Check with your host for details.

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