Virtual private server (VPS) hosting has become a very popular hosting solution for many small and mid-size businesses. Windows and Linux VPS hosting packages hit a very attractive mid-range price point between inexpensive shared web hosting and costly dedicated physical server hosting solutions. As the middle point of these three standard hosting packages, virtual private server hosting features many of the benefits of both shared hosting and dedicated server hosting at an affordable price. With a shared hosting solution, one dedicated server running a web application like Apache or IIS host a multitude of hosting clients' web sites. Each site shares server resources and bandwidth with every other site on the server. At the high end of the spectrum is dedicated server hosting using a physical web server. With this solution, the hosting firm rents an actual server to the client. The client will have full access to the server and complete flexibility over all changes they want to make. Between these two options is Windows or Linux VPS hosting.
In a virtual hosting environment, the company purchasing hosting still gets total access and control over their own dedicated server. The difference is that this server is a virtual server. A virtual server is essentially a "simulated server." It exists as software and is managed with other virtual servers by a virtualization application like Vmware or Microsoft Hyper-V. Multiple virtual servers exist on one hardware server, each with their own dedicated resources and hardware and functionally indistinguishable from real servers. In essence, VPS hosting is a hybrid between shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. It offers the cost-saving benefits that come with not actually renting hardware, but the performance and flexibility of dedicated servers. With the choice to go with virtual private server hosting already made, the next decision is which operating system the virtual server will run. While Windows is showing promise as a web hosting operating system and is essential in certain situations, Linux is still the OS used on the majority of web servers due to its reliability and many other benefits.
Price: Linux VPS hosting offers the benefits of dedicated server hosting at a lower price. Because there are none of the high fees associated with renting hardware, VPS hosting costs less.
Stability and Uptime: Linux is an extremely lightweight and stable OS. It doesn't need weekly reboots and it rarely crashes. This means your site will be much more dependable.
Flexibility: VPS hosting gives site owners total control over not just their site, but the server itself. Need to install development tools, new features or cutting edge APIs to freshen things up? It's a lot easier to do all this and more when the server is yours to manage any way you like.
Performance: Because the lightweight nature of the Linux OS, a Linux VPS hosting server can devote more server resources to its web sites, making these sites work better and faster.
Business size: Shared web hosting is only a good choice for small companies with very little need for a major high-performance web presence. Dedicated physical web server hosting is the best option for large businesses with advanced web needs. If your company falls in between, Linux VPS hosting is the right choice.
High availability needs: If your web site is crucial to your business' daily activities, Linux is usually the better choice. This is especially true if your site needs higher-end performance comparable to dedicated servers.
No Windows-specific applications: If you don't need .ASP, .NET or other Windows platforms, you're a great candidate for Linux.
Linux experience: many companies avoid Linux due to a lack of experience with the OS. If this doesn't describe your IT staff, you should go with Linux for your web server. You may want to try Linux even if your staff isn't experienced with it. Most hosting companies offer server administration services for a fee.