9 FAQs About Linux Hosting
The best Linux hosting providers power the world’s most popular shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated server platforms.
Thanks in large part to its open-source licensing, Linux distributions are often free for web hosting providers and website owners to use in datacenters. Some companies, including Red Hat, SUSE, and CloudLinux distribute under subscription licenses.
Popular Unix-based operating systems, such as Debian, Ubuntu, and AlmaLinux (one of the top CentOS replacements), power more than two-thirds of all websites. Windows servers power the rest but require expensive licenses from Microsoft for each installation.
Cheap web hosting plans typically use a Linux-based operating system, enabling each web host to pass the savings onto its customers.
Developers using ASP.NET, C++, C#, and others typically flock to Windows hosting.
Small businesses, freelancers, and independent web publishers can use Linux shared hosting plans for the cheapest costs on datacenter hardware. VPS plans and dedicated servers running Linux offer more resources to developers.
1. What is Linux Hosting?
Because of the wide variety of distributions forked off the main Linux kernel, Linux hosting can come in a variety of flavors.
Unless a plan specifically highlights the Windows OS (operating system) or optimizations for running ASP.NET, Visual Basic, and other Windows programming languages, you can safely assume the hosting plan runs on Linux.
Linux developed as an open-source operating system, in contrast to Microsoft’s approach of a proprietary corporate license.
The Linux operating system’s GNU general public license allows companies to add services and sell commercial products with Linux. Likewise, open-source developer communities can customize or create new features to the kernel and distribute it for no charge.
Google, Oracle, IBM, and many other large companies run Linux servers in hyperscale cloud datacenters. Small businesses and independent publishers can use shared Linux hosting for web design.
All of these operating system distributions share the use of the same kernel and core distribution of Linux, governed by Linus Torvalds and the Free Software Foundation.
The Linux Foundation is another group that works for industry collaboration on the operating system via open-source fundamentals. The GNU GPL allowed Linux to develop as an operating system over 30 years to compete with Microsoft as a free solution for anyone to use.
Linux hosting is installed on about 90% of public cloud servers, and more than 70% of the websites in the world run on the Linux operating system.
2. Why Should I Use a Linux Server?
A Linux server enables a web host to make enterprise-grade datacenter services available to website owners through shared hardware.
Business owners and developers will find it more cost-effective to partner with the best Linux hosting providers than to manage their own hardware and network connections in an on-premise facility.
Here are more reasons most small business owners and independent web publishers should choose shared Linux hosting plans.
- Affordability: Only pay for hardware and support services.
- Best performance: Lightweight, adjustable code.
- Open source code: Globally supported for a variety of use cases.
- Stable, private, and secure: Rare vulnerabilities are found and fixed quickly.
- Vast developer community: Global expertise and support.
- Compatibility and versatility: Adaptable for many devices, languages, and tasks.
Cheap Linux VPS plans allow you to opt between managed and unmanaged platforms with multiple versions of the Linux operating system available to install with server frameworks.
Most companies use Linux to avoid the more expensive costs of Microsoft products over time when supporting their websites and mobile apps.
3. How Much Should a Linux Web Hosting Plan Cost?
With a Linux hosting plan, anyone can host a website for less than $2 per month for a single domain; the price tag may creep up to between $3 and $5 for plans that include the ultra-helpful cPanel portal and support for unlimited domain names.
The cheapest VPS plans start around $5 per month for 1 vCPU with 1GB RAM. You can find dedicated server hosting as cheap as $50 per month at some sites, although average prices are upward of $100 monthly.
|Shared Hosting||VPS Hosting||Dedicated Server|
|$2 to $6 per month||$5 to $20 per month||$75 to $125 per month|
Shared web hosting plans allow you to get started developing a suite of domains at the cheapest rates in the industry. Linux server distro hosting is priced a few dollars cheaper on average across service products in the industry.
Expect to pay more for Windows-based shared and VPS server plans.
With any operating system, you need to decide between managed and unmanaged services.
We recommend most website owners rely on the experience of datacenter professionals to get the most value from web hosting plans with managed cloud services.
On unmanaged plans, you are responsible for all software licensing costs, cybersecurity, and systems administration for your hardware. Save money with managed cloud services that bundle licenses for cPanel into plans that would cost more to procure independently online.
Start small and only pay for what you need, then scale as your web traffic and processing requirements grow. Rely on network metrics and data analytics for information. The best web hosting provider will make the process easy.
4. How Do I Choose the Best Linux Web Hosting Service?
For most small business users, the best Linux hosting service is a cPanel plan that includes a fully-managed environment on shared hardware.
Programmers and developers often require command-line access to a Linux server through SSH connections for configuration settings; cPanel allows people without extensive experience to control their web server and domain name configurations through the web browser.
For VPS server plan management of Linux installations, Webuzo one of the top control panels, making it easy to deploy any operating system stack completely. Use cPanel to set up email, FTP, and MySQL databases for domains.
Features to Look for in the Best Web Hosting Provider:
- cPanel: The easy-to-use interface is the industry standard in shared hosting.
- Free domain: Even better, look for a web host with support for unlimited domains.
- One-click installations: Choose from more than 400 software programs to build your site.
- Security: Free SSL certificates, automatic updates, and 24/7 monitoring.
Managed platforms are best for inexperienced users, who can rely on datacenter engineers with years of combined experience at the web host.
We most strongly recommend Linux hosting plans that offer additional web application firewalls, antivirus scanning, and DDoS protection. Web security is a major issue for publishers, which small businesses can address by relying on managed platforms.
The inclusion of Softaculous, Fantastico, or other one-click script installers makes it easy to launch scripts like WordPress to run on Linux servers with PHP and MySQL database support within minutes of signing up for a new account.
5. What are the Differences Between Linux and Windows Hosting?
The main difference between Linux and Windows hosting services is the cost of licensing the operating system for use on a web server.
With the most popular Linux operating systems, there’s no cost to use the server distribution. Companies like Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu have enterprise licensing divisions for corporate datacenters, government institutions, and other large businesses.
These companies then provide versions of their Linux distribution to the public as a free community product that can be used on VPS or dedicated server plans.
Keep in mind, using cPanel requires either AlmaLinux, Ubuntu, or CloudLinux.
Main Differences Between Linux and Windows Hosting Plans:
|Cost||Free or commercial||Commercial only|
|Web Panel||cPanel or Plesk||Plesk|
|Database||MySQL, PostgreSQL||MS SQL, Microsoft Access|
|Web Server||Apache, NGINX||Microsoft IIS|
|Languages||PHP, Perl, Python||ASP.NET, C#, Visual Basic|
|Security||Highly protected against most threats||More prone to attacks and user error|
|Support||Community based||Commercial support plans|
To be fair, more features are cross-supported between Linux and Windows than ever before. That includes PHP and ASP.NET applications, along with the Plesk web panel. We stuck with what you’ll most commonly find.
Windows Server offers different pricing tiers for a single business server, enterprise organization, or datacenter license. Microsoft Azure has a complete suite of cloud products that competes with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.
Microsoft will even allow Linux servers to run on Azure or to use Linux with Hyper-V virtualization.
6. Which Linux Distribution Should I Use?
The best Linux distribution depends on the requirements of the project for web server support.
Because cPanel will only run on CentOS, Ubuntu, AlmaLinux, or Cloud Linux, you should choose one of these solutions if you need to use cPanel for domain administration.
The advantage of cPanel is you do not need to install any operating system or maintain a web server. The web host offers managed cloud services in support of a shared Linux hosting plan.
Bundling an included cPanel license on shared, VPS, or dedicated servers is worth about $15 per month if you were to acquire the license separately.
Most Popular Distributions for Linux Hosting Plans:
- Ubuntu: Pre-packaged web server distributions for bare metal and virtual hardware.
- Debian: Used with Apache, NGINX, lighttpd, Caddy, Tomcat, and other web servers.
- CentOS: Popularly used with cPanel, but is being replaced by Rocky or Alma Linux.
- Fedora: Official release of web server distro by the Apache Software Foundation.
- Cloud Linux: Engineered by the developers of cPanel for the requirements of hosting.
Outside of the cPanel ecosystem, a Debian installation profile is available for most popular web server frameworks. Apache officially sponsors the Fedora platform.
Datacenter operators frequently use Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Linux, SUSE, and Ubuntu solutions for managing cloud networks with OpenStack and Kubernetes.
Developers working with Docker and container applications have made nano operating systems like Rancher, Alpine Linux, and CoreOS popular with groups that need the highest level of hardware speed for elastic scale.
7. When Should I Get Linux VPS Hosting or a Dedicated Server?
Linux VPS hosting is best for most CMS website owners who are running active eCommerce, blog, or social networking sites.
Adding a Linux VPS with 2 vCPU cores and 2GB RAM will provide content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla with a higher level of resources. This leads to better performance.
Several companies like InMotion Hosting offer Linux VPS plans that include a pre-installed cPanel environment with specific performance and security optimizations for those CMSs in mind.
InMotion Hosting improves basic Linux VPS hosting with SSD storage for the fastest website performance. InMotion Hosting and Bluehost offer the best Linux VPS hosting for WordPress hosting with a free cPanel license and domain name included in the deal.
Reasons to Upgrade to VPS and Dedicated Hosting Plans:
- Web traffic support: Upgrade when your sites have higher levels of web traffic.
- More CPU for scripts: Support I/O requests with more dedicated CPU cores.
- More RAM for databases: Improve performance on VPS plans with more RAM.
- High-performance websites: Boost conversion rates on eCommerce stores.
- Increased availability: A VPS or dedicated server can better withstand spikes.
If you have a specific runtime requirement for Red Hat Linux, Arch Linux, Ubuntu Server, Oracle Linux, or Fedora Server, check the options available with the hosting provider in advance.
If you cannot find support for your operating system under managed VPS and dedicated server plans, choose an unmanaged platform and install the operating system yourself using the command line.
Oracle Linux, Arch Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are not commonly supported in commercial web hosting, but many managed VPS platforms run Ubuntu Server with integrated cPanel management for domains.
8. Which Hosts Let Me Choose My Operating System?
Managed VPS plans or dedicated servers often come with a very limited choice when it comes to operating systems and other software to configure your stack.
Unmanaged plans, however, allow you to choose your operating system from many popular distro options using server images, or ISO prints.
A Linux server distribution is not always free, so the best Linux hosting option depends on your project requirements.
Here are some of our favorite hosts with unmanaged VPS options and a wide selection of operating systems:
|Host||VPS Price||Operating Systems|
|A2 Hosting||$4.99||AlmaLinux, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian|
|Hostinger||$3.99||CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE|
|InterServer||$6.00||Debian, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, CentOS, AlmaLinux, Fedora|
|Kamatera||$4.00||RockyLinux, AlmaLinux, CentOS, Cloud Linux, Debian, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu|
|Hostwinds||$4.99||CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian|
We particularly love the Turbo Server configuration A2 Hosting offers, which provides users a higher-quality web server with low-density hardware guaranteed to perform faster than most other options.
A2 Hosting is also one of the best companies for customer support, using phone, live chat, and email ticketing channels.
A shared hosting plan or reseller hosting account won’t allow you to choose your own operating system, so the best Linux web hosting is often found on unmanaged VPS plans where you have the freedom to install whatever operating system distribution you prefer for development.
Linux web hosting resources on unmanaged VPS plans require a higher level of developer support for cybersecurity issues.
To install any OS without limitation to a particular Linux distro, sign up for unmanaged VPS plans or use a Linux dedicated server. However, be aware that Linux server hosting does not always include customer support from a hosting company for developer-related issues.
A Linux enterprise server license is expensive for most small businesses, so web hosting companies provide free open-source versions of runtime stacks like Fedora Server with Apache or Ubuntu Server with NGINX.
9. How Should I Get Started With Linux Shared Hosting?
Once you choose a web host that best meets your needs, you will need to create a new account likely using a credit card or PayPal. Some companies now enable cryptocurrency payments or ACH withdrawals.
The best hosting service should offer the complete package of a Linux OS with cPanel license, or use of another free control panel like Plesk or Webuzo to manage configurations.
Look for a hosting provider with WordPress development tools, Git integration, WP-CLI, and free themes alongside an optimized runtime environment.
A Linux dedicated server is the most expensive option, so start with a shared web hosting company before you upgrade to dedicated hosting.
If you need to build a custom Linux configuration for website development or mobile application support, choose a hosting provider where you can seamlessly upgrade from shared hosting to VPS plans and dedicated servers on the same managed platform.
This allows you to save time and money on systems administration when working with database scripts on a hosting provider. Make sure the web host offers customer support with live chat for assistance in getting started to smooth out any problems.