6 Things to Know About Finding the Best Linux Shared Hosting Company
Back when web design and development was just an intriguing interest to me, I used local servers on my university’s campus. I knew nothing about a web hosting plan, just that my student ID gave me a website to subject to my awful HTML table-based designs.
When it came time to leave the nest and forge my own hosting path, I blindly signed up for a Windows shared hosting plan just because I recognized the operating system name.
By that point, I was struggling to figure out how to run this WordPress platform I’d been hearing about — and not having much success. Although you can most certainly run WordPress on a Windows server, a quick switch to a Linux hosting package immediately solved my issues.
Novice hosting customers may not notice much of a difference between Windows and Linux hosting now, the two types of servers have vastly different performance, security, pricing, and database features that will influence how your website performs.
Read on to learn more about Linux hosting and where to find the best deals.
1. The Basics: What is Linux Hosting?
When shopping for shared hosting, you might notice a choice between Windows and Linux hosting. These different types of hosting allude to the operating system installed on the server holding your website.
Unix-based operating systems, including Linux, CentOS, Red Hat, Debian, and Ubuntu, power roughly 70% of all websites, with Windows filling in the rest.
Because Linux and many of its supporting software and server technologies are open-source programs, the hosting packages are sometimes cheaper. You won’t notice much of a difference between the two operating systems, but Linux typically fits most customers’ needs the best.
The platform you select depends on which languages you’re using to produce your website. Most notably, sites using PHP and MySQL — the scripting language and database system behind WordPress — should be on a Linux hosting plan.
If you make your site using ASP.NET, ASP, or MS SQL, you’re better off with Windows. Static sites using HTML and CSS can be hosted on either.
2. Know the Various Types of Linux Operating Systems
Unlike Windows — and for that matter, macOS — the Linux operating system can appear in your web hosting service in several different ways. Open-source developers have customized Linux into various distributions to meet the differing needs of users. The most popular Linux distributions are:
- Ubuntu Server
- Linux Mint
- Arch Linux
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux
The specific distribution used on your shared hosting account shouldn’t make much of a difference — the web hosting service provider makes that selection based on ease of use, cost, support, and reliability.
Larger businesses or more experienced developers might install different distributions on a VPS hosting plan or Linux dedicated server based on specific goals or preferences.
3. Know the Types of Linux Servers, Too
Linux hosting comes in a variety of formats and handles the hosting needs of everyone from individual people to enterprise organizations. We’ve broken out our favorite hosts at each level, from shared to dedicated servers.
Best Linux Shared Hosting: A2 Hosting
Shared hosting servers house hundreds or thousands of websites at once. With a price tag of less than $5, you’d be surprised how many features A2 Hosting packs into its shared plans.
The high-value host offers 24/7 network monitoring and enhanced security, along with support through phone, email, and chat. Like SiteGround, A2 Hosting gives customers blazing-fast SSD infrastructure perfectly optimized to deliver speedy page loads.
Best Linux VPS Hosting: InMotion Hosting
A virtual private server, or VPS, gives website owners more control over the computing resources and environment allotted to their accounts. InMotion Hosting also runs CentOS and includes free security patches and updates for the operating system.
In addition to unlimited MySQL databases, InMotion Hosting boasts power and flexibility with SSH access, SSD speed, and more than 310 easy installations of Linux-friendly apps.
We also appreciate the company’s approach to managed VPS services that take care of all operating system updates, security patches, and other tedious maintenance tasks.
If you want to read about more Linux VPS plans, we’ve tested out and rated the best providers.
Best Linux Dedicated Hosting: Liquid Web
The utmost luxury in hosting, dedicated servers are completely devoted to your website or application. With no one else competing for CPU energy, dedicated hosting is a powerful option for companies looking for speed and scalability for their site(s).
Liquid Web excels at hosting powerful, customizable environments. Liquid Web customers have their choice of operating system and custom configurations with SSDs and instant provisioning, in addition to object storage and load balancer add-ons.
For those looking for more affordable options, check out sister companies HostGator and Bluehost. The web hosts have a similar infrastructure — with several important tweaks depending on your development preferences.
4. Look For Features of the Best Linux Server Hosting Providers
Because Linux supports the programming languages behind the world’s most popular blogging platforms and ecommerce tools, one-click installations are a must-have feature when it comes to hosting plans. Although you can usually find beginner-friendly tools like that with most hosts, you’ll also want to look for features like this:
- Quality hardware to match the Linux software
- cPanel for easy server management
- Linux-friendly software (e.g., Apache, programming scripts, etc.)
- Reliable uptime rates and 24/7 support
For more technical website owners, keep an eye out for which version(s) of PHP is/are supported, along with any limitations on MySQL databases. Some hosting packages will even give you the option of choosing your Linux distribution.
5. Avoid Free Linux Server Hosting
Understandably, getting Linux hosting for free sounds appealing. The options do exist, but trust us — they’re not worth it.
Companies offering free hosting can disappear in a flash or introduce severely limiting restrictions on your account, to say nothing about shoddy reliability or security.
With such narrow margins for profit, a free Linux hosting provider doesn’t usually offer the most modern infrastructure or security measures.
The servers and Linux distributions might not be updated frequently with free hosting plans, so you’re much better off with a reputable web hosting provider and the additional resources included with a nominal fee.
6. Host Linux-Based Servers and Sites With Maximum Uptime
Spending a few bucks on a Linux shared hosting plan with a trustworthy provider will make a world of difference in terms of features like support, ease of use, and reliability.
You’ll want to sign up with a host who guarantees at least 99.9% uptime, which is the industry standard.
Uptime is critical to running a healthy and successful website, especially if you’re running a business. If your website isn’t available, you’re missing out on valuable potential visitors or customers.
We give an edge to the best Linux hosting companies that offer around-the-clock monitoring, free and automatic backups, and DDoS protection.