Linux, cPanel, and PHP Hosting

It doesn’t matter what type of website you are setting up. Sooner or later, you must make a decision on the type of hosting platform that you would like to use. That means you will have to choose the type of server that you site will be hosted on (Windows or Linux), the control panel (Plesk, cPanel, HELM), and programming language. Let’s explore these options.

1) Type of server.

You can choose between a Windows machine, or a Linux machine. Windows has become more competitive in recent years with the release of a more user friendly control panel. The features have also been greatly improved. You will want to choose a Windows environment to work in if you are mainly using Windows related products, services, and programming languages. For instance, if your entire website is developed using ASP.NET, then you need to have a Windows server.

The other type of server that you can use is a Linux server. A Linux server has been known to be more robust and reliable. Since Linux is an open source OS, you can expect hosting to be more affordable. In fact, the OS is so powerful that almost anything can be done on Linux servers. This is an immensely powerful OS and is most suitable for programming languages like Perl or PHP.

2) Admin control panel.

Even for the same OS, there are several control panels available. Customers have been complaining for years due to a lack of user friendly control panels. However, the control panels have stabilized during the past couple of years. Today, HELM is the leading control panel for Windows, and cPanel is the leading control panel for Linux servers. Both control panels offer sophisticated features. You can use file managers to manage files, create databases, create email accounts, read emails online, and more.

3) Programming languages.

Your final buying decision depends a lot on your choice of programming language. Of course, the development environment has a lot to do with the developer’s background and experience. If PHP is the preferred language, then a Linux server with cPanel as the control panel would be the ideal combination. Although Windows support PHP, you still want to avoid using Windows to run a PHP powered site. That’s because there are still some features that you can’t really run on a Windows machine. For instance, you cannot create cron jobs on a Windows server, but you can do so easily on a Linux server. A cron job is an automated command that is issued to the machine at regular intervals. It can be created manually in cPanel, or using a script.

It appears that PHP is winning market share because the programming language is open source, easy to learn, and doesn’t require any complicated software. In other words, almost anyone can pick up and programming language. In fact, if you start hiring freelancers, you realize that many PHP programmers are self-taught. They just pick things up as they work on various projects on the Internet.

Consider the pros and cons carefully before signing up for a hosting account.