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What Operating System to Choose for the Server?

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Servers_at_the_Internet_ArchiveThere might be a time, when you buy a new server, that you are undecided about the server operating system you may want to use. You want to take into account all the pro’s and con’s, while reducing the costs and workload as much as possible. If you are not going with obscure hardware, you have three choices from now:

  • Windows Server
  • Linux
  • FreeBSD Server

When you are choosing for one, take these into account:

  • Maintenance time & costs
  • Resource consumption (which directly correlates to electrical consumption)
  • Deployment and installation costs (You have to buy Windows for example)

The costs for Windows Server deployment (buying the CD, or the license) and installation (activation etc.) might have higher costs, but maintaining a Linux server may be much more costly when specific problems appear. But there’s no way a Windows Server will match the performance of a Linux server. FreeBSD tops these two guys even more with it’s TCP/IP implementation that reduces workload on the Ethernet/WiFi card. But they all have their problems in some parts, and are pretty powerful in some areas. Today’s goal is to lay both the qualities and bad parts out so you can choose the one that gives you the most pro’s.

Windows Server

Operating System produced by Microsoft For Servers. It’s considered a low quality implementation among the experts. Windows refusing to stick to an implementation that’s solid and modern at the same time, caused many problems for this OS.

Pro’s:

  •  Easy installation and post installation set up
  •  Easier to use than say, a Linux server or FreeBSD Server
  •  Thousands of answers to problems online, tech support available world-wide

Con’s:

  • Harder to debug for administrators
  • Not Free
  • Might cost more to maintain in a cluster

So the key areas here are that it’s easier to use and deploy. The problem is, it has many other problems. Not trying to be a fan boy here, but i would not choose it for a server that bases on performance.

Linux Server (LAMP,node.JS etc on Linux)

Linux Servers are the leading servers in the game. They make for the 80% or more of the market (check w3schools Server Statistics for more). My personal favorite, but not as fast as FreeBSD might be.

Pro’s:

  • Extremely popular among the server, server administration and web development world
  • Very Reliable
  • Secure with the tens of security layers already in the kernel
  • Free to modify, use and distribute

Cons’:

  • You will need an expert if you don’t know much about it (There are tutorials for the learners though)
  • Harder to deploy

FreeBSD Server

Fork of the 4.4BSD project, one of the most performant and securized Web Server operating systems.

Pro’s

  • Extremely fast via the TCP/IP stack implemented (with TCP/IP originating on 4.4BSD, code still being used in Windows Systems)
  • Thousands of forum posts – and users online ready to help you
  • Well-secure

Con’s

  • Harder than Linux to maintain
  • Less stable than Linux systems – will need repairs from now to then

Overall, i’d opt for Linux. What would you opt for?

Linux: Stability

Windows: Ease of Use

FreeBSD: Performance

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