If you have asked for web hosting suggestion or server configuration for your php web application, most professionals and online resource will redirect you to linux support. Why is that? What if you use windows computer for development? Is it bad to install PHP on windows server? This article will give an indepth review to check if linux is that good for php scripting.
PHP(www.php.net) is an open source scripting language that's popularly used by thousands of applications all over the world. It's improved by world wide developers and released regularly by PHP official community. It's currently provided via 3 packages: Source codes, Binary files and auto installer. Unlike other programming technologies like ASP or that ultilize other script languages such as VB or C#, PHP is a script language for itself.
Since from the very beginning, php has been provided for both linux and windows editions. You get multiple choice to have php installed based your preferring. PHP is actually installed by most windows hosting providers and has been working great as from linux platform. Moreover, the latest windows server provides dedicated support for PHP with user friendly GUI tools. Generally, PHP comes with following advantages on windows IIS server
Easy Installation. PHP can be installed in multiple solutions: exe installer, binary zip package, you can also re-compile the source codes to customize the installation based your development experience. Since from IIS7.0, IIS team provided a great module called "PHP Manager", with this module you can get php running by the best practice. PHP manager is dedicated for php and provides following great features
- Register PHP with IIS
- Validate and properly configure existing PHP installations
- Run multiple PHP versions side by side
- Check PHP runtime configuration and environment
Easy management. PHP installation on windows server will put all files under a specific directory. If you want to add a new module that's not included in the package, you can get from official site directly then place it under extension directory to have it enabled. In case you run into any problem with your php application, you can debug directly from php manager center because error logs will be produced there for quick fix.
High performance. Since from IIS 7.0, PHP can be configured via Fast-CGI mode where php scripts will be executed fastly by less system resource. You can also speed up the response via various modules like accelerator or zend guard etc. PHP optimization on windows server is pretty easy.
Why there's complaint for IIS PHP?
There're lots of complaint for php not performing well or compatibility etc. However, that's all from old windows platforms that have been dropped by most hosting providers. Some old windows system like server 2003 does not have too much options to work with like the new server products. Once PHP installed, it will be functional as it is. However, you have full control over every php functions on new IIS7.0 and 8.0. Via php manager and other modules you can test and monitor php performance lively without affecting other applications on same server. You can apply different php settings to each site for different requirements.
Cost is another main factor, while you can get linux 100% for free, you need to pay license fee for windows server. There're always one or two bucks more for hosting service on windows server. Actually, price should be the main reason why people not recommending windows for php hosting purpose. No one wants to pay more just because the provider spend more for server setup.
When should you consider PHP on windows server?
As suggested from above, performance is no longer a concern for new windows server system. However, you can't always avoid using windows for your projects. For example you might need to test different applications at the same time, but if you selected linux, you can not host .net script under a linux server. For this situation, windows would be your right choice. You can host both PHP and .net applications by easy configuration.
So basically, if you just want to save money for pure PHP scripts, linux is absolutely perfect choice since less investment required for hosting server. But if you need to use php as well as microsoft technologies, windows is the right choice, you don't have to sign up different hosting plans separately because windows will be fully compatible!
If you're looking for a budget and high performance windows server plan, we highly recommend arvixe(www.arvixe.com) based editorial experience. Arvixe provides windows server 2012 with remote iis manager support, php is just a simple support. Price starts at $5/mo and 30% discount available if you subscribe 2 years upfront via coupon "Clue30". You can't get better offer from other place.