Linux is the name of a Unix-like operating system that was originally developed by a Finnish student called Linus Torvalds. Nowadays, it is being supported and developed further by a large international developer community.
Linux is offered as Open Source software, i.e.: everyone can view (and modify) its source code. This could explain why Linux has a reputation for being a relatively safe and stable operating system: programming and security errors can quickly be fixed by members of the developer community.
Furthermore, Linux is free, and it typically makes less hardware demands (CPU, internal memory, etc.) than Windows.
As a result, Linux hosting is often cheaper than Windows hosting: the web hosting company has less cost that has to be passed on to customers!
One of the best-known web hosts offering Linux hosting is HostGator.
They have a variety of hosting plans, e.g. the "hatchling" shared hosting plan (from $3.96 per month) for people who want to host a single web site, and the "baby" plan (from $6.36 per month) for an unlimited number of sites; both plans come with unlimited disk space and bandwidth!
Simply click here to order, select "Shared Hosting" from the drop-down menu, followed by the plan type on the next page!
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that Linux and similar Unix-like operating systems (e.g., Free BSD) have the largest market share in the web server market.
When we talk about Linux hosting, we often come across the acronym "LAMP". The individual letters in this word stand for the key elements of the hosting platform.
The "L" stands for Linux itself.
The "A" stands for Apache, the web server that is responsible for sending web pages to the browsers of the site visitors.
The "M" stands for MySQL, a database program that originally offered somewhat limited functionality compared to databases like Oracle and MS SQL Server, but that has been improved and extended so much that it can compete with such "professional" databases.
Finally, the "P" stands for PHP or Perl, programming languages that can be used to create web sites that retrieve data from a (MySQL) database, and/or interact with site visitors.
Linux still has one key disadvantage: the operating system requires more specialized knowledge than Windows.
To solve this problem, several installation programs have been created that make it possible to install, say, a bulletin board or a content management system using a simple "wizard"; and on the Linux platform, that kind of software is often free...