Why FreeBSD Hosting Is For You

Why FreeBSD Hosting Is For You

In a previous posting, we discussed briefly some of the different Unix flavors available when choosing an operating system for your (web hosting) needs.

Among those in the list, FreeBSD deserves your consideration.

Here are some of the reasons why (according to the FreeBSD.org website):

1. Supports a variety of platforms: x86 compatible, AMD64, Alpha, IA-64, PC-98 and UltraSPARC® architectures
2. Open Source – available free of charge and comes with full source code
3. Well-suited for a number of desktop and server applications
4. Can be installed from a variety of sources
5. Extends the 4.4BSD operating system feature set:
* merged virtual memory and filesystem buffer cache
* compatibility modules – to run programs for other OS including those for Linux, SCO UNIX, NetBSD, and BSD/OS
* Kernel Queues – programs respond more efficiently to a variety of asynchronous events
* Accept Filters – improve performance by allowing connection-intensive applications (ex. web servers) to push part of their functionality into the OS kernel
* Soft Updates – improved filesystem performance without sacrificing safety and reliability (analyzes meta-data filesystem operations so they’re processed more efficiently)
* Support for IPsec and next-generation Internet Protocol, IPv6 – improve security in networks
* kernel support for stateful IP firewalling, as well as IP proxy gateways etc.
* supports encryption software, secure shells, Kerberos authentication, “virtual servers” created using jails, chroot-ing services to restrict application access to the filesystem, secure RPC facilities, and access lists for services that support TCP wrappers

And lest you accuse the FreeBSD.org of tooting their own horn, here are two articles that offer expert opinion about the use of FreeBSD:

Tim Moynihan’s story on Linux vs. FreeBSD: Open-Source Experts Weigh In, offered the following insights from open-source experts:

* FreeBSD is easy to tweak and maintain
* User space programs that are available for Linux are also available for FreeBSD
* FreeBSD is mature and professional.

And Kanetix Ltd. analyst Ean Kingston, in his article Why Users Choose BSD Over Linux Or Commercial Software, offered the following reasons:

* BSD license is much more open than the Linux license
* Unlike Linux, with its many distributions, BSD has only 3 open source flavors that (vary according to focus) are all stable, secure and usable: OpenBSD (security), NetBSD (portability), and FreeBSD (usability and stability), which is ideal for x86 architecture
* the kernel and drivers are more stable than Linux (although it takes longer to get the drivers installed, they are more reliable)
* almost no loss of usable applications as FreeBSD package and ports system is consistent and easy to use with many open source applications available; offers the same crash protection of a journaling filesystem without much overhead (via its native filesystem, FFS, and the Soft Updates extension)

Still not convinced?

How about if I tell you that in Netcraft’s (www.netcraft.com) survey of the Most Reliable Hosting Providers in April, three of the top ten hosts are FreeBSD users? Or that, in March, five of the top ten hosts use FreeBSD?

As of July 2004 Crucial Paradigm will be using FreeBSD on all new servers.

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