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LAMP vs. WAMP: Why do Startups Prefer LAMP to WAMP?

Sam Guiliano
by Atlantic.Net (81 posts) under HIPAA Compliant Hosting
  • LAMP vs. WAMP: What’s the Difference?
  • Affordability
  • Security
  • Smoother Operation
  • Flexibility
  • Use within Enterprises?
  • One-Click LAMP Cloud Hosting

LAMP vs. WAMP: What’s the Difference?

A LAMP or WAMP stack is four pieces of software that are used in combination for open source web development. Components include:

  • L/W – Linux/Windows, the operating system
  • A – Apache, the Web server
  • M – MySQL, the database management system
  • P – PHP, Python, or Perl, the scripting language.

A common variation of this Web stack is a LEMP or WEMP Cloud Hosting stack, which replaces Apache with Nginx. You will also frequently see the term WAMP, which replaces Linux with Windows.

There are two main reasons that LAMP is such an extraordinarily common server environment, explains Russell Kay of Computerworld. One is that the applications work very well in tandem even though they were coded independently, due to the collaborative culture of the open-source community. The other is that they are all available 100% free.

What is the particular attraction for startups, though? According to three IT professionals, some of the main reasons startups use this development platform are as follows:

  1. Affordability

Senior systems engineer Marty Gottesfeld agrees with Kay that people choose LAMP in large part because it’s budget-friendly, especially in the case of startups. “Remember Windows Server Standard Edition costs about $700 a license,” he says.

It is possible to cut your costs with Windows by getting a Windows Server Data Center license and creating a bunch of virtual machines. No matter what you do with Microsoft products, though, you’re using proprietary software that comes at a cost. “The backend systems commonly used by IIS web applications also usually cost money,” Gottesfeld adds, “i.e. Microsoft SQL Server, etc. Visual Studio, the main IDE used for IIS .NET Applications also costs a good deal of money” – and that cost is a concern with every developer that a company has on staff.

Another aspect of cost that engineers appreciate is efficiency – specifically the need for fewer hosts, which in turn reduces the amount that must be spent on physical machines and data center leasing.

  1. Security

Typically startups do not have IT people working for them full-time. That can create a problem because when you’re working with Windows servers, staying abreast of updates can be time-consuming, and there are “bad consequences for falling short,” Gottesfeld warns. “If you are running Windows IIS,” he adds, “it is a good idea to put a reverse proxy in between them and the Internet anyways.”

  1. Smoother Operation

Web developer Tobias Hoffmann points out that programs such as Apache and PHP are best used with Linux because that’s the main OS environment in which they were developed. In other words, Windows is just not quite as compatible with these open-source projects.

  1.  Flexibility

To CEO Jason Hamilton-Mascioli, it’s all about flexibility and ease of configuration. He especially likes the .htaccess (hypertext access) files of Apache, which he finds to be much more user-friendly than working with IIS.

Gottesfeld concurs, explaining that he believes it is simpler to use for programming, application launches, and keeping your environment up-to-date. Basically, coders are able to be efficient with the time and not run into many roadblocks. For instance, he says that even though PHP is now in version 5, his code written in PHP 3 continues to work well. Similarly, updating MySQL is a snap – a stark contrast to the hassles of Microsoft SQL Server.

“Companies often spend a good amount of time planning an upgrade to newer version(s) of IIS, .NET, Visual Studio and SQL Server,” he says. “Each upgrade costs additional money, even with SA you are paying for the upgrade, you’re just paying beforehand.”

Use within Enterprises?

Sure, a LAMP stack might work well for startups, but is it the right choice for a large enterprise such as a university, government agency, or sizable company? It is, provided it’s the right situation.

LAMP backs numerous websites that receive significant amounts of traffic, including technology resource O’Reilly Media. Large portions of Web giants such as Google and  Amazon run on LAMP as well.

There are limitations to LAMP, though, notes Kay. “By itself, LAMP really only defines software for Web applications,” he says. “Although you can use it to build an application that connects to sophisticated middleware, the heavy-duty programming would likely have to be done in a different language.”

Therein lies the reason why many enterprises choose to work with Java and .Net platforms, since they allow you to create sophisticated apps and Web scripts using one language.

Nonetheless, LAMP is a great choice for any companies wanting to limit their expenses that are developing applications internally and don’t mind problem-solving themselves or looking for answers in the open-source community.

One-Click LAMP Cloud Hosting

As you can see, there are numerous reasons startups prefer to use a LAMP stack for web development, and why it often makes sense for enterprises too.

Increasingly startups are looking for reliable LAMP Cloud Hosting specifically. At Atlantic.Net, you can get up and running in 30 seconds, on a cloud supported by 100% solid state drives hosted in international data centers. We also offer HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting services.


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