CentOS vs Windows Server comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Oct 30, 2022

We performed a comparison between CentOS and Windows Server based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of both solutions say deployment is easy.
  • Features: Users of both products are happy with their stability and scalability.

    CentOS users like the solution’s ease of use and intuitive UI and say it is robust. Reviewers would like to see improved security, additional coding tools, and better integration.

    Windows Server users like the Active Directory tool and say the solution performs well. Users mention that the solution’s security needs to be improved.
  • Pricing: CentOS is a community-driven free software solution. Most Windows Server reviewers feel that it is an expensive product.
  • Service and Support: CentOS’s support is community-based. Users relate that the knowledge base is very trustworthy and it is very easy to get issues resolved quickly. Windows Server users have mixed reviews for the product’s support.

Comparison Results: In this comparison, CentOS has a slight edge over Windows Server because it is free whereas Windows Server is considered expensive. Users also favor the technical support they receive from CentOS.

To learn more, read our detailed CentOS vs. Windows Server Report (Updated: November 2022).
655,994 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"It helps us install and deploy our applications.""Its performance is most valuable. There is a performance boost as compared to when the applications are run on Windows OS.""The most valuable feature is performance.""The most valuable feature of CentOS is the speed and it is very easy to use.""The solution is productive.""It’s scalable.""The scalability of CentOS is good. We can deploy the operating system in many hardware, laptops, and servers.""The solution is extremely stable."

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"I have found Windows Server to be easy to use and the performance to be good.""We have been using this solution for a long time and it has been stable.""It is easy to use.""The most valuable features of this solution are its performance, flexibility, and functionality.""The product can scale.""I like that it's a stable product. For me, it's working fine.""The main feature of the solution is it has a graphical interface.""The features that I have found most valuable are that it is quick with an easy installation and has good troubleshooting compared to Linux or any other operating system."

More Windows Server Pros →

"CentOS should extend the support of the solution. The solution is set to have no update support in 2023.""Integration with Open Stack could be improved.""The performance could stand improvement.""Like every operating system, it could be more secure.""Lacks sufficient security and some coding tools.""The GUI interface could always be better.""CentOS is not easy.""If CentOS could add Office features then that would be beneficial. Additionally, the UI could improve."

More CentOS Cons →

"Rebooting is sometimes required to resolve issues, although we don't know the root cause.""The price could be a little less. It's a bit expensive.""For countries in the Middle East and Africa, their pricing is a little bit high.""We have not had an issue with the stability of this solution. However, there could be some improvements.""The solution could improve by having more integration and some of the new features that are being released in Windows 11.""The solution is old so it is not user friendly. I assume that he newer versions would be better than our current one.""The upgrade process for this solution could be simplified and made more straightforward.""Microsoft needs to expand to integrate the Windows Server with Azure and Linux distribution to provide a simple container environment for running dockerized applications."

More Windows Server Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "There are no licensing costs for CentOS."
  • "It is open-source, which means it is a free product. It has a one-time deployment cost."
  • "There is no license required for this solution."
  • "There is no price or licensing required — it's open-source."
  • "There are no licensing fees. CentOS is a free solution."
  • "There are no licensing fees for CentOS."
  • "We are using a subscription-based license option for CentOS."
  • "CentOS is a free solution."
  • More CentOS Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The license model needs improvement."
  • "Our current license is an enterprise license agreement which gives you a whole lot of possibility, especially when you go through an R&D process. For example, you can provision everything, spread the service use over six months, and then wrap it up. It gives you a lot of flexibility."
  • "The Windows Server standard edition is affordable."
  • "We pay yearly for a license. If you ask any vendor they will tell you that it could be cheaper."
  • "It is important to have the cheapest price for all of the material and licenses."
  • "There is a license for this solution and the price could be cheaper."
  • "The solution requires licencing."
  • "It's expensive, but we have a need for it and have to purchase it."
  • More Windows Server Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Red Hat Enterprise Linux is fantastic. It is an inexpensive solution that has excellent security, performance, and stability, and also lots of features. I specifically like that the solution has… more »
    Top Answer:The most valuable feature is that it is compatible with RedHat.
    Top Answer:It could be more secure. We don't like it because if you compare it to Linux, Linux is better.
    Top Answer:We have the product that my team works on and we need to, for example, deploy the solution on running servers. That way, the client can access it and the QAs in our team could test it. Also, we have… more »
    Average Words per Review
    Average Words per Review
    Learn More

    CentOS Linux provides a free and open source computing platform to anyone who wishes to use it. CentOS Linux releases are built from publicly available open source source code provided by Red Hat, Inc for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    Windows Server is an operating system that is designed to run on servers and service networked applications. It includes technology that was inspired from their experiences in the public cloud. When compared to earlier Microsoft products, Windows Server 2016 is greatly improved in terms of its security, software-defined infrastructure, and technologies. It enables developers to build modern microservice-based applications in the cloud or on premises.

    Windows Server has many features that make it a most effective product. Included in these are a wealth of security features that enable administrators to both protect their networks from attack and limit the potential damage if malware does enter their system. It has a feature called the Local Security Authority, which protects user credentials from being stolen and exploited. All credentials are authenticated in a digital space that is kept separate from the rest of the system. This virtual space prevents any code not belonging to the Local Security Authority from running. It also has security tools that identify, isolate, and limit any potential system damage should an intrusion take place.

    Benefits of Windows Server

    Some of the benefits of using Windows Server include:

    • A wide array of security features that allow administrators to both secure themselves against digital intrusions and limit the damage should a breach occur. The Device Guard allows administrators to dictate what types of applications can run on their servers. This ensures that only applications that are trusted will be active in their systems. However, should a breach take place, administrators can use features like the Distributed Firewall to isolate the problematic software and prevent it from infecting the rest of the system.
    • Windows Server 2016 allows you to automate various server management tasks. The PowerShell feature enables administrators to turn over some of the more routine server management operations to this software so that they can focus their attention and resources on more complex and pressing tasks.
    • The ability to engage in innovation without having to compromise your security and efficiency. Application and software creators are able to run their software on the server without first having to modify it. In addition, any business looking to run proprietary software has a place where they can safely conduct their business.

    Reviews from Real Users

    There are a number of characteristics that make Windows Server an extremely effective solution. Two major ones are its inherent flexibility and its user-friendly nature.

    PeerSpot user Antonio D., a sales manager at INFOSEC, takes note of Windows Server 2016’s flexibility when he writes, “The product is a good operating system. The features fit our needs very well. For example, with Windows Server, you can use a machine for printing, accessing the internet, or using some applications. You can do it all with one server. You don't need several servers. One is enough.”

    Himanshu T., a system administrator and DevOps engineer at a tech-services company, takes note of the various way in which Windows Server 2016 is easy to use when he writes, “This solution is very user friendly, easy to use for any system administrator, simple to deploy applications, has a wide range of applications available, great UI, and takes less technical skills to operate than some other competitors. Additionally, the active directory has great functionality; if we want to integrate any assets, then we can easily do it.”

    Learn more about CentOS
    Learn more about Windows Server
    Sample Customers
    Information Not Available
    Rakuten, Rackspace, Tyco
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company15%
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Educational Organization7%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Educational Organization7%
    Company Size
    Small Business38%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise34%
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise62%
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise40%
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise59%
    Buyer's Guide
    CentOS vs. Windows Server
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about CentOS vs. Windows Server and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,994 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    CentOS is ranked 7th in Operating Systems (OS) for Business with 44 reviews while Windows Server is ranked 4th in Operating Systems (OS) for Business with 130 reviews. CentOS is rated 8.2, while Windows Server is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of CentOS writes "Relegated to a test bench, and therefore is no longer stable". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Windows Server writes "Easy to use, simple to set up, and scales well". CentOS is most compared with Oracle Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise and Oracle Solaris, whereas Windows Server is most compared with Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris. See our CentOS vs. Windows Server report.

    See our list of best Operating Systems (OS) for Business vendors.

    We monitor all Operating Systems (OS) for Business reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.