Linux file system and its importance to web hosting

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A filesystem? Isn’t that how files and folders are organized on a Linux computer?

Linux filesystem is a set of methods, interfaces, and data structures employed by the Linux operating system to keep track of the files on the SSD/HDD disk. Therefore, the filesystem defines the way files are organized on the disk, whether on a web server or a local machine, and how users access these files.

Although the main purpose of a Linux filesystem is to organize data, the filesystem is also used to manage how data is read, written, and accessed by users in the system.

Without a filesystem, the storage device on a server or personal computer would have a big chunk of data stored randomly without the operating system differentiating them. Accessing such disorganized files would be very inefficient, slow, and resource-consuming.

Let’s look at the advantages that the Linux filesystem provides regarding web hosting in particular.

1. Linux filesystem enhances the security of website’s files

The Linux filesystem deploys two types of security controls: file protection and command protection. These controls are the most important features that Linux offers to enhance your web application’s security.

The file protection control defines who can access the files in the file system of the disk on the web server. Therefore, other users using the same machine, especially on a shared hosting setup, cannot be able to access other users’ files without permission.

The command protection control prevents unauthorized execution of binary files on a Linux environment without elevated permissions. The command protection control makes Linux an operating system that is not easily affected by malware compromises such as viruses.

Thus, the website’s files remain protected from authorized access and execution.

2. Linux filesystem enhances web application performance

Whenever users access your website, Linux operating system manages the files requested by your web application and then serves the files to the user. For example, the operating system serves the HTML files whenever a user accesses your website’s home page.

The Linux filesystem is very organized, making it easy to find these files without time wastage. Storing, retrieving, and updating website files is done very efficiently.

Thus, faster storage and retrieval of website files makes your web application respond much faster than on an operating system that does not deploy a good file organization structure.

3. Linux filesystem supports fast and scalable mapping

A modern filesystem should be very fast when mapping a name to an inode containing the files. Linux filesystem has a very fast mapping that allows instant access to a file without considering how large a directory is.

The files and directories can grow too large for a large web application.

However, the Linux filesystem is built to handle queries for file existence, permission, and ownership in a large directory with so many directories.

Querying that is not affected by the directory size makes Linux operating system filesystem a got-to choice for web hosting as it improves application performance.

4. Linux filesystem, XFS filesystem

XFS filesystem in Linux is a high-performing filesystem merged into the Linux kernel to support large files and file systems on a storage device. Hosting servers must be capable of storing a huge amount of data that can be used by a large web application or multiple web applications.

Using XFS filesystem allows web hosting services to store many small files and single large file sizes ranging from 16 Tebibytes to 8 exbibytes.

Without the XFS filesystem, some of the largest web applications won’t be able to handle large web traffic and file storage.

5. Linux filesystem, Ext4 supports high streaming read and write performance

Better read and write streaming performance on a web application means that your web application resources, such as files, will be accessed and manipulated instantly without delay.

Also, the Linux filesystem tends to perform better on systems with limited Input/Output capability.

6. Linux filesystem supports faster file system check and repair

On a web application handling a lot of data, the operating system must instantly check the data’s integrity upon change.

Moreover, the operating system must update the file before it is accessed for reading by another application or user.

Therefore, a faster file system check and repair means that the integrity of the data on a storage device is not compromised before a user accesses it. If, at one point, the data is compromised, the filesystem should instantly revert to the old data file before the error occurs.

Also, the filesystem must instantly update the file upon writing before another user accesses it.

Linux filesystem uses Ext4 and XFS to enable a web application to perform faster, handle data from multiple users in real-time, and store a large number of small files and large files.

Moreover, the Linux filesystem plays a great role in web hosting by allowing file querying to be much faster while maintaining the security of the files.

The querying process ensures that files’ metadata, such as ownership, access, and permissions, are maintained to preserve the integrity of the data.

Besides, enhanced file access and execution prevent authorized execution of binary files that would lead to malware compromises on the website’s files.

These features ensure that the web application performs faster, remains reliable, and efficiently serves the website users without downtime.

That’s it for this article. But, before you go, check the web hosting services that use Linux filesystem if you’re considering purchasing web hosting for WordPress websites or Custom-made web applications.

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Badi here, creator of— A website dedicated to providing helpful information and how-to's of web development and hosting. Inspired by a fascination to write the most efficient code to make a computer laugh, & humans, Steve has a passion for organizing characters to create code and informative content.
What makes me happy?
Well, nothing like the feeling of finally figuring out that one pesky bug that's been driving me crazy.

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