Choosing the right OS for Server

Hi there,

I have a “big problem” about choosing the right Server-OS.

I installed Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS on test servers. A lot of persons recommend Debian and a lot as well CentOS. I also really like the Ubuntu distro. The big advantage of CentOS is actually that it is supported around 10 years. Ubuntu LTS and Debian is “just” supported five years.
I really like that idea of having a system running for 10 years, but on the other hand I think after five years as well it looks really old and it might be better to install the new version of CentOS.
From all the handling I like Ubuntu / Debian the most. What I don’t really like on Ubuntu is that there are a lot of Updates. That could also be an advantage in my opinion. I don’t have that much experience with Debian at the moment, I just installed it a few days ago.
Which OS are you guys using and which one would you recommend me?

Thanks a lot

i have worked with all kinds of distros, since when i was 15, i myself would say you use centos7…might be de easiest way of installing virtual min completly without any errors. And why is that??? many distro have no webmin or virtual min supported on there distro…there are no packages so MOST likely u would fail the configuration for a server to run.

Stay with Debian, I would suggest since you value stability and long term support.

Hi Calport,

thanks a lot for your reply. That sounds pretty good actually, and I really like the handling of the Debian system.
You also use Debian on your servers?
Thanks a lot

I do use Debian 9 with Virtualmin on some servers, yes. However I have to use CentOS 7 or Ubuntu 18 on others. Different horses for different courses.


Thanks a lot to @makleinx and @calport for your really good input.
I definitely accept the reply of @makleinx about CentOS. CentOS is a really good, secure and robust system and with a really long LTS period.
But I think for now I will just go for Debian what @calport is recommending. As well it’s a really good and robust system and in my opinion, it’s running “lighter” on my test servers. My final decision for that was actually because I feel more comfortable to administrate a “apt-get” distribution. Since years I’m using on my Desktop-PC Ubuntu, or a derivate (like Mint for example).
Maybe soon I will put Fedora (or maybe there is a better derivate out it, with longer support for a desktop system) again on it to get used again to a yum/dnf (RedHat) distro and then in a later stage I will move to CentOS.

On my general tests, I was not really happy with Ubuntu, I mean I don’t want to say that’s a bad distro, but with all the updates and the required reboots it’s getting a little bit annoying. I just operate one production server at the moment, but I think in this case it’s better to have really solid tested software before putting it on a production environment, what definitely CentOS offers and as far as I can see Debian as well. The really good part of Ubuntu is that they have a really huge community and really good tutorials, you actually can find everything about it and I totally agree that Ubuntu is really good for beginners to have their first server running in a very easy, “guided” and relaxed way.

Again, thanks a lot to @calport and @makleinx for your good input, since days I was thinking about it, now I can sleep better at night :smiley:

I’ve been using CentOS for years. In fact, I just decided to stick on what I know. The small amount of updates and the way releases like PHP versions are handled has been probably saving me a lot of time.
It works well on very small memory systems and a big swap size.
Yeah, it is very robust. Never got hacked.
The bad, actualy, is that virtualmin team is working hard on keeping up every thing working both on centos 7 and the new centos 8. If you make an install today centos 7 (completly fresh install with no updates prior to install virtualmin), it works like a charm.

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That’s kind of how I look at it. I’ve been on CentOS since there was such a thing. I’ve tried other distros, and although they all have their good points, none of them have been compelling enough for me to switch from what I’m already comfortable with and (reasonably) competent at.

If I were to use another distro, it would probably be Debian. I’ve run Debian on testing servers and office file servers, and I’m impressed enough and familiar enough with it that I could spin up a Debian server confidently if I had to.

My desktop (actually, laptop) distro of choice is Arch, which I guess is a manifestation of my hidden masochistic tendencies.

I’ve also been playing around with Manjaro lately, which is Arch-derived, but attempts to take some of the pain out of Arch. Unfortunately, it adds some pain of its own, especially as regards the GUI for pacman. I don’t recall it ever getting through a set of updates without my having to go into the shell and fix the mess (which kind of defeats the purpose of having a GUI for pacman).

I’ve never tried Arch on a public server, and I doubt I ever will.

I know a lot of folks swear by Ubuntu server, but I haven’t noticed any compelling advantages to Ubuntu versus straight Debian, at least for server use. Frankly, I don’t care much for it for desktop use, either. I’d use something like Mint or Debian over Ubuntu. I guess it depends on whether you know what you want the machine to do and how to make it do that, without the training wheels.


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