Best Linux Server OS


What is better? Debian 8 or CentOS 7 for running a web server and why?
Computer GuyAsked:
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Kent WSr. Network / Systems AdminCommented:
Get ready for the "which Linux is better" onslaught! :)
It really depends on what you are doing, serving, and your skill set (or lack thereof) with any Flavor.

Personally, I prefer RPM based Linux (CentOS or RedHat, sometimes Fedora Core for testing and playing around).  

Both are default Apache 2 for the www server, and the actual serving really doesn't make much difference. The largest factor is...what are you most comfortable with, especially triage and recovery, when things go wrong? That's probably the most important question to answer. Both systems will perform similarly on similar hardware. As long as you tailor and secure your server to your specific serving needs, it comes down to comfort of administration.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Ubuntu is based on Debian and it is used by my web hosting company.
Computer GuyAuthor Commented:
Which is easier to recover from when something goes wrong?
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Kent WSr. Network / Systems AdminCommented:
Do you have any experience with either major flavor? If not, there are probably equal learning curves for both, and equal documentation, as both are popular.
In production, you will probably find more CentOS support than Debian.

What apps will you run along with? PHP/MySQL, etc.?
Computer GuyAuthor Commented:
I am more familer with CentOS - will load PHP and MYSQL
Kent WSr. Network / Systems AdminCommented:
I'd go with what you are more comfortable with. If you are doing just straight forward LAMP stack hosting, it's very easy to recover from a catastrophe (even a total reload of the OS), if you simply backup your www directory, httpd.conf and related files, and a dump of your database(s).
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Using CentOS now will also allow you to switch to RedHat if, in the future, you'll decide you need paid support.


Just kidding (although I -do- use CentOS). To be honest, they're all flavors of Linux. Apache is going to be Apache, no matter whether it runs on Debian or CentOS or Ubuntu or whatever.

Imagine three different roads. They are all equally straight and flat. One of them has some guard rails. Another one has some painted lines on it. The third one doesn't have guard rails or painted lines on it.

Now you drive the same car on each of those roads. It's pretty much going to be the same experience on each road, because the guard rails and paint doesn't really have any impact on how a car drives.

Similarly, each flavor of Linux is going to have different little features and stuff here and there, but they aren't really going to make one better than the other for running a web server.

All that said, the main difference is likely going to be management of the server.

CentOS and Fedora / RedHat have the "yum" package manager which is pretty easy to use, but they tend to get out of date. For example, someone running a CentOS 5 server and using yum to install/update PHP is still going to be stuck on PHP 5.2 or something like that.

Others, like Ubuntu, use apt, which often has more-up-to-date packages, but you might not want to be on the bleeding edge, either.

Personally, I like CentOS and I use yum to install all the various dependencies / libraries like libJPEG or freetype. I then install all the mission-critical components from source. That way, I'm in full control of what versions are installed for those components, and exactly how they're configured.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The answer is - as mugojava said - the one you are familiar with.
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