Choosing the Best Operating System for a Dedicated Server in 2018
Unlike the regular shared hosting, dedicated hosting solutions suggest that the entire server belongs to you and you can set it up in the way you’d like to. With great freedom comes great responsibility and it may become a challenge for someone who doesn’t have experience in system administration and/or his/her own IT guy. This guide is intended to shed some light on choosing the best operating system for your dedicated server in 2018.
The vast majority of web services providers offer you a wide range of choices when you’re buying a dedicated server. However, to understand which os is best for you, it’s needed to consider the way you’re going to use your server, your personal preferences and so on. Here is the list of most used server os with their specifics:
This operating system is developed specifically for shared Linux hosting and that’s the main purpose you may want it. It’s designed to host numerous user accounts and doesn’t allow one of them to overuse server resources so that other users suffer. I recommend Cloud Linux server os for those who use their servers to resell hosting and who feel that reseller hosting is too small for their needs. Hardly it has a wide usage for other goals.
Before CloudLinux was that popular among web hosting providers, the vast majority of them used CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) which is an open source distribution based on RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Even though it’s not the best solution for shared hosting nowadays (but is still used for VPS), a lot of people still like it for several reasons. First, it’s the best option for a Linux beginner as it still has RPM package manager. Also, it has good documentation and doesn’t have critical bugs thanks to an active community. So, if you need a reliable, free and supported system then CentOS is definitely for you. Also, if you need cPanel then you can use either CloudLinux or CentOS.
That’s an old good OS and there are two sides of it. One is for those who need some basic server functionality which is not complicated to get with Debian OS. Another one is a specific customization which is available for those who know what is Debian and how to set up your own server. It doesn’t have a special server edition and sometimes is not compatible with new software. Add to this lack of paid support option and most likely you won’t offer it to a newbie with a specific needs. On the other hand, it’s really stable and powerful. So it works less for basic needs of newbies and more for advanced requirements of admins who need sufficient freedom and are ready to spend time with it.
It’s a Debian based OS which is definitely among the most popular operating systems. This server operating system is known for its user-friendliness. Also, it’s pretty new which is good when it comes to compatibility with other software. Basically, it’s a user-friendlier and developed version of an older Debian so when it comes to comparison of Debian vs Ubuntu Server, a newbie would like the latter more. One of the reasons is that there is a paid support feature. Another advantage of Ubuntu is that it includes a unified package repository for all Ubuntu versions. This allows sysadmins to switch between server kernels until they find the most suitable one. Some people consider it the best OS for media server and probably the best file server OS but there are many other ways to use it on your dedicated server. Many advanced users face the centos vs ubuntu server dilemma. In this competition, Ubuntu looks better in regards to support and community but doesn’t support cPanel which is a mush for many hosting users. Also, it’s said that CentOS is more stable and reliable but this is really arguable and depends on a lot of factors.
Another OS which has a rather narrow target audience but at the same time is one of the best in its niche. Gentoo can become a hell for a Linux beginner mostly because it is designed to provide the sysadmin with a decent flexibility, control, and customization. That’s not a thing which runs well from the box and some sysadmins value this feature. They feel comfortable with a system compiled by themselves which doesn’t have unnecessary vulnerable points and features frequent updates. So, for experienced admins only.
A notable operating system which is not a derivative from some other OS (unlike Ubuntu or CentOS) but is made from scratch. Fedora is known for a lot of free software and enterprise solutions. It’s the best choice for an experienced Linux developer who is not afraid of a command line. Yep, Fedora Server doesn’t include desktop in its default configuration though it can be installed additionally. Also, it can be used as a testing environment for an enterprise.
A distributive with a rich history which begins in 1994. Unlike other distributives which feature either fixed (once per some time) or rolling updates (a stream of releases), openSUSE may be configured in any of these ways by installing Tumbleweed (stream) or Leap (rolling). Another interesting feature is a setup tool (YaST – yet another setup tool) which lets you manage the entire system from a single place. For Linux developers, it may be interesting that openSUSE includes The Open Build Service thanks to which developers are able to upload software and package their work for different distributives. Moreover, installing packages in openSUSE requires one click. OpenSUSE is probably the best OS for web server though the ability of tools makes it one of the universal solutions for a sysadmin.
Which is the Best Server OS
As you understood, the right choice depends on your purpose. Ubuntu is the most universal and user-friendly system unless you need cPanel. CentOS or Debian would work for many experienced sysadmins while Gentoo is for those who are security addicts and need a control over the system. Fedora and openSUSE are good for Linux developers.