Linux is still the most popular operating system for web servers and choosing the ideal Linux server distro can be confusing. Most of the administrators are using Linux running Apache, MySQL, and PHP which is referred to as a LAMP. In some cases, the administrators can prefer Nginx instead of Apache, which is called as LEMP.
There are other web servers and database solutions as well. Linux and FOSS worlds are very huge and you can pick any of them. In this article, we are going to help IT administrators to find the ideal Linux distro for servers to suit their needs.
Here are some of the best Linux server distros in 2023 you can take a look at before deciding.
After Red Hat announced that the company is shifting its focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream, CloudLinux, the company behind KernelCare and CloudLinux OS, introduced its CentOS alternative The experienced team managed to release the first stable release on 30 March. AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8. Alma, which means soul in Spanish and other Latin languages, represents the diverse developer community. The project is currently backed by a $1M annual sponsorship from CloudLinux until 2029 and the company also established a nonprofit organization, AlmaLinux OS Foundation. The distribution will also get CIS and FIPS certifications to run in a secure environment. CloudLinux also stated that the community will be involved in key decision making and it will always be free and open-source.
- Read the latest AlmaLinux News
Rocky Linux is also announced after RedHat’s CentOS decision. The project is announced by the Co-Founder of CentOS, Gregory Kurtzer. The operating system is designed to be 100% bug-for-bug compatible with RHEL 8. The organization released the first release candidate is available for testing. The OS aims to function as a downstream build as CentOS had done previously. Rocky Linux is sponsored by various companies including, AWS, MontaVista, and Ctrl IQ. The Rocky Linux team stated that their goal is not to create a community-managed RPM-based distribution of Linux, but to ensure that it will remain freely available and always in the control of the community. The team also stated that the infrastructure is built from the ground up by many collaborators and sponsoring organizations around composability and security compliance.
- Read the latest Rocky Linux News
Ubuntu is also one of the most popular distros. Canonical, developer of Ubuntu Servers, releases in a Long Term Support (LTS) format every two years and offers five years of guaranteed free upgrades. It is also a public cloud certified operating system, which provides compatibility in case of migrations.
Ubuntu Server’s scale-out functionality allows administrators to adapt it to their needs. Ubuntu is also known for its minimal resource needs. Ubuntu team also claims that depending on the needs, the operating system can be supported with less than the minimum recommended resources.
- Read the latest Ubuntu News
Another popular Linux server distro is openSUSE. It offers two different release schedules. openSUSE Tumbleweed is a rolling-release and recommended for developers and openSUSE contributors. openSUSE’s regular-release is called Leap and it is released annually. Leap uses a Common Base System with SUSE Linux Enterprise.
Leap is recommended for system administrators and enterprise developers. openSUSE offers a web portal that administrators can install software from the repository which allows one-click installation. Another important feature openSUSE offers is YaST, the control center allowing users to control almost all the basic settings.
- Read the latest openSUSE News
Debian is one of the oldest distros in our list. It was started in 1993 by Ian Murdock. Debian also provides more than 59.000 free packages bundled up. Debian is also known for its easy installation and easy upgrades. It is also easy to find lots of online resources to solve issues concerning Debian.
Debian also supports most CPU architectures, including alpha, amd64, armel, hppa, i386, ia64, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, and sparc. Debian also offers a publicly available bug tracking system for users to submit bug reports.
- Read the latest Debian News
Fedora is a Linux server operating system packed with open-source technology. It is a short-lifecycle, community-supported server operating system. Fedora server OS includes multiple package management tools, including dnf, yum, packagekit, rpm, and yumex, thus offers a better package management system.
Fedora also uses the Bell-La Padula Mandatory Access Model which is an effective multi-level security model allows having different levels of security user can choose. Fedora is also called a bleeding edge distro, which means it is always rolling out with the latest software, driver updated, and Linux features available.
- Read the latest Fedora News
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Price: Starting at $349/year
Money-back guarantee: None
Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL for short, was also found in 1993 and became a major player in the Linux server distros. It also has a lifecycle of 10 years, which includes kernel stability, ABI and API compatibility. RHEL also allows kernel patching without system reboots. RHEL subscriptions come with Red Hat Insights, IT analytics service that detects potentials issues.
Red Hat also offers many paid tools to help administrators. Unfortunately, the basic subscription doesn’t include customer support, can only be deployed on physical systems and can’t be stacked with other subscriptions.
- Read the latest Red Hat News