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How to Choose the Right OS for Your Linux-Based VPS
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How to Choose the Right OS for Your Linux-Based VPS

If you’re looking for an alternative operating system (OS) to Windows for your virtual private server (VPS), consider Linux. It is open-source software that supports high-volume and multiple threading applications. 

Furthermore, it enables you to customize core components, such as the kernel, graphical server, and bootloader. For that reason, many web developers use Linux for their VPS.

This article will discuss common Linux operating systems and how to choose the right one for your Linux VPS. Let’s get started!

Common Linux-Based OS for VPS

Each Linux-based OS includes a Linux kernel that manages hardware resources and connects its functionality to the application software. There are many versions of Linux to suit your needs – known as Linux distributions.

Diagram of the Linux Kernel Architecture

For example, Linux is a suitable choice for those learning how to start a blog and looking for solutions to run it in a stable and reliable environment. Many Linux distributions are also compatible with popular blogging platforms like WordPress, so you won’t have to deal with software compatibility issues.

Here are some popular Linux distribution options for a VPS.

CentOs

It is one of the best Linux distributions providing robust security and stable software. That’s why many businesses use CentOs for their projects. It is also built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which supports automation, microservices, and other features, making it more efficient for businesses.

Furthermore, CentOs offers various control panels, such as cPanel, VestaCP, and Webmin. Any one of these will help you to easily maintain the server and website.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu offers an interface that is suitable for beginners, which is why it is the most popular Linux distribution. Moreover, it is flexible and compatible with various architectures, including x86 and ARM.

Since Ubuntu supports a scale-out computing model, you can freely add up to 100 nodes to the server. It also integrates with various software like MongoDB, Apache Hadoop, and Inktank Ceph.

Debian

If you want to have stable server performance, Debian is an excellent choice. Its focus is on stability, as developers thoroughly test the software before including it in the repository. This means Debian users can run the same version for long periods.

Debian also offers over 51,000 packages which are free to download. With its extensive community support, you can find many discussions related to the operating system. 

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

This is the best Linux distribution for enterprise-class platforms as it provides a powerful and reliable environment. With its various tools, from automation to visualization, you can easily manage extensive data like data containers.

Moreover, RHEL offers excellent support with a life cycle of up to 10 years and can be extended. Throughout this time, users will receive the latest updates with bug fixes, feature upgrades, and security patches.

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is an easy-to-manage platform that works with popular Linux desktop apps. It is also compatible with various cloud services, such as Google Cloud, AWS, and IBM Cloud. Therefore, you can run on-demand services, which benefits your VPS environment.

Aside from that, OpenSUSE offers a modular architecture, allowing you to perform reproducible builds across architectures and other distributions.

Choosing the Right OS for Your VPS

While there are various distributions for Linux-based VPS, it is crucial to opt for the one that can meet your needs. To help you select the right distribution for your Linux operating system, consider the following factors.

1. Performance

High-performance computing allows you to process large amounts of data and solve complex problems quickly. This can benefit your Linux server operations by reducing the need for physical tests, and saving money and time.

Note that the performance of your VPS also depends on the hardware’s quality and your chosen hosting service. That’s why we recommend finding a web hosting provider with a good reputation, like Hostinger, Bluehost, or Dreamhost. You can check our list of Linux hosting providers for a full review of these companies.

2. Ease of Use

An intuitive interface is vital for every user as it helps you operate the server seamlessly. As a result, you’ll be more efficient and productive. Before selecting your Linux operating system, check whether the installation process is straightforward or requires technical know-how.

It’s important to note that Linux isn’t known for its graphical interface, such is the case for the Windows operating system being widely recognized for its user-friendliness. However, some Linux distributions like Ubuntu enable you to configure without a command line.

3. Cost

While many Linux distributions are free to use, some offer commercial solutions that charge license fees. Therefore, it’s essential to understand your goals first before deciding on the right operating system.

A commercial distribution like RHEL is specifically designed for businesses and enterprise-level companies. It offers support and high scalability to meet operational needs, but costs upwards of hundreds of dollars. However, using a free Linux distribution is still a great option for beginners and smaller-scale projects. 

4. Features

Another factor to consider is the distribution’s features and whether they are sufficient to support your needs and goals. For example, RHEL provides more comprehensive features than other Linux distributions, making it perfect for large businesses.

To give you a better idea, here are some essential factors to consider in different operating systems:

  • Protected and supervisor mode – allows the Linux kernel to maintain and modify certain CPU functions.
  • Resource allocation – helps resources redistribute to other programs in need.
  • Resource and information protection – keeps resources and data safe from security threats.
  • Error handling – fixes issues that can occur in the operating system.
  • Program execution – breaks down operating system tasks into steps, including manipulating data and executing code.
  • Input and output management – organizes input and output devices, such as keyboards, USB devices, and touchpads. 

5. Pre-Installed Packages

All Linux-based systems utilize client applications to manage software. Some distributions come with pre-installed packages, while system administrators must install other packages if needed.

There are various ways to check which packages are included in your Linux installation. One of them is by running these commands:

  • apt list –installed for Debian and Ubuntu.
  • sudo yum list installed for CentOs and RHEL.

Note that other command variations might be more effective for this. For example, to list all software packages on Ubuntu, use the $ apt list command.

6. Security

Since security breaches can harm your system, it’s crucial to find the best Linux distribution that can protect your web server and other data. Linux is considered a very secure OS with robust built-in security features, such as strict user privileges and kernel firewalls.

Some Linux distributions that are known to provide robust security are BlackArch Linux, CentOs, and Discreete Linux. With these systems, you can build a safe environment for your VPS.

7. Technical Support

Linux distributions have a massive community of developers that can help answer any queries. Many developers make their contributions to the kernel and software regularly. 

Through this community, you can quickly find solutions to common issues other Linux users also face. Ubuntu and Debian have some of the largest communities with thousands of developers and contributors worldwide, which is excellent for beginner Linux users.

Conclusion

Linux is a popular operating system that programmers and web developers widely use. Besides its open-source nature, Linux offers high customization options, a broad range of applications, and robust security. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative to using a Windows server.

However, choosing the right operating system for your Linux-based VPS is crucial as it affects various aspects, from the web server and operations to the site’s performance. 

To recap, here are seven factors you should consider before selecting an OS for your Linux VPS:

  1. Performance
  2. Usability
  3. Pricing
  4. Features
  5. Pre-installed packages
  6. Security
  7. Technical support

We hope this article has helped you narrow down the most suitable Linux operating system for your VPS. Good luck!

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