Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am about to order a virtual private server now, and have no experience in any Linux OS whatsoever. I am a fast learner however...

My VPS provider provides these OS:

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS 64-bit
Ubuntu 9.10
Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit
Debian 5.0
Gentoo 64-bit
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS + Ruby on rails

I don't know what these are, however I have heard about Ubuntu a lot, and know there is a lot of information about it on the Internet.

Will it make any difference which one I chose?

I plan on running a classifieds website, which uses PHP, MySql, Java (for Solr) and the usual standard stuff (HTML, javascript...).

Which should I chose? And what is the next step after choosing one?

share|improve this question
My VPS host (Slicehost) supports Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, which'll be supported until 2015. Might be worth switching/waiting for. – ceejayoz May 17 '10 at 13:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're just starting out, I'd recommend Ubuntu 8.04 or 9.10, the 64-bit variants. There's heaps of information for Ubuntu out there on the net and generally I enjoy the Ubuntu experience.

share|improve this answer
why 64-bit though? – Anonymous12345 May 17 '10 at 12:09
Personal preference/evolution. If your RAM isn't too high then 32-bit will suffice. – user1955 May 17 '10 at 12:17

Debian is one of the easiest distros to sysadmin, due to dpkg/apt package management.
Ubuntu, while not as stable as Debian, is even easier.

Gentoo, although a very fast distro, is quite hard to administrate.

share|improve this answer

Debian/Gentoo would NOT be good for a beginner. Debian is a little complicated at times, and Gentoo is downright cryptic.

If you are planning on running this vps for several years, I'd consider going with the ubuntu 8.04 LTS version. The LTS designation means Long Term Support. This means that this version of ubuntu will be supported with patch releases, etc. by Ubuntu for up to 5 years on the server. According to the ubuntu site, this version will be patched until April 2013. Common (non-lts) versions only have an 18 months support cycle, after which you must upgrade to a newer version to get patches. This can cause some issues in a server type environment.

As a side note, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was just released last month. See if your service provider has plans to implement this, as then you will have a full 5 years to go.

share|improve this answer

I would recommend using one of the ubuntu LTS releases (LTS release means you will get long term support)

Also would be worth looking into using the 64bit version if the hardware supports this, so can fully utilize the hardware the VPS provider has to offer.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.