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 looked a bit but didn't see any duplicate of this so my question is which free (open source) OS do you use on servers and why do you use that OS?


I have a VPS at Linode. There is a broad range of options for which OS I can put on it including both 32 and 64bit OSs. I just use it to run my small blog and for hosting random files. It's very low traffic.

I have been using 64-bit Arch Linux on my VPS and though I love the OS for general usage, for a server the constant breakage is troublesome. So I'm considering trying something new and am looking for suggestions.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Mark Henderson Jul 31 '12 at 0:52

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I've been running Ubuntu Server 10.04 locally, in a VM, for a while. The server variant is intended to be stable, with a software selection suitable for servers. In addition, 10.04 is a a long-term support edition, so It will be supported for five years.

share|improve this answer
Five years. Non-LTS versions are supported for three years. – ceejayoz Jun 1 '10 at 1:30
Thanks for the correction; the non-long-term version must be the one I was thinking of when I first typed my response. I've amended it. – Grant Palin Jun 1 '10 at 2:08
If telling people you use Ubuntu is too embarrassing you can always use Debian (stable, as mentioned in other answers). Ubuntu Server is pretty solid though - just beware the distribution upgrade :) – Matthew Iselin Jun 1 '10 at 5:34

Well, VPS's are limited primarily by I/O, CPU (OS independent, as you know) and RAM. I would go with the smallest footprint that has functionality that you're comfortable with. I've never used Arch, but from what I've heard, it's got a relatively small footprint. You could try Debian or Slack or whatever, really.

Why are you paying for a VPN, though, when you could just use VirtualBox to test with?

share|improve this answer
"Why are you paying for a VPN, though, when you could just use VirtualBox to test with?" um what? I'm not saying I'll test new OSs on my VPS – Earlz Jun 1 '10 at 1:48
It just sounded like you were happy with Arch, but wanted to try something different. – Matt Simmons Jun 1 '10 at 12:43

Disclaimer: As the tags say, this whole question/answer set contains a good proportion of personal opinion, and another good chunk will be popular opinion.

As with everything it's a trade off.

This one is between an os that is thoroughly tested and known stable and one that offers the latest drivers, packages and bugfixes.

At one end of the spectrum is Non-LTS Ubuntu, Arch Linux (based on what you've said) and Gentoo.

At the other end is Debian stable, RHEL, Slackware, Particular versions of Ubuntu LTS (imho 8.04).

In the middle are things like Debian testing, SLES (i could be wrong on this one) and the rest of Ubuntu LTS.

So my personal opinion for deciding on a server os is first work out what you wish to gain from the change, if its complete stability my opinion is that you can't go past debian stable. (apt doesn't hurt either).

If you want something in between my suggestion would be ubuntu lts.

Again this is a good part personal opinion and i don't mind saying im not a fan of rpms or yum, i still have nightmares of the redhat 5 era dependency hell. (and yes i've used yum, but its a case of once bitten twice shy).

share|improve this answer

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