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I am about to start using linux at home and for running an apache server - in order to build up some skills in this area.

I have been used to working with a wamp setup and am wondering what the mos common linux distribution is in commercial settings running web servers?

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migrated from Aug 28 '10 at 10:31

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It really depends on how you want to manage it, the kind of support you want (commercial, paid support, community support, no support at all), how often you want to upgrade your distribution, etc.

The most commonly used distributions for servers are probably:

In the RedHat family:

  • RedHat ES: has commercial support (paid) ;
  • Fedora: the base for RedHat, more cutting-edge, released more often (once every 6 months) ;
  • CentOS: a free rebuild of RedHat ES, without any support ;

In the Debian family:

  • Debian: community support, no commercial support; released usually once every 2 years or so ;
  • Ubuntu: derived from Debian, has commercial (paid) support, as well as a good community support ; released once every 6 months, with a Long Term Support (LTS) release once every 2 years.


  • SuSE: procuded by Novell, quite commonly used, especially for virtualized environments (Xen).
  • Gentoo: a different kind of distribution, where you are not provided with binary packages, but have to build your whole system by choosing which options/features you want to activate ; allows to really control what you activate on your server, but there is no support or guaranty of stability.

There are tons of other distributions that exist (just look on to get an idea), and most sysadmins have their favorite system (mine would be Debian/Ubuntu for example).

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Good summary, though I would add that I know of not a single person using Fedora as a commercial, production web server. – EEAA Aug 28 '10 at 13:21
I don't know of big companies who would use Fedora or Gentoo on production servers, but I know individual people who use them and provide SaaS on these OSes. – ℝaphink Aug 28 '10 at 13:27

Most comon flavors are debian (ubuntu) or redhat (centos) based.
Try both (debian/ubuntu or centos) and see the one is fit for you.
Another option is opensuse. Very nice distro.


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In a commercial setting I'd say the most common linuces used for webserving are:

Redhat based:

  • Redhat
  • Centos
  • Fedora

Centos Fedora

Fedora is in my opinion less useful as it is intended as a development/cutting edge distro, i.e. it changes a lot. Redat and Centos are more stable and suffer less from major (read incompatible) version changes.

Debian for debian based distros.

Since you want to do this at home I'd suggest Centos or Debian, depending on which ditro base you want to use.

My personal preference is redhat - the reason for which is that more commercial software/hardware vendors (experically tier one vendors) actively support redhat, than debian or suse (the other major redhat based commercial distro).

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This, though old, might help form an informed opinion:

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