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I've the choice of crafting a NetBSD image for a Xen VPS host, and was just wanting to play around as I like BSD and wished to use it for my general web hosting. I will be hosting a low-mid traffic website and maybe a few other simple services.

Do you think NetBSD would be a sufficient choice, in terms of general performance of multiple system users and fair amount of traffic to Apache compared to what Linux could normally handle?

I am concerned if I do start to really like it and keep it, I may be limiting myself if I am to move further with my web host and get more traffic (and maybe a lot of FTP access and user shell accounts)


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IMHO shell accounts don't belong on a (production) web server. – Sven Jul 6 '11 at 14:03
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Any *NIX operating system is capable of doing what you want (See SvenW's comment though -- generally you don't want to put "untrusted" shell accounts on your web server).

If you're familiar with NetBSD it's a good choice. If you're relatively new to the whole BSD/Unix game I would suggest starting with FreeBSD only because there's a larger user community & better documentation in the form of The FreeBSD Handbook (though you can pretty well grab any *nix system and apply the principles there and be well on your way).

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I am sure you could do what you want with any of the BSDs. However one thing to keep in mind is package availability. If this site is using one of the main web scripting languages, you might want to make sure that all the ancillary packages you might want are also available.

For example, let's say you are using PHP. If you later want to add image manipulation to the app, or pdf support, are the packages for that available for the OS you picked?

A Linux distro with a large user community around it will have many more, well tended packages than another OS with a relatively smaller user base.

I like BSD as well, but for a webserver, I'd likely go with Linux.

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It takes exactly 2 minutes to add GD support via /usr/ports/lang/php5-extensions in *BSD. Packages for *BSD are widely supported and well maintained. Plus there is something called source if you really need something right away. Also loved your jab at small user base; bigger is not always better. – Aleksey Korzun Jul 6 '11 at 16:40
Heh, easy. There is something to be said for more people using a piece of software. – Nathan Powell Jul 8 '11 at 18:51

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