I have the freedom to pick an OS for a server, so I want to dedicate my time and effort in learning one platform. My main objective is to start with something that would be as efficient as possible when load gets heavy.

By efficiency I mean anything from tcp/ip stack speed to thread handling and whatever could impact a busy web server. Any recommendation is appreciated.

  • The BSD variants do have a reputation for higher security. – PP. Oct 8 '10 at 12:25

Unless you have some very specific use-case or code then I'd strongly urge you to simply pick the OS you're most comfortable installing, configuring and maintaining as most times these days they're much the same from a security, performance and functionality standpoint.

So basically go with the latest version of the one you're already happy with.

Good luck.

  • so basically in terms of performance they are so close that it's not worth being picky about which linux/bsd I go with? – anonymous Oct 8 '10 at 9:51
  • again it depends on what you're doing (got loads of .NET code? go with W2K8; got loads of Java? might be more tempted to go the Linux route) - for basic web hosting most linux distros are pretty close in performance. But if it's purely performance you care about then I'd stick to a 'big-name' such as RHEL/SUSE as their support is great and you may need it - I'd also be spending more time on my end-to-end network-to-server design than the specific distro right now. Oh make sure you go 64-bit unless you have a strong reason not to ok. – Chopper3 Oct 8 '10 at 10:20

totally based in my experience. I could give a generic answer as "important is to get an OS which you are most comfortable installing", but when we are speaking about, for example, VPS, or any other kind of "server as service", that install is just matter of a click. I would use another factors to decide it. I like to use debian and ubuntu. Here are my strong points about both:

  • Easy to upgrade, update and compile new packages. If something don't compile in debian, it don't compile at all :-)

  • Easy to be up and running with a new deamon

  • apt-get && aptitude are great to install and to solve dependencies

  • Good as servers, good as desktops

Said that, i manage 4 servers, running debian, apache, mysql, passenger and i' really happy that i dont have to touch CentOS anymore.

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