I'm using an extra computer I have as a dedicated server, and I'm trying to figure out a few things. First of all, which distribution of linux would you recommend? I love ubuntu, but I'd like to see other thoughts (I know that CentOS is used a lot, as well as RedHat).

Anyway, what I really would like is a web based dedicated server manager. I didn't really love webmin, and I don't need something like ISPConfig or cPanel. What other programs do you recommend?

I need the server for web hosting mainly, but I might run some other stuff on it as well.

3 Answers 3


I won't try to sell you on Webmin (I'm one of the developers), but I will point out that for web hosting management, Virtualmin is the project you want...not Webmin by itself. Webmin is a general purpose systems management GUI, and does very little to make web hosting tasks easier or quicker. Virtualmin is built on top of Webmin and is intended for virtual hosting, and makes a lot of tedious tasks very simple. So, if you've looked at Webmin for virtual hosting management, but not Virtualmin, you were looking at the wrong project, and it shouldn't be at all surprising that it wasn't what you wanted.

  • Sam: if you get the sense that your IQ is a bit too high for you to achieve full appreciation of WHM/cPanel, you'll probably love Webmin/Virtualmin. It does not insult your intelligence in any way.
    – Skyhawk
    Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 23:46
  • Thanks. I tried virtualmin, and it was nice, but not what I needed. I think my problem isn't looking for an alternative, but just looking at a slightly different category of software. Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 1:08
  • Actually, I just tried webmin (without virtualmin), and it is just what I need. Thanks a lot. Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 3:01

You can get a good idea of options here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_hosting_control_panels

Ubuntu/Debian is great. So is CentOS. So is FreeBSD. Depends on your needs and experience. You can force yourself to learn something new by playing around, but if you are selling the hosting and need something stable, it is best to go with what you know.


For a server I can't recommend CentOS highly enough. It is a RedHat variant with a good community and documentation.

For the administration of the box, I would recommend that you learn how to admin the machine from the cli rather than a gui at first so that you can learn about the basics of the OS and so that you aren't learning new software and a new operating system at the same time.

  • I know linux already, and I use SSH as often as possible, so that isn't a problem. Also, I have had some experience with CentOS Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 18:21
  • 1
    @Sam If you know Linux already and have experience with CentOS I would go this route. Pretty web GUIs aren't the way to admin a *nix box in my personal opinion, and you'll get more mileage out of your system (not to mention better overall security) if you avoid them...
    – voretaq7
    Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 18:50
  • I know that, but it just makes my life easier if common tasks are done for me. Anyway, thanks for recommending CentOS. I'll try it out. I'd up-vote you, but I don't have the rep on this site yet. Commented Mar 21, 2011 at 21:47

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