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Linux server distributions: Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, OpenSUSE, Fedora

Linux server distributions: Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, OpenSUSE, Fedora

Listing and Description of Popular Distributions.

Linux servers are reputed to be the most popular operating systems in the world for websites hosting services. This has a lot to do with the efficiency and high performance of these servers over the years.

Linux is just a kernel, and not a complete operating system, hence, the reason why developers have moved step further to develop Linux distros in a bid to combine the features with the Linux kernel to make it a complete operating system. Linux distros also enable easier Linux installations.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing your Linux Server distro, and many times, customers choose their distros because of some certain personal preferences and other considerations. While this is not wrong, it is important to seek expert advice before making your choice as to the Linux distro to use on your server.

Different Linux distros are suited to meet different personal/server needs and it’s fine to select a distro based on personal biases because no Linux distro can be said to be better than another. However, for web users who have no idea what distro of Linux they should use, here are some of the most popular distros right now that are safe to choose from:

  1. Ubuntu; Although Ubuntu is popular for running an operating system best suited for desktop computers, it’s also a leading distro for Linux servers. Ubuntu runs an open-source operating system suitable for cloud computing servers, and very popular for its sturdy security features. It is a Debian based Linux distro and so prioritizes free software and user-friendliness. Server installation is quite easy and can be done by any IT enthusiast. Ubuntu is the most popular distro among the Linux Server users and is adapted to suit a lot of purposes.
  2. CentOS; CentOS is yet another popular distro of Linux that is cost-effective. It is a consistent, easy to manage platform that works with a wide range of deployments. It runs an open-source model and has afflictions with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This affiliation is an advantage to its CentOS users because they can access RHEL without paying the necessary subscription charges.
  3. Debian; Debian is another Linux distro you can consider when choosing Linux server distributions. It is known for its stability and solidity, and is also referred to as the ‘mother of Ubuntu-based distributions’.
  4. OpenSUSE; OpenSUSE is known for its drive towards creating rich server features for software developers and server system operators.
  5. Fedora: Fedora Linux distro was developed to make operating systems easy to use for everyone. The Fedora distro also offers its users reliability, efficiency and affords the users the opportunity of choosing from either of its three versions – the workstation, server and atomic host. The Fedora Server is specifically designed for server operations.


We would be comparing the above listed Linux distros as follows:

  • Ubuntu; Ubuntu probably tops the chart when it comes to popularity. It has its own software repositories that are mostly sourced from Debian’s. Every 6 months, Ubuntu offers new releases with better long-term support. Ubuntu was actually developed to work on the weaknesses of the Debian distro and make it more user-friendly. Ubuntu also makes its own desktop environment.
  • CentOS; Although RHEL’s software cannot be redistributed, it is free for CentOS users, and therefore contributes to its cost-effective advantage. It’s also one of the most stable distros available for servers.
  • Debian; Debian comprises only of free, open – source software with different versions, and is best known for its stability and conservative style.
  • OpenSUSE; After Ubuntu, OpenSUSE is the most user-friendly Linux server distro, and like Fedora, is a more bleeding Linux edge version for servers.
  • Fedora; Fedora focuses on free software. Like OpenSUSE, Fedora is a bleeding Linux edge version and cannot be banned upon for stability like the Debian distro.


  • Ubuntu; Ubuntu Linux distro is easy to use, works independently, has much more software than other distros, and has zero tolerance for errors. It also has a large software library and a good UI making it a lucrative choice for server applications, especially with beginners.
  • CentOS; CentOS Linux distro ensures stability and reduced risk of errors. Apart from the fact that its affiliations with Red Hat makes it cost-effective, it also gives it access to enterprise-level security updates which also makes CentOS an option for dedicated servers.
  • Debian: Debian Linux distro for servers is flexible and stable. It also has the advantage of being suitable for conservative – styled operating systems.
  • OpenSUSE: OpenSUSE has customized features that help its users determine how they want their servers to look like with its server DIY functions. It has the best installation and setup tool compared to other distros. Thus, it is well suited for developers.
  • Fedora: Fedora distro for servers has amazing security advantages for server applications, and is backed up by Red Hat. It is easy to use, enjoys large community support, and is a bleeding-edge Linux distro which means that always upgrades to the latest software and Linux updates. Fedora also has high-performance qualities and is generally a solid  server distro.


  • CentOS: CentOS distro server doesn’t have as many features as other Linux distros and doesn’t work with some kinds of software.
  • Debian: It is strictly open source and may experience difficulties working with devices that need proprietary drivers.
  • OpenSUSE: Compared to other distros, OpenSUSE is slow on startup and has shown unstable upgrade processes over the years
  • Fedora: Fedora distro sever is not so easy to use especially when compared with Ubuntu.
  • Ubuntu: Ubuntu distro for servers lacks driver support when compared to other Linux server distros. It also lacks good hardware support for Ubuntu OS, and because it doesn’t come installed in modern computers, users may find it difficult to install it by themselves.


For Linux server distros to function optimally as a complete operating system, they have to work together with certain Linux server compatible distros. These distros have different features that suit different needs and challenges and should be carefully analyzed before a choice is made as to which is suitable for a particular user.

Among the most popular Linux server distros are the CentOS, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora and Debian distros, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Users should be wise and source for help from IT experts should they experience any difficulties choosing the best distros to suit their needs.