CentOS vs Debian vs Ubuntu

I have a number of domains on a shared hosted platform at 1and1.com It is time to move them to a dedicated server so I can have SSL certificates for all the domains. I already have a dedicated root server running Windows Server 2008R2 with 1and1. I’m going to spin up another root server, this time with Linux. I’m interesting in using LetEncypt to auto provision certs for my sites, and the only stable client is for Linux. 1and1 offer the following flavors of Linux, and to be honest I’m not sure which one to go with:
CentOS 6 (64 bit)
CentOS 7 (64 bit)
Debian 7 (64 bit)
Debian 8 (64 bit)
Ubuntu 12.0.4 LTS (64 bit)
Ubuntu 14.0.4 LTS (64 bit)

They also offer Plesk 12 with:
CentOS 6 with Plesk 12.5 (64 bit)
CentOS 7 with Plesk 12.5 (64 bit)
Ubuntu 14.0.4 LTS with Plesk 12.5 (64 bit)

I’d like it to be easy to manage. I haven’t written anything for Linux with Xojo, but would like the flexibility to be able to run something on the server down the line.

Without going in to a distro war, can anyone point me in the right direction. I’m leaning towards Ubuntu 14.0.4 LTS with Plesk 12.5 (64 bit), so maybe chime in if you have strong opinions on why this is right, or wrong.

I am happy with Xojo standalone web apps running on Ubuntu 15.04 64-bit with VNC to manage it.

There are no libraries to install, but I do install VNC (compatible with MacOS X ‘Screen Sharing’), Network Time Protocol (NTP, to keep clocks in sync) and Scheduled Tasks (to launch the apps on reboot and run a backup shell at 11 pm nightly). I run one WebApp and four console apps continuously (shares the CPU load) on each server (I have multiple identical servers, one per client).

I’m using Ubuntu 14.04 64bit myself on several machines. It’s pretty much my go to distro until the next LTS comes out in a couple of months or so.

Ubuntu is the one that is most likely to have everything you need and you will find everything you are looking for when googling for ubuntu something.

There really is no difference between Linux versions. Apache, Nginx, PHP and everything else is exactly the same. It just differs in how easy it is to install and package managers.

Ubuntu is based on debian. Debian has much harder to use installer, though when you do this 2-3 times, it becomes simple. But debian and ubuntu are pretty much the same.

If you want to host websites with ssl keys, you can easily do many websites on the same box with Nginx f.ex. if you want separations between these boxes, I understand.

It is important though to pick one system and stick with it. After 3-4 months, you will not remember anything about anything, setups, passwords, location of configs, kernel versions or anything else. So to minimise the confusion that will happen, pick one, and stay with it.

Ubuntu has LTS versions, that is Long Time Service. Which means you are good for 5 years at least with upgrades and security patches, so pick one with LTS.

For a server, you don’t want any GUI running on it, just text mode, so pick Ubuntu LTS server. It is better to pick the latest ones, they are patches and have the ssl vulnerabilities taken care of.


I have a 1&1 Dedicated Server with CentOS 7 x64 Plesk 12.5. Works like a charm here.

And i like CentOS more because of the longer support and Updates (ca. 10 Years). So CentOS 7 will get Updates till 2024 (maintenance) and Full (aka Feature) Updates till 2020.

But yes select one an stick with it.

Ubuntu Server is our first choice for hosting Xojo web apps. HAProxy is our first choice for load balancing those Xojo web apps. Ubuntu Server and HAProxy are very popular. Documentation and support from the Linux community are excellent.

Thanks for the feedback.

I have not used Plesk before. I presume it is just a GUI for configuration. I presume it will not limit anything I can do with the command line, nor prevent me from installing or running anything else down the line?

Ubuntu and Raspbian are both based on Debian so if you get comfortable with Ubuntu, you’ll have an easy time with Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

[quote=252439:@David Andrews]Thanks for the feedback.

I have not used Plesk before. I presume it is just a GUI for configuration. I presume it will not limit anything I can do with the command line, nor prevent me from installing or running anything else down the line?[/quote]
Well, with plesk on a vserver you can manage several vhosts, i.e. different independant websites which share the same IP-address.
You have to google well before you install anything, or test it on second vserver before…

For instance, if you simply go and install a haproxy on your vserver, it may well interfere with the existing plesk/lamp setup.

I use several vservers with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and I like it because I quickly find answers online to pretty much any issue I might encounter.