The Best Linux Distribution for your Web Server

So you have made the step into the world of server management and maintenance, either with a local or cloud based server. The next step is to choose which Operating System you want on your server, and if you have a decent brain on your head you will decide to use a linux kernel for your webserver. If you don’t have a brain of course you would opt for Microsoft Server or another proprietary variant. But there are so many Linux distributions to choose from, Which is the Best Linux Distribution for your Webserver?

Possible Linux Distribution Choices

The most popular choices that are available on most VPS and cloud hosting companies are:

1. Cent OS

2. Gentoo

3. Ubuntu

4. Debian

5. Open Suse

6. Fedora

7. FreeBSD

8. Arch Linux

9. BackTrack

Cent OS

Community Enterprise Operating System

RHEL (Red hat Enterprise Linux), free of charge. Technical support provided by community.

Yum package kit.

Supports x86 only


FreeBSD based.

emerge and portage package kit.

Supports x86 and x64

Highly customisable – long time to setup.


Debian based.

Apt, dpkg package kit.

Supports x86 and x64


Apt, dpkg package kit.

Supports x86 and x64

Open Suse

rpm package manager.


Yum, RPM package kit.


Direct descendant of BSD Unix.


Pacman package management.

highly customisable – long to setup.


OS aimed at digital forensics and penetration testing.

Good if you aim to use the server to test the vulnerabilities of another web server you own.




















So Which is the best linux Distribution for your VPS or Cloud based Web Server:

Based on the figures it seems that everyone is either going for Debian or Cent OS, according to this article. The next most popular in order are Ubuntu, Red hat, Fedora, Suse and then Gentoo.

I have experience with gentoo and I am familiar with the directory layout and the package and update manager, so I would pick Gentoo.

Debian however is the founding father of a wide range of linux distributions and hence would be a good choice. FreeBSD, purportedly based on the original unix just seems like the most legit choice for me.

If you are willing to spend hours and even days to customize and create a secure and well polished web server installation then Arch Linux or Gentoo are for you. If you would like a more out of the box solution then pick Cent OS or Debian.

My Choice in order:

please note i have only tried one of the many distributions listed here so my choice is extremely biased and way off point…but here goes

Top Nine:

1. Gentoo

2. FreeBSD

3. Archlinux

4. Debian

5. Cent OS

6. Ubuntu

7. Open SUSE

8. Fedora

9. Backtrack


The Argument for Debian