centos vs ubuntu

CentOS vs Ubuntu: Choosing the best OS for the server

When it comes to the Linux operating system, many people mean it as an alternative to the Windows operating system. But why is there only one Windows and many Linux operating systems?

The fact is that Linux is first of all a kernel, the basis of an operating system. Everything else is distributions that are built from the kernel. In this article we will look at two popular Linux distributions Ubuntu and CentOS.

If you plan to buy a server or install your own on a colocation facility. Or you have decided to order a dedicated server, but can not decide which Linux distribution to choose, then we will try to help you.

Which one should I choose for a beginner? Or perhaps for a professional?

What is CentOS?

CentOS (Community ENTerprise Operating System) is an open source Linux distribution based on the commercial Red Hat distribution. This distribution has been available since 2004 and was one of the most popular distributions used for commercial purposes until 2021.

At its core, it uses software packages in RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) format. But after CentOS was taken over by Red Hat, the latter decided to stop supporting it as it was.

Previously, CentOS was a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which was based on stable, time-proven packages that were virtually 1-in-1 binary compatible with its commercial friend. Then the new distribution of CentOS Stream can be safely called a beta version with which Red Hat is testing new software for its stable version. Therefore, this distribution is not recommended for serious consideration.

And if you are used to working with RPM packages, it is better to pay attention to alternative operating systems such as AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, which appeared on the background of everything that is happening with CentOS in 2020 – 2021.

And they are practically a copy of CentOS.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a Linux operating system for desktops and servers, based on Debian Linux. Very often this distribution is used for desktop PCs as an alternative to Windows OS. This is all due to its ease of installation and operation. In just a few minutes you can install this distribution on your PC in graphical mode without any knowledge of Linux. So if you use it in your work on a desktop PC, it will be easier to work with it on a server. Installation on the server is also not difficult. And thanks to the large community of this OS, you can easily find answers to your questions with this distribution. The first version of Ubuntu appeared in 2004. Each release has a version number and a code name. The version number consists of the year and month in which the release took place. The code names of issues are formed so that the first letter of the new name is the next in the Latin alphabet relative to the first letter of the previous one.

Usually after 6 months there is a new version of Ubuntu with support for new software and new technologies. And every 2 years there is a new stable version of Ubuntu with extended support for 5 years and has the prefix LTS (Long Term Support).

The basis of the stable version consists of packages tested in previous versions, respectively, this build has fewer bugs. The Ubuntu repository contains a huge number of software packages, so it is extremely rare that you have to build packages from source. Installing, uninstalling and upgrading is quite easy thanks to the APT package manager.

Comparing Centos vs Ubuntu

Although both distributions are Linux operating systems, there is still a difference between them.

Foundedbased on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)Debian-based
SupportA smaller community of users and developersA large community of users and developers
DocumentationLess documentation availablemore documentation available
Cloud OSnoYes
Managingchallenging for beginnersthanks to Desktop support, easier to learn

What do Centos and Ubuntu have in common?

Both CentOS and Ubuntu are Linux, which means that most of the kernel is the same.

The network interfaces are managed with the same tools: ip, ifconfig. Starting and stopping programs is also done with the same systemctl tool. The file system and boot loader are also the same for both operating systems. Thanks to the long existence of Ubuntu and CentOS, they have proven themselves in operation. They are evolving, constantly updated, and have a lot of available documentation on setting up. Both OSs use package managers, so installing, uninstalling and updating software is easy. On both operating systems you can easily run your site by installing the popular LAMP software stack: apache, mysql, php.

That said, they are still different.

What is the difference between Centos and Ubuntu?

The most basic difference between these operating systems is their package manager, which is used to manage the software on the system. Ubuntu is based on the architecture of the Linux distribution Debian and uses the apt package manager and programs in deb package format. CentOS is a copy of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution and uses the yum package manager and programs in rpm package format.

Ubuntu has a larger community and more open documentation. For CentOS, information about patches was often available only on the Red Hat portal, which is restricted. Previously, CentOS (before CentOS Stream) had update support – 10 years. This OS included time-tested software and for 10 years there were only vulnerability closures, but no major changes in the software.

Therefore, when it came to mass configuration of servers with the same parameters, many chose CentOS, as a more secure and stable OS. But that all ended with CentOS 8 version, which ended support earlier than 10 years. And offered everyone an alternative to the constantly updated CentOS Stream OS.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, has a 5-year support period for the LTS version. So every time you install this OS, you may see a completely different set of software and tools. That is why those who wanted time-tested stability chose CentOS, and those who wanted a fresh set of software, e.g. a new version of PHP, chose Ubuntu.

Which is better to choose Centos or Ubuntu?

CentOS and Ubuntu, both quite popular and some of the best Linux distributions, each with its own disadvantages and advantages. Therefore, it is difficult to unequivocally recommend any of the distributions. If you have already worked with Linux operating system on servers before, then this overview will probably help you to make the right choice. If you have not worked with these systems before or have worked with the Ubuntu Desktop version on a desktop PC, you will probably find it easier to work with Ubuntu. Ubuntu is easier and simpler to install and configure for a beginner.

We use Cloudlinux for hosting servers based on CentOS, we can recommend this system for use.

But first of all, the choice of operating system must reflect your technical needs for the server. If you plan to use a server control panel, it is worth paying attention to the recommendations of the developers, what OS is better to use for this panel. Also for a lot of services are some kind of recommendation to choose the OS. Both systems are about equal in security, stability and functionality. Also you can always ask our specialists for help with server administration and we will find the right OS for your task.

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