Linux servers are everywhere. There’s a good chance a number of your favorite websites are running on infrastructure that’s powered by Linux, not to mention streaming services, social media platforms, gaming networks, the list goes on. The only thing more staggering than the number of Linux servers there are in the wild, is how many distributions you have to choose from. The distros that are available for download are countless, and the purpose of each ranges from general purpose operating systems, to task-oriented tools such as Clonezilla. If you’re just getting started with deploying Linux in your data center, choosing the right distribution can be confusing. If you utilize a cloud provider for your Linux infrastructure, the number of choices is at least somewhat curated, but you still have a choice to make. Which distribution is right for your environment? In this article, we’ll discuss some important concepts to keep in mind – and we’ll go over the finer points of some of the more popular options. There’s no shortage of opinions online regarding desktop distros, but in this article – we’re going to focus on server deployments.
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First and foremost, there is no one general answer that’s correct. If there was only one suitable choice, then you wouldn’t see so many comments online arguing which distribution is best (and this article wouldn’t be necessary). The correct answer as far as which distro is superior is the one that enables you or your organization to accomplish the goal you’ve purchased the server for. All distributions are worth checking out, but some will focus on certain areas more than others. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular choices, along with the pros and cons of each.