Linux-like systems are considered one of the most popular systems for running servers. Linux kernel operating systems occupy the fourth position in the world ranking. Approximately 32% of all web servers in the world use Linux distributions, and 64% of their total number are UNIX-like systems. And every year more and more organizations, hosting providers, and customers prefer Linux. In this article, we will tell you what is better for your server - CentOS or Debian.
To begin with, Debian is supported in its entirety by volunteers, at no cost to you. It is a steadily evolving OS, created by modifying a pure kernel. Basically, the community does a very good job with the support and no questions asked about the latest releases, everything works fine and stable but some of the problems are not fast enough and important updates can take weeks to get approved. The disadvantages are the short support time - on average each release of Debian is supported for about 3 years.
CentOS, on the other hand, is based entirely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but it is distributed for free. This OS is very good because of its high stability and conciseness, it has a long support cycle - up to 10 years - which makes it a good choice for companies looking for a stable server solution for the long term. Another advantage of CentOS compared to Debian is the stricter quality control - since the development team is stable and hardly ever changes, it has a positive effect on the quality of all new releases and updates.
Debian is the absolute leader here - it has the most embedded packages. And if you need any other third-party PPA repositories, you can hook them up in no time at all if you need highly specialized software. Debian easily beats even Ubuntu in the number of repositories, not to mention the rather conservative CentOS. The latter has much fewer packages, but still has everything you need to set up and prepare your server for work.
For CentOS, the preferred and most convenient repository is the YUM repository with the .rpm format from RedHat. For most tasks, it will be more than enough.
Without being too crude, it is impossible to single out any OS from these two in terms of stability. Both of them are good and are not complaining. However, the development and testing of packages for CentOS are done by a professional company and they have a commercial interest in making sure everything runs stable. All other things being equal, CentOS is more modest in resource consumption, so by a small margin, it can be considered a leader in the matter of stability.
It is important for servers to have regular and stable updates, especially if they concern security and protection issues. And here both operating systems show themselves well - on average, major updates are released every 6 months. In addition, distributions can receive quick and small updates as needed to fix some vulnerabilities, bugs, and other problems. But there are a few important nuances here.
When major releases are released, the CentOS code is "frozen" and no major changes are made to the system. The only exceptions are minor patches. Major releases used to happen once in 3-5 years, and for commercial use, it was the optimal variant. It was because as of today CentOS has no support at all - on December 8, 2021, Red Hat announced it was discontinuing the project. Nevertheless, if you want a "put it in, set it up, and forget it" option, CentOS 8 can still be considered.
Debian has a shorter development and support cycle, and major upgrades are much more frequent. Another question is whether these updates make sense for most existing webservers. As a rule, many webmasters and web hosting providers choose CentOS precisely because it doesn't have such a high update frequency. But if constant software updates are important for your tasks, it is better to choose Debian.
We hope that our material has helped you decide whether CentOS or Debian is better for your server. If you still have any questions, you can contact the HostZealot specialists through Livechat, or you can order a callback. This concludes our article and thank you for your attention.