CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian three linux similarities and differences

Linux has a large number of distributions, which are broadly divided into commercial versions maintained by commercial companies and free distributions maintained by the open source community.

The commercial version is represented by Redhat, and the open source community version is represented by debian. These versions have different characteristics and play different roles in different application areas and cannot be generalized. Most VPSs only provide distributions maintained by the open source community. Here’s a quick analysis of these different Linux distributions.



Ubuntu has more and more fans in recent years. Ubuntu has a beautiful user interface, a complete package management system, powerful software source support, and a rich technical community. Ubuntu also has good compatibility with most hardware, including the latest ones. Graphics cards and more. All this makes Ubuntu more and more popular. But don’t forget: all you need is a simple, stable, easy-to-use server system!

Ubuntu’s graphical interface is beautiful, but it also determines that its best application area is the desktop operating system rather than the server operating system. How do you want to have an immersive environment in the process of learning Linux, then Ubuntu is really good: just install it on your own computer instead of the server. From this point of view, Ubuntu does not have the operating system choices installed in the VPS, I believe you will not pay for the hundreds of M drivers and valuable memory.


You’ll find that a lot of commercial companies deploying servers in production environments use the CentOS system, which is a community re-release from RHEL source code. CentOS is simple, the humanity under the command line is better, stable, and has strong English document and support from the development community. Has the same origins as Redhat. Although commercial support is not provided separately, it is often possible to find a clue from Redhat. Compared to debian, CentOS is slightly larger. Is a very mature Linux distribution.


In general, Debian is an operating system suitable for servers, and it is much more stable than Ubuntu. It can be said that stability is unparalleled. Debian whole system, as long as there is no logical defect in the application level, it is basically impregnable, it is a system that does not need to be restarted all the year round (of course, this is exaggerated, but does not exaggerate its stability). The core of debian’s entire system is very small, not only stable, but also takes up less space on the hard disk and takes up less memory. The 128M VPS can run Debian smoothly, and CentOS will be a little more difficult. However, due to the development of Debian, its help documentation is slightly less than CentOS, and the technical information is less.

Due to its excellent performance and stability, Debian is very popular with VPS users.

In addition, there are a series of Linux and FreeBSD, Unix and other systems such as Arch Linxu, Gentoo, Slackware, etc. Because their fields are more professional, they rarely appear in VPS, so they are not introduced.

For beginners, we recommend CentOS or Debian, both of which can run smoothly on a lower VPS. However, if the VPS configuration is too low (OPENVZ memory is below 128M, or XEN architecture is below 192M), Debian is recommended; otherwise, CentOS is recommended to get more online help and support, making it easier for you to get started.


CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian and other three Linux are very good systems, open source systems, also paid for commercial and free versions, the following simple comparison of these three systems.

CentOS system

Many webmasters generally choose the centOS system, and CentOS is a re-release version compiled from redhat source code. CentOS removes many applications that are not related to server functionality. The system is simple but very stable. Command-line operations make it easy to manage systems and applications, and help with documentation and community support.

Ubuntu system


Ubuntu has a beautiful user interface, a complete package management system, powerful software source support, a rich technical community, and Ubuntu support for computer hardware is better than centos and debian, compatibility is strong, Ubuntu applications are very many, but for server systems In other words, the individual does not need too many applications, and needs a system that is stable, easy to operate, and simple to maintain. If you need to use a graphical interface on the server side, ubuntu is a good choice. What you need to pay attention to is that the graphical interface takes up a lot of memory, and the larger the memory, the higher the vps price.


Debian system

Debian is also very suitable for server operating system. Compared with Ubuntu, it doesn’t have much fancy, stability is overwhelming. It is a constant truth for server systems. Debian is a Linux system. The underlying layer is very stable, and the kernel and memory are occupied. They are very small, and the VPS in small memory can run Debian smoothly, such as 128m of memory, but the debian help documentation and technical information are relatively small. For small memory, debian is preferred. For vps who are very familiar with Linux system, debian is preferred.


In the choice of system, it is a novice, preferred CentOS, not centos better than Debian and ubuntu, but centos is the first choice for beginners to install vps, it is stable, takes up less resources, can easily search for installation configuration on the network The documentation, its own help documentation is also very powerful; if you are a Linux master, the realm of the master generally chooses debian, because the master can run the system stably on the low-profile vps; while ubuntu, the system is free, but it is suitable for money. People play, it occupies more resources than the previous two systems, and vps basically sells memory, the higher the memory, the more expensive the price.


As an operator, we attach great importance to reliability and stability and are our top priority. To this end, we only use Linux to support the customer’s system. But which Linux distribution should we use? The answer is, CentOS. why?

As a large system operator, for a long time, we need to find a reliable, predictable system in a variety of large systems, we need to be from the world’s most powerful software vendors and open source projects. Get strong support. For the most commonly used systems, we need documentation, tools and global resources.

Because of this, the RedHat / CentOS series release is our choice. They are able to meet all of these needs, with relatively few problems and long-term stability, which allows us to provide world-class maintenance for thousands of systems running different configurations, services and applications.

RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is the gold standard corporate distribution. It is updated every five years or so, and has great advantages in system stability, forward-looking and security. Whenever a new major version is released, such as 5.x or the latest 6.x, all versions and code will remain unchanged, only security issues or major bugs, such as backdoors, ports, etc. Fix by releasing a new subversion.

CentOS is the open source version of the RHEL distribution and will be released shortly after the release of RedHat. The reason we use CentOS is that the standard support services for the RHEL distribution are very expensive, about $800 per server, which is a must-cost for many of us with dozens or even hundreds of servers.

There are two potential problems with the RHEL/CentOS system.

First, once the main version is determined, nothing will be changed except for security issues and serious failures that will be fixed. Although this is good for stability, it is not good for many services. For example, MySQL and PHP services, they will be heavily developed and extensively modified during the five-year CentOS/RHEL major release cycle. For example, MySQL 5.0 is the default version of the current RHEL/CentOS major release, but current MySQL has been updated to version 5.1 and 5.5.

Fortunately, this problem was easily solved by the Yum package manager. As a result, the main software, such as the actual components in the current RHEL/CentOS, including the kernel and all the tools, are still from the distribution, but those additional software such as Nginx, Apache, PHP, Java and MySQL are updated. Software sources such as Fedora; or get updated versions directly from the developer such as MySQL. Here, we have our own dedicated installation image to handle all of these things fully automatically.

Second, the release of CentOS lags behind the release of RedHat, including key patches and fixes. This is especially noticeable during the release cycle of RHEL 6.x. But according to our experience, there is nothing to worry about, and it will never be a problem for us.

Many people ask us why we don’t need a Debian-based system, such as a Debian or Ubuntu server. If we have no choice, we do support this proposal, but according to our experience, these systems are not as stable and reliable as RHEL/CentOS.

We believe that this is due in part to their rapid development and the lack of testing and immaturity between versions and combinations. However, despite their popularity, the main service providers and projects still prefer the RHEL/CentOS system, because they can provide services to corporate customers (and even more so for Oracle and MySQL). In addition, Debian-based systems have many kernel and stability issues, especially in our cloud computing services.

For us, the only reason to use Debian/Ubuntu is:

“When they can provide the necessary special services for a system, especially when some drivers or some IO subsystems need a new kernel.” For example, the ext4 file system or changes to the logs in the most recent kernel; now, all of this is included in RHEL/CentOS 6.x.

Of course, most Linux developers use the desktop version of Ubuntu, and understandably, they prefer to use the same system when developing production, and can use many interesting tools. But overall, we still think that RHEL/CentOS is a superior deployment platform, and more than a dozen customers have successfully turned to CentOS as a production environment without any problems, but this is still a difficult task.

In general, you will be more than happy to see a well-managed CentOS system. We have tens of thousands of servers using the CentOS platform, and on average only one server crashes each year. It’s hard to imagine that it’s so rare, so pick an excellent, fast, and reliable platform!

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