Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu or ?
Historically I've gone with Debian, just raw, command line access only, for web servers running in a leased rack.
I see though more people seem to be using CentOS, which is a derivative of RedHat. Maybe just because there is some market penetration of RedHat? Not sure if there is any actual advantage between distributions.
Ubuntu, descended from Debian, makes sense on the desktop since it's more developed on the desktop. But if you don't need the desktop at all is there any reason to bother with the larger install?
I also see there's a lot of debate over which web control panel software to install. I've never used them since I prefer command line. Should I try one out?
I have no idea if any of you have any experience with any of this, but maybe you do.
July 6th, 2018 12:41am
I run CentOS on a few machines and I don't really like it. Redhat (and by extension CentOS) is a confusingly designed system at the core.
I prefer Debian-based distributions and usually run Ubuntu even on servers.
Web control panel software of any value is generally commercial software. Some are pretty impressive in their capability but are overkill if you're not running a bunch of independent sites. For a single application, I wouldn't bother.
July 6th, 2018 1:22am
This machine will have a bunch of different sites, but I'll be controlling all of them myself. I am experienced with setting that up in the Apache configuration files. Once set up it won't be changing unless I add more sites. But it's not the typical shared hosting by third party where relatively unskilled customers get a control panel for file management on their shared site.
Seems like most of the articles on CentOS vs Ubuntu focus on CentOS being more secure because they have longer service cycles and are less speedy to add new things, with Ubuntu being thought to be less stable and adding unproven things. I am not convinced that's the case as Debian's not really had security problems I can recall.
July 6th, 2018 2:16am
Sounds like intellectual masturbating to me.
Grumpy Old Git
July 6th, 2018 6:25am
Aren't we all at CoT a bunch of wankers?
July 6th, 2018 6:27am
RedHat / CentOS is closer to the Unix that I grew up with. On Debian I have to hunt around for where the distro has put control files. And using sudo all day is hateful.
PS. systemd is anti-Unix.
July 6th, 2018 7:30am
I decided to just try something new and see if I liked it. I was up all night installing an Ubuntu long term release and then the most popular free web panel.
Apparently with web panels cPanel is considered the best, but you have to pay for a license and it's CentOS only.
There's tons of others but the most popular is perl based Webmin with php based Virtualmin on top of it. So I installed that.
Long story short yeah, it is overkill. It does stuff I do over ssh but I think it's actually more confusing and has a lot of things I don't need. It'll have a series of pages devoted to configuring particular things and it's distracting since it lays out every possible command line option as web form menus and checkboxes and text fields in a big page. The command line versions at least I can do -? or -h to see the help, or do man. These things are less helpful.
Also it ended up pushing the server's RAM use to 600MB, Ubuntu runs around 200MB during normal idle, so that's a big RAM hit.
It's definitely for someone that is running a commercial web hosting service and is setting up users with their own virtual servers and doesn't know where the tools and config files are. So this is maybe the backend of some of the services I've leased in the past. Interesting to play with though.
I'm going to play with it some more for the experience, but then break it down and reinstall either a standard or minimal Ubuntu and then just pull in what I actually need. I am pretty sure that's going to take less RAM and leave more overhead for the server to do its thing.
July 6th, 2018 10:02am
> cPanel is considered the best
It's the common perception. But I hated it every time I used it and especially when you have to support people with very limited knowledge and end up instructing them to SSH into the box and fix stuff cPanel cannot do with its Web UI.
July 6th, 2018 11:06am
cPanel is pretty comprehensive. I just recently used it to recompile the web platform up to latest versions and it worked flawlessly.
For something that interacts with hundreds of different software packages and configuration options, the fact that works at all is amazing. And it rarely, if ever, shits the bed. But it's not exactly pretty or user friendly.
July 6th, 2018 3:38pm
Sounds similar to Virtualmin/Webmin. It started by asking me a bunch of issues about performance tuning. Then notified me of a few hundred package updates, with a lot of detail about them. Then accepting, real time streamed all the console output to the web browser using a fixed width font and color style that looked just like a terminal.
It's got an insane number of sections to it for configuring absolutely everything.
Looking at some tutorials on it now, seems I could spent a year on those.
July 6th, 2018 3:54pm
Having this much power tied in to the web browser though does open an additional vector for attacks. The less of those the better, even though everything is encrypted.
July 6th, 2018 3:56pm