High 5 Linux Server Distributions


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Ah, the age-old query: Which Linux distribution is finest suited to servers? Sometimes, when this query is requested, the usual responses pop up:



Ubuntu Server



Nevertheless, within the identify of opening your eyes to possibly one thing a bit totally different, I’m going to method this a bit in a different way. I need to think about an inventory of potential distributions that aren’t solely excellent candidates but additionally simple to make use of, and that may serve many capabilities inside what you are promoting. In some circumstances, my decisions are drop-in replacements for different working methods, whereas others require a bit of labor to get them up to the mark.

A few of my decisions are neighborhood editions of enterprise-grade servers, which might be thought of gateways to buying a way more highly effective platform. You’ll even discover one or two entries right here to be duty-specific platforms. Most significantly, nonetheless, what you’ll discover on this listing isn’t the standard fare.


What’s ClearOS? For residence and small enterprise utilization, you won’t discover a higher answer. Out of the field, ClearOS contains instruments like intrusion detection, a powerful firewall, bandwidth administration instruments, a mail server, a site controller, and way more. What makes ClearOS stand out above among the competitors is its function is to server as a easy Residence and SOHO server with a user-friendly, graphical web-based interface. From that interface, you’ll discover an software market (Determine 1), with tons of of apps (a few of that are free, whereas some have an related value), that makes it extremely simple to increase the ClearOS featureset. In different phrases, you make ClearOS the platform your property and small enterprise wants it to be. Better of all, in contrast to many different alternate options, you solely pay for the software program and assist you want.

There are three totally different editions of ClearOS:

To make the set up of software program even simpler, the ClearOS market permits you to choose through:

By Perform (which shows apps in response to job)

By Class (which shows teams of associated apps)

Fast Choose File (which lets you choose pre-configured templates to get you up and operating quick)

In different phrases, for those who’re on the lookout for a Linux Residence, SOHO, or SMB server, ClearOS is an impressive selection (particularly for those who don’t have the Linux chops to get a typical server up and operating).

Fedora Server

You’ve heard of Fedora Linux. After all you could have. It’s one of many best bleeding edge distributions available on the market. However do you know the builders of that wonderful Fedora Desktop distribution additionally has a Server version? The Fedora Server platform is a short-lifecycle, community-supported server OS. This tackle the server working system allows seasoned system directors, skilled with any taste of Linux (or any OS in any respect), to utilize the very newest applied sciences out there within the open supply neighborhood. There are three key phrases in that description:




In different phrases, new customers needn’t apply. Though Fedora Server is sort of able to dealing with any job you throw at it, it’s going to require somebody with a bit extra Linux kung fu to make it work and work effectively. One very good inclusion with Fedora Server is that, out of the field, it contains one of many best open supply, web-based interface for servers available on the market. With Cockpit (Determine 2) you get a fast look at system sources, logs, storage, community, in addition to the power to handle accounts, companies, purposes, and updates.

Should you’re okay working with bleeding edge software program, and wish an impressive admin dashboard, Fedora Server could be the platform for you.


NethServer is about as no-brainer of a drop-in SMB Linux server as you’ll discover. With the newest iteration of NethServer, your small enterprise will take pleasure in:

The entire included options might be simply configured with a user-friendly, web-based interface that features single-click set up of modules to increase the NethServer characteristic set (Determine three) What units NethServer aside from ClearOS is that it was designed to make the admin job simpler. In different phrases, this platform affords way more in the way in which of flexibility and energy. In contrast to ClearOS, which is geared extra towards residence workplace and SOHO deployments, NethServer is equally at residence in small enterprise environments.


Rockstor is a Linux and Btfrs powered superior Community Hooked up Storage (NAS) and Cloud storage server that may be deployed for Residence, SOHO, in addition to small- and mid-sized companies alike. With Rockstor, you get a full-blown NAS/Cloud answer with a user-friendly, web-based GUI software that’s simply as simple for admins to arrange as it’s for customers to make use of. After you have Rockstor deployed, you possibly can create swimming pools, shares, snapshots, handle replication and customers, share information (with the assistance of Samba, NFS, SFTP, and AFP), and even prolong the featureset, because of add-ons (referred to as Rock-ons). The listing of Rock-ons contains:

CouchPotato (Downloader for usenet and bittorrent customers)

Deluge (Film downloader for bittorrent customers)

EmbyServer (Emby media server)

Ghost (Publishing platform for skilled bloggers)

GitLab CE (Git repository internet hosting and collaboration)

Gogs Go Git Service (Light-weight Git model management server and entrance finish)

Headphones (An automatic music downloader for NZB and Torrent)

Logitech Squeezebox Server for Squeezebox Gadgets

MariaDB (Relational database administration system)

NZBGet (Environment friendly usenet downloader)

OwnCloud-Official (Safe file sharing and internet hosting)

Plexpy (Python-based Plex Utilization tracker)

Rocket.Chat (Open Supply Chat Platform)

SaBnzbd (Usenet downloader)

Sickbeard (Web PVR for TV exhibits)

Sickrage (Automated Video Library Supervisor for TV Reveals)

Sonarr (PVR for usenet and bittorrent customers)

Symform (Backup service)

Rockstor additionally contains an at-a-glance dashboard that offers admins fast entry to all the data they want about their server (Determine four).


Zentyal is one other Small Enterprise Server that does an excellent job of dealing with a number of duties. Should you’re on the lookout for a Linux distribution that may deal with the likes of:

Listing and Area server

Mail server


DHCP, DNS, and NTP server

Certification Authority


Prompt Messaging

FTP server


SSO authentication

File sharing


Virtualization Administration

And extra

Zentyal could be your new go-to. Zentyal has been round since 2004 and is predicated on Ubuntu Server, so it enjoys a rock-solid base and loads of purposes. And with the assistance of the Zentyal dashboard (Determine 5), admins can simply handle:

Including new parts to the Zentyal server is so simple as opening the Dashboard, clicking on Software program Administration > Zentyal Elements, choosing what you need to add, and clicking Set up. The one situation you would possibly discover with Zentyal is that it doesn’t provide almost the quantity of addons as you’ll discover within the likes of Nethserver and ClearOS. However the companies it does provide, Zentyal does extremely effectively.

Lots Extra The place These Got here From

This listing of Linux servers is clearly not exhaustive. What it’s, nonetheless, is a novel take a look at the highest 5 server distributions you’ve most likely not heard of. After all, for those who’d moderately choose to make use of a extra conventional Linux server distribution, you possibly can all the time follow CentOS, Ubuntu Server, SUSE, Purple Hat Enterprise Linux, or Debian… most of that are discovered on each listing of finest server distributions available on the market. If, nonetheless, you’re on the lookout for one thing a bit totally different, give one among these 5 distos a attempt.

Be taught extra about Linux by the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Basis and edX.

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