CentOS vs Ubuntu vs Debian Operating Systems

When configuring a Linux server, you may be unsure of which operating system to use. Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS are three prominent options. Each of these operating systems has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to consider your particular requirements before making a choice.

Ubuntu is renowned for its user-friendly interface and implementation simplicity, whereas Debian is renowned for its stability and security.

CentOS, on the other hand, is favored in enterprise settings due to its long-term support and dependability.

In this article, we will compare these three Linux operating systems to assist you in selecting the best Linux Operating System for your server. 


Debian, one of the first Linux distributions available since 1993, held a 17% market share of Linux web servers as of April 2020. This makes it the oldest of the three distributions examined in this article, and it serves as the foundation for scores of others, including Ubuntu.

This is partially because Debian has existed for so long but primarily because it is immensely flexible and can run on a variety of architectures. Unlike the other entries on this list, Debian is wholly community-driven and not supported by an organization.

It employs .deb packages, and the APT utility handles management. According to the Debian website, there are a staggering 59,000 applications available.

Debian is also lauded for its consistent performance and rapid update cycle, in addition to the vast array of tasks it enables you to complete. The immense community it has amassed over the past 27 years is a further benefit. 

1. Security support

The Debian Project provides security support for stable releases for one year following the publication of the subsequent stable version. Debian 9 was published in June 2017, marking the conclusion of security updates for Debian 8 in June 2018. Debian 8 was published in April 2015, so approximately three years have passed.

In addition to security support, newer releases receive five years of long-term support (LTS) after their initial release date.

2. Better stability

These longer release schedules provide an additional opportunity for testing before release, which is one of their benefits. Consequently, Debian is regarded as a more dependable Linux distribution than others.

This makes it an excellent option for enterprises, as there are fewer costs associated with flaws in the release. It also allows for the patching of security flaws, making the releases more secure than those of other Linux distributions.

3. Countless Debian applications

Debian 10 includes approximately 59,000 software packages, so there is ample software to get started. You can configure it to install additional software packages if necessary.

Debian, unlike other Linux distributions, does not offer a paid marketplace for packages; nearly all available software packages are free. However, independent vendors can create paid products.

4. Closely connected community

Debian has been around longer than Ubuntu, but its community is smaller. Due to Debian’s relative complexity, however, it consists of more technical users.

Debian’s commitment to free software is supported by numerous active user forums, a resource center, and a significant number of volunteers.

Is Debian right for beginners?

The Debian Linux distribution is generally regarded as being more appropriate for Linux specialists than novices. It assumes a level of Linux development knowledge from the outset, with the installer providing the user with a greater degree of configuration control.

This is fantastic for advanced users because it provides them with a more personalized experience. However, this can leave newer users feeling overwhelmed, which is why Linux Debian has a more technical user base.

If you’re searching for something more beginner-friendly, you may want to consider a different distribution.


CentOS is a Linux-based operating system that is functionally compatible with its upstream source. It was developed by Red Hat Enterprise Linux as part of the CentOS project. It was first published in 2004.

In 2010, CentOS overtook Debian as the most popular Linux distribution for web servers. However, in 2012, CentOS’ popularity decreased as Debian regained its popularity by introducing new features. CentOS enables development on a dominant and one of the finest Linux distributions available.

CentOS is extremely configurable, stable, and secure. It has numerous corporate-level security updates, making it the best option for every user. CentOS utilizes Red Hat Yum, the package manager for updates, which automatically manages software updates whenever new software is installed.

This Linux-based operating system provides several advantages. It offers a high level of security, reducing its susceptibility to cyber attacks. Additionally, it provides system administrators with comprehensive administrative support.

Nonetheless, there are some disadvantages to consider. It is not user-friendly, which may present difficulties for non-technical users. In terms of gaming and entertainment compatibility, it is not as good as other systems.

Additionally, its support for driver creation and storage management is limited. Moreover, its technical support is not as good as Ubuntu’s.


Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution by large. After its release in 2004, Linux’s smooth desktop environment and user-friendly interface piqued the interest of a large number of individuals in learning about and using it.

Ubuntu is available in a variety of flavors, including versions for desktop computers, servers, IoT devices, and cloud platforms.

Despite the fact that many hosting providers favour CentOS, Ubuntu continues to be the Linux distribution of choice for many individuals and organizations looking to host their own websites. W3Techs reports that more than 13% of the world’s websites operate on servers powered by Ubuntu.

Since Ubuntu is based on Debian, the APT system is used to manage .deb packages. In contrast to Debian, Ubuntu is renowned for its user-friendly interface, and its users enjoy an abundance of new features due to its rapid update cycle.

Thanks to its vast user base, there are many people willing to assist, and Canonical, the company behind the project, offers paid support and a robust application store. 

Under the hood, however, it is the same Linux as any other distribution, and if you intend to use it as a server OS without a graphical user interface, you won’t notice any significant differences from other Linux distributions, with the exception of a few technical aspects (we’ll get to those whether we like it or not).

Ubuntu is available in over 55 languages, and its software center contains over 40,000 applications. There are three official versions of Ubuntu, namely Desktop for standard desktop computers, Server for small or enterprise servers, and Core for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Which Linux OS is Ideal for My Server?

Some believe that the variety of Linux distributions makes it possible to locate one that precisely meets your requirements. While this may be true, the reality is that it makes your decision even more difficult.

Each Linux distribution has its own set of benefits, drawbacks, restrictions, and useful features.

CentOS, for instance, is praised for its bug-free efficacy and stability. However, it is actually because it often incorporates outdated software packages that lack modern features. Some people also express their dislike for the slow update frequency.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ubuntu. Fans of Ubuntu are pleased with the frequent updates and new features, but they are less enthusiastic about the flaws and security vulnerabilities that these updates sometimes introduce.

Support is an area in which Ubuntu shines. If you have the budget, you can also pay for premium support from a large community eager to assist you with all your enquiries.

Debian is the most difficult distribution to use on the current list. It does have advantages, such as its versatility and the countless software applications available for it. However, if you are a novice, you should choose one of the other options.

CentOS and Ubuntu are the two most commonly used distributions for web hosting servers, so hosting providers will likely advise you to select one of these two.

However, your ultimate decision must also be based on a number of other factors, such as your level of technical expertise and the specific requirements of your undertaking.

In Closing

Choosing the optimal operating system for your Linux server is a crucial decision that can affect the server’s performance, security, and usability. In this article, we compared Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS, three prominent options.

Debian offers unrivaled stability and security, while Ubuntu is ideal for novices and those who desire a user-friendly interface. CentOS is the preferred operating system for enterprise environments due to its long-term support and reliability.

The best Linux operating system for your server ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. We trust this article has provided you with insightful information that will assist you in making an informed decision. 

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