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CentOS vs RedHat vs FreeBSD

I'm only used to Windows 2003 vs 2008



4:35 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am dipping my toe into the world of PHP and looking at servers to host my sites using it. Think I am going to give The Planet a go, they seem to have a few decent priced servers, however I have a question for you who know a lot more than me on these matters. I have a load of Windows based servers and never really had a Linux based server.

In my setup I have the choice of the following systems, I wondered what you would go for and why...

CentOS Enterprise Linux 4.x
CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.x
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.x ($15 a month extra)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x ($15 a month extra)
FreeBSD 6.3
FreeBSD 7.0

Also if I'm not reselling the server, only using it for my sites (although I will be operating multiple sites on this), do I need a "Control Panel". They offer Plesx, Ensim or cPanel but all are an extra monthly fee.


5:21 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Well, they will all be fine. But that doesn't help much ;)

So let's cut down the list a bit. It's been a few years since I've touched FreeBSD, but I'd be wary of a .0 release. One FreeBSD hosting company I use considers FreeBSD 7.0 to be too "experimental" for them to move to for the moment. FreeBSD 6.3 should be solid and reliable.

Secondly, you're new to Linux, so you aren't looking for specific (legacy) versions. So don't bother with the 4.x versions. Your list becomes:

CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.x
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x ($15 a month extra)
FreeBSD 6.3

I'm a Linux guy, personally. Nothing wrong with FreeBSD but it's a bit harder to learn. Linux versus FreeBSD is mostly a question of personal choice. :)

Centos is a recompiled free version - an exact clone without the logos - of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. What runs on one will run on the other.

Red Hat offer technical support services, and the cost of RHEL is for that support. What exact support package is offered for $15 a month? Do you get phone and email support? Is that of interest to you, and is the level of support offered sufficient for your needs? If you don't need Red Hat support, then go for Centos, as it is the same, but cheaper. If you want someone to call with technical questions when you have a problem with a mission-critical machine then get RHEL.


5:30 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Many thanks for the reply, the stuff I will be installing won't be mission critical so support isn't essential, getting my hands dirty will prob be a good learning experience so looks like I may as well save the $15 a month and buy a nice martini instead!

One other question if you don't mind, in my windows enviroments I am used to remote desktop into the server, I presume everything now is done via the command line or is there a way to click pretty icons :)


6:23 pm on Aug 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

> click pretty icons

Well, there are those (expensive) control panels. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can install X Windows (eg. with Cygwin), and enable "X Forwarding" so that you can run graphical applications on the server and have the output displayed on your local machine. I found this guide [users.pandora.be] but the details are Ubuntu-specific, so you'd have to make certain adjustments.

Configuration for server applications is basically all via plain text files anyway, so I wouldn't bother. :)


2:34 am on Aug 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I saw this post and felt I should reply.
If you are entering in to the work of Unix and are at the planet, I have been there a long time. you might want to consider the following: if your not a Unix/Linux guy then get cpanel with your server
sure it is $25 a month but you will be able to do amazing things with it. Probably far more then you ever thought about with the Win servers.

[edited by: encyclo at 1:29 am (utc) on Aug. 31, 2008]
[edit reason] no specific hosting recommendations please [/edit]


12:32 pm on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I worked at a bike shop (sells parts online) and his server is down there. Texas, isn't it? He's been using them for years and is very happy. He is also, um, frugal, so if he thinks the price is fair, it must be.


4:42 pm on Feb 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You dont need to pay for Cpanel, LXAdmin is free and has similar capabilites.


2:14 am on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I recommend Plesk control panel on Red Hat or CentOS Linux. Yes it is more expensive, but in my experience managing hundreds of servers, the RHEL/Plesk combination has the lowest TCO, followed by cPanel, DirectAdmin, and then Ensim.

If you are not used to Linux, spending the extra money to get a very stable system that you cannot easily break is very important. This is one reason I do not like Webmin for someone just starting out. The old adage "*nix gives you enough rope to hang yourself" certainly applies to webmin.

craigbass76 --- FYI: the bikeshop moved from ThePlanet due to ongoing support issues. I know they are a client of ours.


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