I'm going to set up a webserver at home, but I'm not sure what dist I should use. I have used Linux before but I'm not a proffesional. I've been reading about the differences between some of the distributions, but I'm still not convinced. GUI doesn't matter, I'll just be SSHing to it anyways. I need something powerful but still not too complex to set up. It's my first time configuring a Linux server, I'm just doing this to learn.

I'm familiar with Ubuntu, but I want to try something else.

I'm not sure what would fit me best, any suggestions?

Side question: the server is using an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor (if I did my research correctly), and according to Wikipedia it's based on the Intel Core microarchitecture (previously known as the Next-Generation Micro-Architecture, or NGMA). On the download page of debian.org (and other distros) I have to specify the processor architecture to get the correct file, but mine isn't listed there. Which one should I choose?

closed as not constructive by Mat, Chris Down, manatwork, Michael Mrozek Jun 16 '12 at 17:44

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  • 5
    Any will do for your first steps. If you know Ubuntu, get Ubuntu Server or Debian. Once you don't like those any more, explore. – Der Hochstapler Jun 16 '12 at 13:48

The first distro that you should as a entry-level system admin is ubuntu. Then comes Debian. Debian is the mother of ubuntu as ubuntu is based on debian. Then you should try Red Hat Distro like Red Hat Linux, Fedora, CentOS, etc. CentOS is the best for SSHing. But installing the applications in Red Hat distros is a difficult task and requires some previous knowledge of linux. Then after you have mastered both then you should go with Arch Linux, OpenSUSE. And then comes Solaris. Red Hat Linux requires a license (ie. cash).

Regarding which version to download for your server, I would prefer you download i386 version if your PC is 32-bit and if it is 64-bit then amd64 . If you don't know then first install 32-bit and then check whether it is 64-bit by the command :

grep --color=always -iw lm /proc/cpuinfo

If "lm" is returned (without quotes) then your PC is 64-bit otherwise it is 32-bit.
For further information about 64-bit and 32-bit visit :


  • 4
    I didn't know CentOS was best at SSHing. How may that be? – user13742 Jun 16 '12 at 16:41

I agree with @Oliver Salzburg.

Basically, as long as your distribtuion can install all the "LAMP" components (meaning Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) you'll have a very standard setup in wide use by others.

Debian makes installing the above pretty simple through aptitude. I imagine Red Hat does the same. Not sure about others, but any distribution that's been around for a long time should have packages for the above.

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