The Best Linux Server OS Distributions 2021 and beyond

Last updated on August 10th, 2021 at 11:40 am.

The best free Linux server operating systems for 2021 and beyond. Watch the video above for more on the recommended Linux server Operating Systems.

The Top 3 recommended Linux Server OS’s

The following are the free Linux servers I recommend for anyone setting up a new Linux server in 2021 and beyond.

#1 Debian

Debian is a free and open source Linux operating system released in 1993. It is developed and maintained by the community-driven Debian Project.

Current release : Debian 10 “Buster” . Active support: July, 2022 to June, 2024 (may go up to 2026 with LTS support)

Debian :

  • Is stable and secure.
  • Has a huge package library.
  • The most resource efficient server.
  • Is known for backward compatibility with most major releases.
  • Supports various hardware architectures: Intel x86-based,AMD64 & Intel 64,ARM with hardware FPU,64bit ARM, etc.
  • Easy and customizable installer. Install only what you need.
  • Community driven project.
  • Provides Long term support for all major releases.
  • Is readily available on all major cloud Hosting providers such as Contabo, Vultr, DO, AWS, Google etc.

#2 Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution derived from Debian and consists mostly of free and open source software. Initially released in 2004.

When using Ubuntu server, always use the LTS versions because they provide long term support. LTS is important for stability in a production environment.

Current LTS release : Ubuntu 20.04 LTS .

Ubuntu LTS 20.04 features:

  • OS security guaranteed until April 2025
  • Extended security maintenance until April 2030

Ubuntu Server:

  • Has a large community that can offer support.
  • Has a large package base. Lots of packages ready to install in the repository.
  • Resource efficient and can run on a small VPS.
  • Actively maintained with new security updates.
  • Easily scales out depending on your growth needs.

#3 AlmaLinux

AlmaLinux is a free and open source Linux distro created by CloudLinux to provide a community-supported, production-grade enterprise operating system compatible with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The first stable initial release of AlmaLinux was on March 30, 2021.

This is a replacement for CentOS. if you are using Centos 8 you can convert it to Almalinux.

It is new but it is backed by major companies. Find out if the applications you want to use can run on it, then feel free to try it. You can run it on a production environment since it is currently based on RHEL 8.

Most Cloud Hosting Providers already have Alma Linux as one of the Operating SYtems you can choose to install during setup.

#4 Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is also an open-source derivative of RHEL, released in 2021. It is also backed by major companies. For you it would be a choice between ALmalinux and Rocky Linux if you want that Centos OS feeling.

Video Captions for the Top 3 Recommended Best Linux Server OS Distributions 2021 and beyond video

In this video, let’s talk about the free Linux Server operating systems that I recommend in 2021 moving forward .

I used to recommend CentOS above all other operating systems ,but, you know what happened with CentOS 8 last year. And therefore these are the Linux operating Systems that I recommend for your server if you want to use Linux.

The first one is Debian, and I do recommend them in this order: Debian, Ubuntu and then there is anew one called AlmaLinux. you can use Almalinux if you love the CentOS environment because Alma linux is based off of RedHat as well.

So, I recommend Debian, then Ubuntu and then Almalinux. I know most people love to use Ubuntu . So if you do prefer Ubuntu over Debian, that’s okay.

so first, why I recommend Debian. Debian is stable. It has a huge community. You will never be alone. if you have any problems with your server you will always have a community that will be there with answers for you.

It also has good performance on your Server hardware. It doesn’t require too much resources to run. that’s one of the top reasons why you should probably use Debian instead of other Linux server OS’s.

And then we have Ubuntu Server. Ubuntu currently, probably, definitely has the highest community around it. Most people nowadays just prefer to use Ubuntu . And it is supported by lost of software that you may want to use.

Before you choose any operating system just find out the software that you want to run on that server and see if the OS you want to use, supports it.

When you are using Ubuntu, always make sure that you are using the LTS version. Okay?

If you come to Ubuntu, or if you’re on a VPS. You are setting up your server on a VPS, and you want to run Ubuntu, make sure that you choose aversion which a current LTS.

To find out the latest LTS, you can just go to Google and search for, Ubuntu LTS and you’ll see the latest version.

As of this recording, if I click here on manual server installation, you’ll see the latest LTS version here is Ubuntu 20.04, which is LTS. Always download the one or install the one which is an LTS version. Which is a Long term Supported version.

You don’t want to install any of these others. you can just install them to try them, however , these are not that stable. You need something that is stable and will be usable for at least a guaranteed period of time. You can see this is up to 2025 . So that’s why you should always use the Ubuntu LTS version on your server.

And then, AlmaLinux, this is a new operating System that came about as a result of what happened with Centos 8 last year when they decided to abruptly stop the Long term Support for CentOS.

Most people are actually starting to move away from CentOS. And if you want to move away from Centos but you don’t want to leave the CentOS environment, that REDhat Linux feeling, you can just use Alma Linux.

There is also another called Rocky Linux. You can try that as well, but I’ve seen that this one is already supported by most other software. I think cPanel already supports this . I’m not sure about that but you can check that.

Because of the huge amount of support around AlmaLinux. There are major companies that are backing this .

You can see all the companies that are backing this new OS. That’s why it is here on my list as the third option. If you like to use RedHat or CentOS, then this is the next option for you, and you can even convert your current Centos 8 to Alma Linux.

If you click here on migrate, you’ll go to GitHub and you’ll see how you can convert your current deployment to an AlmaLinux setup. You can see this is Almalinux release 8. This is just the same as Centos 8.

So if you’re asking, “where is the documentation for Almalinux?” , all you have to do is, go to Google and search for redHat documentation . If you want to use AlmaLinux, you’ll look for RedHat Documentation. And you can use this documentation if you want to learn about Alma Linux. it is just the same as centOS because it is also based off of Red Hat.

So, just in brief, the Linux operating systems that I recommend for your server, the free Linux Server OS es that I recommend . Number one , Debian.
Then number 2, Ubuntu. Always use Ubuntu LTS on your server.

And then we do have the third one which is AlmaLinux. So that’s it for this video. If you want a tutorial for how to setup Debian, I do have a video for that. I will leave the link in the description. You’ll find that there.

I also have a video for setting up your Ubuntu server. It may be on a VPS, there are certain things you need to do. I will leave that link in the description.

See you in another video.

Recommended VPS Providers

Find out the VPS providers I recommend.

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