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  1. #1

    FreeBSD vs. Linux as a webserver OS

    Hi,

    I've only ever really used FreeBSD to a large extent, and haven't used Linux a huge amount. FreeBSD also has a very good reputation as a solid, reliable and secure network server operating system.

    However, FreeBSD isn't that common in the dedicated server market from what I can see. Most hosts offer Redhat/Fedora boxes. Some who I spoke to will install FreeBSD, but will not support it afterwards.

    I'm just curious as to why there aren't many hosts out there offering BSD boxes. Is it just because there is a larger amount of people that are experienced in the use of Linux, and therefore they can appeal to a wider market?

    Software such as Modernbill and Cpanel are both compatible and supported on FreeBSD, so if I know FreeBSD well, is there any reason why I shouldn't use it as opposed to Linux? It seems to fulfill all the requirements, just as Linux does.

    The only difference to the end user would possibly be in the use of shell accounts. But from the kind of things people tend to do with a shell account, I can't see there being much difference (i.e mysql admin, installing scripts, chmod, etc).

    What does everyone think?

    Thanks,

    Daniel

  2. #2
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    Linux is used more because more users know Linux and thus there is a bigger market for it. I know most dedicated hosting providers will install FreeBSD as well as Linux for you. Other times it's determined by the software they're using, not all software works with FreeBSD, or as easily.
    Karl Zimmerman - Steadfast: Managed Dedicated Servers and Premium Colocation
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  3. #3
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    We use FreeBSD on the majority of our servers after a major conversion operation last December, all our new shared servers use FreeBSD and it is also the O/S we recommend to our dedicated clients. The primary observations we've made as a result of using FreeBSD is that those boxes, even with no other changes to the number or types of accounts on them, have experienced much lower loads and greater reliability than when they were using RedHat Linux.

    Probably the main reason people use and companies support Linux is that they are probably more comfortable with it as there seems to be a greater number of people experienced with Linuix as you suggest. I've seen no compatibility problems, so from me at least it's a resounding thumbs up all the way for FreeBSD.

    As Karl points out, most companies should be able to install FreeBSD for you, so if as you said you've used FreeBSD to a large extent in the past, I don't see that you should have any problem choosing to use it now.
    Jo Stonehouse - Kualowww.kualo.com
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  4. #4
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    If you know FreeBSD, use it. End user won't care, and you don't have to deal with another system. Also, FreeBSD is a better quality OS than Linux.

    There are companies who will not only support FreeBSD, but NetBSD and OpenBSD as well. BSDs are alive and kicking.
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  6. #6
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    Originally posted by BizJohn
    There are companies who will not only support FreeBSD, but NetBSD and OpenBSD as well. BSDs are alive and kicking.
    Off Topic - aaah BSD...the OS that's been dying for 10 years =P

    As for server wise, BSD is supposed to just trash linux, when it comes to performance/stability in a server enviroment. FreeBSD isn't that widly supported, true - But, what in the world are you planning to run, that isn't available on BSD? if it's just for hosting, then it'll do just fine

    Heard Cpanel was supposed to be top notch on it, too

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  7. #7

    I would have to disagree...

    Originally posted by DeltaAnime
    FreeBSD isn't that widly supported, true - But, what in the world are you planning to run, that isn't available on BSD?
    I would like to say that if it isn't available in the FreeBSD Ports system, no one would ever THINK of using it, esprecially on a server.

    FreeBSD Ports collection
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  8. #8
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    gentoo linux has the advatages of linux and BSD and it can be used on my desktop so its a win, win, win (not windoze) situwtion (how ever u spell that word i dont know)

  9. #9
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  10. #10
    I would also vote for freebsd in this case... less loads, stable and good network stack you can trust

  11. #11
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    FreeBSD is so solid that Apple's MacOS is based on it. There is an open source version of the BSD part of MacOS (without the GUI) freely available called OpenDarwin but I don't know of anyone offering it on a webserver. It's probably just as stable as FreeBSD. The only thing I have against FreeBSD, is that Sun doesn't support Java for it.
    bigwrench

  12. #12
    Ya but here are my questions:

    1. Can DirectAdmin and CP++ run on freebsd?

    2. How well do DirectAdmin, Cpanel, Plesk, CP++ run on FreeBSD?

  13. #13
    Cpanel is running OK, I heard.... dunno about others, sorry

  14. #14
    Thanks for all the input guys. I think I will be going with FreeBSD.

    I would probably have to include some sort of customer re-assurance and information about it. Maybe also point out that if you've used Linux before, then the transition to a BSD web host is almost nothing. As far as I can see, it only really differs from an administrators point of view.

    Daniel

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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by BizJohn
    If you know FreeBSD, use it. End user won't care, and you don't have to deal with another system.
    I agree, why if you know it and are comftorable with it, why not use it.
    hm what should I put in my sig?

  17. #17

    Thumbs up

    I use DirectAdmin and ModernBill with FreeBSD. They work really well on my server for 3 months running.

  18. #18
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    freebsd is better
    linux is easy

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by frenzynet
    freebsd is better
    linux is easy
    Not a very enlightening post to be honest. I don't know how you can say Linux is any easier than FreeBSD, it is all dependent on your knowledge of each one. In addition, the FreeBSD ports system is incredibly 'easy' to use...
    Jo Stonehouse - Kualowww.kualo.com
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  20. #20
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    I use freebsd on my DirectAdmin machine and it works great. I'm still using RH9 w/progeny for cPanel systems but have considered converting them to bsd as well.

  21. #21
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    I like Redhat Fedora

    Getting past the religion of BSD vs. LINUX - both operating systems are stable and capable of handling the needs of average web hosting. For all practical purposes they are equal.

    But - if I find a new application it is more likely that there will be a redhat fedora version than just about anything else. So - from the perspective of compatibility, users supporting it - ease of use - etc. Linux wins.
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  22. #22
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    Doesn't matter to me. It really just depends on how you have your boxes setup, your network layout, your security habits, etc. I like redhat 9.0 because it is still pretty good, havnt' had any real major problems yet.

  23. #23
    I think that with regards to the question of compatibility, as long as the software I intend to use for web hosting purposes runs on FreeBSD, that's all I need to worry about. The fact that Linux is more likely to be supported by X new piece of software doesn't really matter in this situation.

    The only thing I'm a little worried about if I go with FreeBSD, is what a subset of my customers will think. Linux, to the not so knowledgable web host customer, is probably more appealing. They may have not even heard of FreeBSD, and might even, in their ignorance think it's a "lesser alternative". Linux is just more of a sellable brand to the masses as far as I see it.

    This is purely from a marketing point of view remember, tell me what you think.

    Daniel

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by dbriley
    The only thing I'm a little worried about if I go with FreeBSD, is what a subset of my customers will think. Linux, to the not so knowledgable web host customer, is probably more appealing. They may have not even heard of FreeBSD, and might even, in their ignorance think it's a "lesser alternative". Linux is just more of a sellable brand to the masses as far as I see it.

    This is purely from a marketing point of view remember, tell me what you think.
    That all depends on how you market it on your website, most hosts will just put the O/S down without any explanation at all. When we launch our new site in the near future, we will have a section which will explain about FreeBSD as well as some of the other O/S we support in some detail, and also explain why we have chosen each one for each task etc.

    Therefore if you sell FreeBSD, sell its advantages, perhaps even going as far as to reassure people that even though it has 'free' in the name this is by no means a bad thing for example, it will probably act more as an advantage than a disadvantage.
    Jo Stonehouse - Kualowww.kualo.com
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  25. #25
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    I can't agree - Linux is better than BSD

    There was a time when BSD was better than Linux - but that was before the 2.4 kernel. Now with the 2.6 kernel Linux has left BSD in the dust. So - to me BSD users are people stuck in the past.

    I suppoes it's the GPL license that made Linux win. BSD is truely free - so people can take it and not have to give back the modifications they make. Linux requires you give back and share - so companies like IBM give a billion bucks worth of mainframe code to Linux and they get all the development that their competitors put in. There's hundreds of times as many people developing Linux as BSD.

    BSD is a fine OS - but - Linux wins.
    Marc Perkel
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  26. #26
    mperkel, I think without going into specifics, your comments are pretty worthless. To just tell everyone you think Linux is better than BSD without actually giving any useful input into the discussion (i.e WHY you think it's best suited as a webhosting OS) is not very helpful.

    I don't intend this thread to go into a X is better than Y argument. This is an intelligent discussion about the advantages/disadvantages of using each as a web server OS.

    For example, the new Linux 2.6 kernel may have support for some of the latest and greatest hardware that FreeBSD does not. However, if my web server contains hardware supported by the well tested and used FreeBSD drivers, I'm not really going to care about Linux's wider hardware support. This illustrates my point. This discussion is about each OS's suitability in different hosting environments, not "which one is the overall better OS".

    Daniel

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