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  1. #1

    Operating systems (CentOS, Debian etc)...

    Just curious, if a server is fully managed and you have no intention of doing anything other than running a website, is there much need to choose CentOS over Debian (or the other way round)?

    Also, some hosts ask if you want a 32bit or 64bit operating system. I assume you would always go for 64bit (or not)?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tampa, Florida
    CentOS versus Debian would be mostly personal preference unless you have compatibility issues with specification applications or control panels which exclude one or the other. Both OS's are fairly well supported though.

    Regarding 32 bit or 64 bit you would typically go with 64 bit unless a lagacy application requires 32 bit. You should be best to go with 64 bit for a number of reasons though mostly related to performance.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    They are both great operating systems that are stable. If you stay on debian stable they tend to be a little slower on software releases for non-critical stuff.

    I personally prefer CentOS but I am a lot more familiar with it and used to the redhat specific things. Really either will work great for you if you don't need anything fancy.

    No real reason not to go with 64bit at this point if you have over 4Gb of RAM you are much better of doing 64bit.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    North West England
    Not really much to add - go with what you are more comfortable using, and go for 64bit.

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  5. #5
    For experience I can say that most people would actually recommend CentOS.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    CentOS and Debian both are good but if you are planning to use a control panel then make sure you check its compatibility with the respective OS.

    For ex: cPanel is not supported with Debian but works on CentOS. - WHUK :: Leader in Web Hosting since 2001
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  7. #7
    I find CentOS generally has more support in all respects, though Debian is a great OS too. I tend to go for Debian for low footprint installations and for personal stuff. Both are perfectly capable of running webservers.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Orange County, CA
    I recommend clients to go with 64bit for addressing more than 4GB of ram. Which is useful down the road even though you need less than that now. Much better than reinstalling the OS down the road. I understand you can use PAE but, I personally 64bit makes things easier.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Chicago, IL
    My 2 cents would be go with 64 bit CentOS 5.* , it seems as if CentOS has a larger support base, it works with cpanel, and is a bit more popular because of working with cPanel. Both are fairly comparable though
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  10. #10
    centos is the popular os out there for servers.
    If more than 4gb ram, go for 64bit since 32 bit can only use upto 4gb ram. so even if you have 8gigs of ram, the 32bit os will only utilize the 4gigs.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Firstly, there are PAE extensions so that you can use more than 4GB with a 32bit OS. However, each process will not be able to use more than 3GB. For a server environment however, this is very rarely an issue.

    For some applications, 32bit will be faster and for others, 64bit will be faster.

    32bit is faster when the application uses mostly 32bit, 16bit, and 8bit variables. Most network oriented tasks or applications will perform faster as 32bit. In particular, you will see much faster performance with routing, firewalling, etc as we are still using IPV4.

    64bit is faster when the application uses a lot of 64bit or larger variables. This is simply because more data can be manipulated in fewer instructions. Databases usually tend to perform faster in 64bit for instance. There is also the advantage of extra sets of registers being available in the AMD64 ISA.

    However, there are also disadvantages to 64bit. For instance, you essentially lose half your CPU cache, because even 32bit or smaller chunks of data will occupy 64bits of cache. The same applies to your RAM. Also, because data is moved around in larger chunks, you are more likely to exhaust your memory bandwidth as you are moving around data in larger chunks than you are actually using.

    Anyway, so far as web hosting environments are concerned, go 64bit if you have databases that see a lot of usage, but otherwise go 32bit.

    As for CentOS vs Debian, use CentOS if you need support for commercial applications, but otherwise go Debian. Debian has a cleaner design and makes more sensible decisions in a lot of different scenarios. Package management is also better, with dependencies and upgrades being handled better. There are more packages and also a larger variety of apt repositories available than yum repositories, which makes using less common apps much easier.

    I would still take FreeBSD over either one of them any day though
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