how to choose the correct operating system for your vps

How to choose the right operating system for your VPS

12 min read

When it comes to choosing an operating system for your VPS, it can be quite challenging as there are a number of things that you need to consider. First and foremost, it boils down to your experience with the world of hosting, cloud servers and system administration.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself - what I am going to be using the VPS server for - hosting a website, an application or a personal project?

Next up, there are also a plethora of other factors like the package manager, system environment and the financial aspect of your server plan that you also need to pay attention to.

This can be quite overwhelming at first, especially for a beginner. Because of this we are going to help you choose the right operating system for your VPS! Join us as we cover some of the most popular Linux distributions as well as Windows Server so that you can make the correct choice for your needs!

Ubuntu - User-Friendly, Powerful & Versatile

The first Linux distribution that we want to focus on is a well-known fan favorite - Ubuntu. Due to its fantastic user-friendly nature, it has been the go-to option for both beginners and experienced professionals. But what makes Ubuntu THE preferred operating system?

It’s beginner-friendly. Ubuntu comes with its very own default, intuitive interface - GNOME, which is very easily navigable even by those who are not familiar with Linux.

It’s easy to install. If you do decide to get a fresh VPS without a pre-installed operating system, Ubuntu is one of the easiest and most straightforward distributions that you can manually set up onto your cloud server. Not to mention the fact that there is a plethora of online resources that you can take a look at if you happen to struggle with the installation process, which brings us to our third point.

It’s got incredible support. Ubuntu has the largest and most active community online, meaning that you can always get an answer to your question or a quick solution to your problem. The sheer amount of online resources that are present at your fingertips as well as the helpful people that you can find across different forums and websites makes working with Ubuntu a breeze.

It’s updated regularly (and it’s stable)! Ubuntu is the perfect combination of stability and new features, which is something that other distros can’t boast about! The operating system follows a very predictable 6-month release cycle, which not only implements fixes to security issues, but also introduces new and exciting features.


But surely it can’t be perfect, right? Well, yes, there are some drawbacks to Ubuntu. While the operating system does focus on user-friendliness, its software size can become larger that other distributions, meaning that it might not always be the go-to choice if you are running a VPS that’s low on resources.

Additionally, the fact that Ubuntu focuses on stability means that it doesn’t always provide the latest software versions. But this is a trade-off that most people prefer anyway.

CentOS - Popular but Discontinued

Even though support for the operating system has been stopped, CentOS still remains widely used by many people because of its previous popularity. It was incredibly stable and many commercial applications were built especially for CentOS. The community was quite huge which is why the decision to stop supporting the project was met with incredible backlash. This then led to the creation of several new distributions such as Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux that continue the project today.

CentOS Stream. The project was replaced with CentOS Stream which acts as a midstream between Fedora Linux and the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As a successor it is aimed towards supporting large-scale infrastructures such as large commercial platforms. However, it also got discontinued as Red Hat decided to focus solely on RHEL and its development, abandoning the CentOS Stream 8 project. As of now, CentOS Stream 8 is still being supported with unclear future plans.


But as great as CentOS was, the fact that it has been discontinued does come with its own set of problems. Because the operating system isn’t developed further, bugs and security issues remain unfixed, which can expose your VPS to breaches, which can have a major negative impact on your VPS as well as your projects.

Not only that but new features are also not being developed, meaning that you are going to have to rely on what is already there.

On the bright side, though, there are, as we mentioned, successors to CentOS. And while they might not yet live up to the old glory of the operating system (YET), there are definitely a great alternative.

Fedora - Innovation, Cutting-Edge Development Focus

The next Linux distribution on our list is Fedora. Widely regarded as the most innovative operating system, it stands out from the rest due to its dedicated focus on releasing new frequent updates, allowing you to have access to the newest software and functionalities.

It focuses on innovation. Fedora aims to constantly stay ahead of everyone else, releasing the latest software versions and implementing the newest features as soon as they become available. This makes it a fantastic choice for developers that want to play around and experiment with all of the new technologies and stay ahead of the curve and their competition. This commitment to releasing new updates is also evident by Fedora’s release cycle, which is around 8-13 weeks.

It’s mainly rooted within the developer community. Fedora’s fast release nature makes it the ideal candidate for developers. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use the operating system if you’re not a developer, and as a matter of fact, you’d surround yourself with very experienced people in Fedora’s community, who are going to be capable of helping you along the way.

It’s great for testing. As we already mentioned, the fact that you get to play with the newest software packages as a developer every few months, makes the operating system a fantastic playground when it comes to testing out new technologies.


But seeing as how Fedora’s main aim is to constantly push out updates, it’s no surprise that it can sometimes not be the most stable distribution. This can lead to bugs and security issues creeping in as well as some compatibility issues, which can be quite a problem for some.

Additionally, if you wish to get access to these new features, you are going to also have to keep up with maintaining your system by implementing patches and updates. This does mean that you are going to have to manually apply configurations, which can be quite a turn-off for those that are not that experienced when it comes to system administration.

Fedora can also be quite difficult for beginners. These constant updates and new features make it quite difficult to start utilizing the OS as sometimes you need to make a few tweaks to get things going. This steep learning curve is something that beginners should be aware of as it’s not going to be as easy as managing a VPS with Ubuntu for example.

Debian - Stable Staple of Linux Distributions

When it comes to stability, nothing compares to the power of Debian. Standing tall as the staple of stability, the operating system has gained its reputation of being the rock of Linux distributions over the years. It is used by many large non-profit organizations and large institutions as well as by commercial companies. No wonder Ubuntu and many other distributions are based on Debian.

It offers unmatched stability. In comparison to all of the operating systems that we have covered so far, Debian offers unrivaled stability. Its long release cycle of 2-3 years allows everything to be tested, ensuring nothing else but top notch quality, minimum bugs and security problems. Because of this, Debian is often the go-to choice for applications that require constant uptime and reliability.

It comes with many different packages. Debian, similarly to Red hat based distributions (RHEL based), comes equipped with one of the most stacked libraries in terms of software packages, as you can find literally anything to fit your needs.

It focuses on security. Seeing as how Debian is the pillar of stability, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it has a very strict focus on security as well, being one of its core principles. Security updates are constantly rolled out in order to ensure that every issue is fixed in time in addition to implementing new defenses.

It comes with excellent documentation. Debian’s documentation is extremely well-written. Every guide goes into detail including system administration, troubleshooting as well as configuration, allowing you to find the answer to anything Debian-related.


But while Debian can be seen as the most reputable gentleman in the operating system world, there are some setbacks that you need to be aware of. Firstly, Debian doesn’t offer the latest software versions as frequently as let’s say Ubuntu. This is because the release cycle and update policy is different and longer due to the testing that is carried out. The major releases are made approximately every 2 years, after which the release enters a ‘freeze’ phase, meaning that there are no updates to roll out except for critical security patches. This then continues for half a year before it is declared a stable version.

Another aspect of Debian that you need to be aware of is the fact that it comes with a highly customizable and more complex installation, unlike the simple and easy setup of Ubuntu.

OpenSUSE - Power & Customization

The next entry in our list is OpenSUSE. Tailored towards more experienced users and those who value customization options and granular control, OpenSUSE has made a name for itself over the last couple of years.

It offers unmatched customization. When it comes to tailoring your VPS to your needs, no operating system comes close to OpenSUSE. Its powerful package manager - zypper, enables you to have full control over software selection, installation and configuration, allowing you to optimize your VPS for the best possible experience.

It offers multiple desktop environments. In contrast to other operating systems, OpenSUSE doesn’t limit you to a single desktop environment. As a matter of fact you can choose from a wide range of environments like KDE Plasma, LXDE or even GNOME during the installation. Not only that but you can also change it later.

It has a very active community with active support. Even though OpenSUSE’s community is not the same size as that of Debian or Ubuntu, it is very active and passionate with many dedicated forums and online resources that you can consult and utilize.

It stays true to Open-Source principles. OpenSUSE expresses a strong commitment to transparency, community and open-source software.

It has a rolling release model. In comparison to other distributions with a set release cycle, OpenSUSE focuses on implementing a rolling release model. This means that you get continuous updates when they are needed to ensure that you have access to the most recent software versions.


In terms of setbacks, OpenSUSE can be quite difficult to utilize for beginners. This is because the abundance of customization options can be a bit too much for those that are just starting out. Similarly to Fedora, command-line experience is also going to be quite beneficial, which is something that newcomers to Linux won’t have.

The other slight inconvenience is that due to its release model, you might have to perform updates more frequently.

AlmaLinux & Rocky Linux - The CentOS Successors

As we already mentioned, CentOS has 2 successors in the face of AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux. While they do have some slight differences, they do for the most part build upon the reputation of CentOS, being stable and reliable.

They offer stability. Both operating systems inherit the stability of CentOS, which consequently makes them a very reliable option for applications that require maximum uptime.

They focus on security. Both Alma and Rocky roll out regular security updates to ensure that security issues are fixed and patched.

They have long release cycles. Again, similar to CentOS, both distributions have a long release cycle of 2-3 years. They also offer support for previous versions of up to 10 years, which makes them a great choice for applications that need predictable releases and stability.

They are compatible with RHEL. Due to this compatibility, both operating systems can utilize the giant ecosystem of software and tools that can aid the development of RHEL-compatible applications that some businesses might need.

They are backed up by their communities. Given that both are relatively new Linux distributions, their communities are quickly growing as more and more CentOS users are making the switch. This results in many forums and resources sprouting which ensures better issue detection and resolutions.

almarocky linux

When it comes to disadvantages, both Alma and Rocky come with a minimal installation by default, similar to Debian, meaning that you might need to install additional software like a web server if that’s not already covered by your provider.

But if they have the same advantages and drawbacks, why are they different distributions?

Rocky Linux was founded by a former CentOS project leader, whereas AlmaLinux is backed up by a non-profit organization. Additionally, Rocky utilizes a branching model from the RHEL codebase, while Alma uses a rebuild approach, creating binary packages compatible with RHEL, using its own build system.

The next difference is that Rocky uses RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) for package management, while Alma employs DNF (, resulting in quicker and more user-friendly package management.

Furthemore, Rocky Linux is tailored towards a corporate-backed community, while AlmaLinux focuses on utilizing a more neutral, community-driven approach.

So if you are looking for a familiar development process, you might benefit more from Rocky Linux. But if you are searching for a faster, more user-friendly package manager, you might want to consider going for AlmaLinux.

Windows Server - Powerful, User-Friendly, Recognizable

The final operating system that we want to cover is not Linux-based. As a matter of fact it employs one of the most recognizable user interfaces - Windows. Windows Server is an ideal choice for those that are not familiar with Linux or those that are just getting started in the field of VPS server management.

It has a familiar user interface. Windows Servers offers an intuitive interface with management tools that are very similar to those you’d find on a Windows desktop, which can be quite helpful for beginners, reducing the learning curve and giving you everything at your fingertips.

It can be integrated with Active Directory. This feature is aimed towards businesses that want to utilize Active Directory to assign user management and domain control.

It is compatible with different software applications. In addition to being compatible with a vast majority of Windows Server applications, the operating system can also be integrated with different independent tools and apps.

It is very secure. Windows Server is developed by Microsoft, meaning that by default it comes equipped with many different security measures. As a matter of fact, Windows Server offers encryption and access control tools that you can use to further secure your VPS.

It has a very strong community and support. As we already mentioned, the operating system is developed by Microsoft, meaning that it comes equipped with a very extensive documentation and additional support resources. But if you are still unable to locate the answer to your question, you can also always go to the members of the online server

In terms of limitations, Windows Server does come with a license, rather than being free of charge like the Linux distributions. The cost is different depending on where you get the license from. Some providers like us at VPSBG are official Microsoft SPLA partners, meaning that you can get the license directly from the provider.

Additionally, Windows Server does also utilize more resources than some Linux distros, meaning that you might want to get a VPS with more CPU power, RAM and SSD space.

Not only that but it also comes with less customization options, which means that it won’t allow you to tailor your VPS as some of the other Linux distributions.

Comparing all of the options

Overall, choosing the right operating system for your VPS can be quite difficult. Even though we tried to summarize most of the advantages and drawbacks for all popular operating systems, you might still be wondering which one would be the most suitable one for you.

Our ultimate tip would be to go for an operating system that reflects your understanding of system administration and VPS servers.

This means that if you are a beginner, we’d recommend going for either Ubuntu or Windows Server. For developers, you might consider going for Fedora. Debian and Alma/Rocky Linux are aimed more towards businesses and larger organizations, whereas OpenSUSE is an option that would be more suitable for experienced individuals that want full control over their VPS.

os comparison

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join 5000+ subscribers and receive helpful content, deals and more! We promise no spam - 100% great content. Unsubscribe anytime.

Deploy a Cloud VPS with your chosen operating system!

Payment methods we accept:
Lightning Network (Bitcoin)
Credit card
Bank transfer