Hosting Server Software / OS

Discussion in 'Server Operation' started by tal56, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. tal56

    tal56 Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm getting a dedicated server soon, it's the first one I've ever had to manage remotly and I want to use it to host website and maybe some reseller accounts.

    What OS would be easier to manage/update? Fedora, CentOS or Debian?

    Also I'd like to run Webmin on it, but what hosting control panel would you suggest I use? Virtualmin or ISP config. I've played with both but find it difficult to compare the two.

    I know virtualmin gpl has no reseller accounts, but it seems to have more features than ispconfig. Also it seems to run better with Webmin.

    Thank you very much for any suggestions.
  2. sjau

    sjau Local Meanie Moderator

    it's up to you but I'd go for debian...

    and if you want to use virtualmin or ISP Config, why do you also want to install webmin? for what reason?
  3. tal56

    tal56 Member

    I'm kinda leaning towards the Debian side as well since my last server I've set was Ubuntu, but the rpm's are nice with Centos, that would probably be my second choice. Fedora just seems to be too continously beta for a reliable server.

    As for Webmin, I've used it with my servers before and it's fantastic for remote access to manage things on my server through a browser. Also isn't required to be installed if you want to use Virtualmin? I belive the two work together don't they?

    What are some advantages/disadvantages of ISPconfig and Virtualmin that you people who are familiar with both packages find? Thanks
  4. edge

    edge Active Member Moderator

    I'm using Webmin in combination of ISPconfig, but you really need to be careful with what you do with Webmin, as it will break things for ISPconfig!

    I've never used Virtualmin, so I can not judge on this (the demo does look nice when it works)

    You will find on this forum that a lot of people are using Debian as OS (like me), but like sjau said.. It's up to you.
  5. erebus

    erebus New Member

    I have been there.

    I used to maintain Slackware servers for years, mainly for hosting purposes. This was hard to maintain as the habit of that years was to compile everything by hand ("just to be sure") and there was no serious panel at that time. Sometime, I realized that I had to migrate to a "modern" linux distro, as Slackware remained too monolithic for my needs. I then tried Debian.

    Debian is good, however if you want the latest packages / updates on your system, you will have to stick with the "test" release. I didn't like that idea and after some time I tried Ubuntu which is actually a stable Debian clone but with decent and recent updates.

    Ubuntu is good too and if you consider yourself as a newbie, it would be a good idea to try it. You will find tons of info on the web and if you have a difficult situation you will find someone to help you out for sure. Also, it is not that unstable as the Debian "test" version and you 'll have the ability to choose recent packages for your server if you need to - i.e. php5, mysql5, latest kernel etc. Apt-get will become your best friend.

    Having tested all these distros for years, a couple of months ago I had to decide which one to choose as I ordered my first dedicated server (all the others were local ones). I was thinking of putting Ubuntu as I had some experience with it, I wanted latest packages and the possibility to find support on the net if I needed too. I always disliked Redhat and its clones - for no particular reason. But at that time, it happened to have also some kernel issues with Debian and I was displeased by that.

    I reconsidered it and decided to try CentOS, which is an excellent Redhat Enterprise Linux clone, with a great community. Another reason I chose it, was that there is a rumor out there in the masses that using a Redhat (even Redhat-based) distro, makes your server robust, secure and powerful. Rubbish if you ask me, however marketing plays its role here. Check most hosting companies on the net today; they illustrate redhat logos on their pages. Also it is true that Redhat (and clone distros) gives pays extra attention to security and I think they keep a good balance between security and recent software versions.

    CentOS is a very good and "clean" distro. I think you can use apt-get here too, however the default is "yum" and it is a great tool (in many ways better that apt-get for me). There are plenty of RPMs out there too. If you stick with the default CentOS repositories, you will have the basics -- which might be enough for you. If you want to play around and have more software available via yum or more recent version, you will have to add more unofficial repositories (which is easy to do) and will keep your system in good shape.

    To be honest, I really believe that 50% of the serious linux users out there use Debian and Ubuntu for their servers and the other 50% use Redhat, Fedora and CentOS (desktops is another issue, I'm talking about servers). So if you decide to use CentOS, you will have no problem on seeking for support and software when needed. Debian and Ubuntu probably has more packages, but you will rarely (if ever) need them. CentOS also do not rush to bring the latest kernel on your system -- which is a good think too. However if you consider installing CentOS, use the 4.5 version -- the brand new 5.0 version it is said to have still some issues on production servers, especially with the repositories.

    I am sure that Debian and Ubuntu users will have to say a lot of good words for their distros too -- however this is my personal opinion and I really don't want to open a flame here. :)

    As far as the panel is concerned, I will definitely say to try (at least) ISPConfig. As far as I know, Webmin if a general administration web interface for the whole box and a bunch of services. This seems to be a good idea, however you will lose control if you have many clients, domains and websites, as there is no unified control for all these with Webmin. Apart from that, everything will have to be done by you and only you -- no control for your clients and resellers, which also seem unprofessional today.

    On the other side, ISPConfig is a professional hosting tool, period. This means that you can give to your clients and your resellers a login username and password to change settings, setup their own domains and a lot more with maximum security -- so you will have less to do managing your server. It also automates a lot of things, so you have to worry for less. In addition, the "Perfect Server" howtos in will guide you step by step to setup your server easily, even if you have little experience. Furthermore, ISPConfig has a great community which is always here when you have problem either with your ISPConfig installation or with your linux server in general. You will have little -to none- issues, that you will able to solve easily by reading the tutorials or by consulting old forum posts.

    I hope these help to make up your mind.
  6. tal56

    tal56 Member

    Thanks for all your suggestions, I think I've pretty well settled on the OS, and that being CentOS. I think I'm a little more familiar with the Redhat structure, so it may suit me better. The hosting company only offers CentOS 5, and not 4.5 so hopefully it's going to be stable.

    As for the Control panel, I'm still undecided. Webmin with the Virtualmin module seems to work well together, and I've been using webmin for a while, so am fairly confident on it's stability and ease of use.

    I do like ISPconfig from what I've seen on testing with my Ubuntu install, especially since it has the reseller feature which virtualmin gpl dosent have unless I get the pro version which is not free. I'm just worried about ISPconfig in combination with Webmin having problems.
  7. erebus

    erebus New Member

    Ok let me clarify that.

    First of all I don't see why to use webmin in combination with ISPConfig. From what you say (and from what I understand), Webmin alone is not an option for you. In any case, Webmin is something VERY different that ISPConfig -- it is a web interface for the system's administrator, allowing you to setup and configure things without logging in to the console. ISPConfig on the other side is a web hosting software with its logic, not compared to webmin at all.

    From webmin you can configure tons of services (from what I remember). From ISPConfig you can configure the USAGE of the NEEDED services (dns, http, email, etc). You can't configure other services and you can't configure (that much) the setup of these services like webmin.

    So my opinion is that you can use both if you are unfamiliar to Linux shell. Just be careful not to brake things (i.e. use Webmin for services that ISPConfig don't use, or for files that don't interfere with ISPConfig).

    In any case, if you don't try will always be in doubt. :)

    Best regards,
  8. tal56

    tal56 Member

    Hi Erebus,

    I think I wasn't really clear in explaining the details. I've worked on linux boxes before, but am by no means a expert, so thats why I want to have Webmin installed. I do use command line for most tasks, but webmin helps a lot when there are things I just don't know how to do. I feel a lot more comfortable with it installed on my box, so regardless if I go with Virtualmin or ISP config I'd like to have webmin.

    I've been doing a lot of reading the last few days with ISPconfig and Virtualmin and both are great for hosting websites. I like that ISPconfig has reseller accounts, but may end up using Virtualmin GPL version just because it shouldn't cause any conflicts with Webmin, since they are built to work together.

    I was just hoping some people with experience using these combinations could ring in with their experience, which you have and I thank you for that.
  9. SBN-Support

    SBN-Support New Member

    I preface all this with the statement that I am a windows network admin that is just moving into the Linux world. For my Linux experience level I find Virtualmin/Webmin invaluable. Now with that said....

    Virtualmin will install Webmin and Usermin. The Pro version will give you a bunch more options than the GPL version. I use the Pro version on a specialty in-house box solely because it gives me an easy to use GUI for management.

    I don't know that Virtualmin Pro is ready to compete head to head against cPanel yet. But, I do think it's easier to use than WHM.

    As for what OS. On the Virtualmin site it breaks down it's OS recommendations by grade. Grade "A" being the best with CentOS and I think Fedora. Could be wrong but I think those are the only two Grade "A" OS's listed.

    If you use CentOS 5. Make sure you "yum update" from a new install before trying to run the Virtualmin script. Otherwise the install will fail. The and the Webmin Virtualmin module are not the same thing.

  10. tal56

    tal56 Member

    Thanks again for the suggestions, I've actually installed virtualmin to play around with and like that it is really feature rich and you can configure so much it's amazing. There are a few things I don't like about it though, such as the look is just horrible. It is easy to use, but this is a interface for customers when hosting, why is it just so bland? Also I don't like how there is a gpl and pro version, the gpl version will always be missing some nice features that the pro version includes.

    As for the OS, I've played with both Debian and CentOS now and like them both. Centos seems to be more popular but Debian seems to be what most developers are using as the platform of choice.

    Till and Falko, can you tell me what is your preferred distro and what are you using to develop on?
  11. falko

    falko Super Moderator ISPConfig Developer

    Debian. :):)
  12. edge

    edge Active Member Moderator

    tal56 is now formating his HDD(s), and installing Debian :)
  13. tal56

    tal56 Member

    Very tempted :) haha

Share This Page