Every computer you use runs on an operating system, commonly abbreviated as OS. It makes sense, then, that your dedicated server would need one too. It would also make sense that the OS you choose for your dedicated server will play a huge role in your experience. While there are a number of features to consider about a dedicated server before investing in one, its operating system needs to be a priority.

Keep in mind that a dedicated server’s OS only matters if you or someone in your company will be dealing with it directly. If you plan on paying the hosting company to provide administrative support, then the OS used is largely inconsequential.

Two Main OS for Dedicated Servers

Otherwise, know that your two main options will be Linux and Windows. The former is by far the most popular, as its track record goes back decades. However, Windows Servers have been steadily growing in popularity. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is probably the fact that most people are just familiar with Windows and trust its services.

There are definitely other operating systems out there for dedicated servers. Apple OS X is an example. Like Windows Servers, name recognition has done a lot to help gain its market share. However, unless you just really love Apple, their OS probably isn’t worth it.

Comparing the Different Linux OS for Servers

There are countless versions of the Linux OS. (These versions are called distros. The 3 main distros you’ll be choosing from are Debian, CentOS, and Ubuntu. Here are the pros and cons of each OS:


Is the most popular OS choice for dedicated servers and with good reason. And is based on the Red Hat distro.


  • Widely distributed enterprise solution
  • Based on a commercial solution
  • Very Stable
  • Extensively tested


  • The long period between releases
  • Latest features not always available


Debian is one of the oldest distros out there, and it’s still going strong.


  • A stable releases with few bugs
  • Support for many architectures
  • Large, helpful community


  • Complex installation process
  • Long wait for releases


Ubuntu is normally thought of as a desktop distribution, but it is also one of the most powerful Linux server OS out there!


  • Ease of use
  • Plenty of documentation
  • Steady release dates
  • Official support


  • Some software will not run properly
  • Proprietary software is used
  • Features don’t support power users

Choosing the Right OS for Your Dedicated Server

The easiest way to pick an OS for your dedicated server is just to go with what you’re most familiar with. Trying to learn the command line operations of Linux to a degree where you can support server operations is going to be too tall a task for most people. If you need a dedicated server in the near future, there is no way this will be feasible. However, if you already know Linux, it could be argued that you’ll benefit from greater speed, more reliability, and a respectable reputation. Of course, there will also be decade’s worth of information online for you to go to if you have any problems.

That being said, many people prefer Windows for its unrivaled power. At the same time, Windows Server is extremely flexible too. This helps explain why it is the more expensive of the two options.

Look at the OS for your dedicated server like choosing between automatic and manual for your next vehicle. Go with what you’re most familiar with, first, even if it means paying extra. Otherwise, you’re just making more work for yourself and taking on a learning curve when the time is of the essence.

Windows Server will be getting some powerful new features with Windows Server 2016, so it may drastically increase in popularity in the next couple of years.

ServerPronto offers the best affordable and secure hosting service in all dedicated server packages.



Choosing a Dedicated Server for your Website


Photo Cred: Flickr / Jared Tarbell

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