Best Lightweight Linux Server Distributions

Recommendations: 12 | Last Updated: July 4, 2021 (3 weeks, 2 days)

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Alpine Linux

A Linux distribution based on musl and BusyBox, designed for security, simplicity, and resource efficiency. Alpine Linux is mostly used in server environments as its hardened kernel and resource efficiency makes it perfect for containerisation. The distribution compiles all user-space binaries as position-independent executables along with stack-smashing protection for stack buffer overflow concerns.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free and open source Linux distribution developed and released by Canonical. The distribution uses a customized version of GNOME as desktop environment and is based on Debian. Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution today, and continues to drive new people to the Linux ecosystem.

Debian

Debian is a free and open-source operating system and GNU/Linux distribution that is openly developed by the community-supported Debian Project. The distribution was first released in 1993 and today it is the base of many other Linux-based distribution such as the popular Ubuntu. The project includes over 59000 packages, precompiled software bundled up for easy installation on your machine.

CentOS

The CentOS Linux distribution is a stable, predictable, manageable and reproducible platform derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The operating system is built with community-driven efforts and is released free and open-source under the GPLv2. Since March 2004, CentOS has been used to power servers and desktops across the world, and the project is still going strong to this day.

Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is a community-developed, enterprise-grade operating system. The distribution was created to combate the declining trust in CentOS after the aqqustion made by IBM and Red Hat. Rocky Linux aims to provide a free and open, downstream, version-pinned option of REHL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux).

Fedora

Fedora is a free and open-source Linux distribution developed by the community-supported Fedora Project. The project is primarily sponsored by the IBM subsidiary Red Hat while also receiving additional support from other companies. Fedora is used both on desktops and on servers where it power enterprise-level systems and provides the latest datacenter technologies.

Oracle Linux

A cloud native environment of software components for the development and management of cloud-native applications developed. The operating system is developed by Oracle, on top of the Linux Kernel and adheres to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Open Container Initiative standards. Oracle Linux makes it easy to manage cloud native applications and perform installations, updates and upgrades on the underlying infrastructure.

openSUSE

The makers' choice for sysadmins, developers and desktop users. openSUSE, formerly SUSE Linux and SuSE Linux Professional, is a free and open-source Linux distribution. openSUSE is openly developed by SUSE Software Solutions Germany GmbH and the community.

Mageia

Mageia is a community-based Linux distribution designed for desktop as well as server use. Mageia is built by a nonprofit organisation of elected contributors with a mission to build great tools for people. Besides delivering a secure, stable and sustainable operating system the organization strives to create a credible and recognized community in the free software world.

Arch Linux

A highly modular, flexible and lightweight Linux distribution for computers with x86-64 processors. Arch Linux is a free and openly developed by the Arch community and released under the GNU General Public License.