If you’ve chosen to move your business from a shared or local hosting solution to a Linux VPS, then you’ve already made a significant step forward. Linux VPS hosting is a very popular choice among small and medium-sized businesses because of the many flavors of the OS available and the fact that almost all of it is based on the free and open source Linux kernel and GNU project. This allows users to modify the server in any number of ways, and offer an ever-increasing array of flavors for you to choose from. One of the most popular currently being used in the Linux VPS hosting market is Debian VPS.
Debian hosting has its beginnings in 1993, when the first version of this OS was released. This flavor of Linux has proven to be very popular, most notable for its security and stability, and many other distros use the Debian base as a jumping off point for their own explorations of the Linux OS. Perhaps one of the most important things to know about Debian is that it is famous for the number of options and packages available to users. As of the beginning of 2011, Debian had over 23,000 packages listed, more than four times as many than other distros like CentOS or Fedora. Debian is also produced by a community of volunteers, rather than a commercial organization, which means that its focus is more on functionality and stable releases than on generating a new version over a prescribed period.
Features of the Debian OS
There are a number of features of Debian VPS hosting that set it apart from other common Linux distros such as CentOS or Ubuntu, starting with its release cycle. This flavor of Linux is well-known for a two-year release cycle that includes a “when it is ready” mantra. This means that while two years is the general timeline for a new Debian release, if the community feels that it is not yet ready for public consumption, it will be held back.
This form of Linux VPS hosting is also well-known for its easy upgrades – a simple command will allow you to update your version live, with no interruption to service. Debian also comes with support for a large number of CPU architectures including alpha, armel, hppa, mipsle and s390, as well as a publicly available bug-tracking system so that issues can either be address via a hotfix or can be resolved when the next version of the OS is released.
Currently, a large number of educational institutions such as the University of Zurich and government organizations such as the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, India use Debian as their OS of choice.
Potential Issues Facing Debian Users
While the Debian VPS hosting allows access to a large number of features, there are a few issues that you may experience when using this OS. One of the most often listed is that Debian lacks some popular commercial, though it does include three free open source alternatives. In addition, the configuration of GNU/Linux under Debian can be difficult even for experienced users. The installation itself is straightforward, however, and the community is working on ways to make configuration simpler, or at least provide guides on how best to configure common software or hardware.
The last major complaint which is sometimes heard about Debian is its lack of support for extremely new or extremely old hardware. Because of the nature of its release cycle and the community, Debian does not come with a great deal of support for older hardware, and is not meant to be on the cutting edge of new hardware for Linux. However, in a VPS Hosting environment you are unlikely to be hindered by either of these issues.
Debian and Plesk
The most common VPS control panel used with Debian is Plesk, as it offers a wide variety of management features to complement those contained in Debian. On a VPS, Plesk can be set up to automate many of the processes of a Debian OS and report them to a user in the form of either an email or graphic notification in the Plesk UI. Together, Plesk and Debian make a powerful team for fully utilizing a VPS.
Debian VPS hosting offers a wide variety of packages, an easy install, and a dedicated community that is committed to providing support for the current version of the OS and a new release (on average) every two years.