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#1 2010-11-12 16:14:36

Tsynique
Member
Registered: 2010-05-19
Posts: 37

Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

Hello,

I am about to create a hosting server for a great number of websites. Since i never actually did it myself it will be relatively new to me. For that reason I want to use Arch distro because I like it, understand it and have most experience with it.
I wanted to hear opinions why Arch is suitable and why not for a server machine. Also, maybe someone could recommend other distros that are better fit for the job (provided there are any)

Thanks!

Last edited by Tsynique (2010-11-12 16:16:32)

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#2 2010-11-12 16:22:11

brisbin33
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From: boston, ma
Registered: 2008-07-24
Posts: 1,796
Website

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

If you're hosting other peoples' sites, sites they rely on being up, sites they're possibly paying you to host.... I wouldn't do it. 

Arch is great, I use it for my own web site, it very rarely breaks, and I've had almost no downtime, but...

Arch is a rolling release, bleeding edge distro.  The only way to guarantee uptime would be to have a duplicate dev box, update/test there then push packages over.

Weigh your options, just sayin'.

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#3 2010-11-12 18:16:40

arch0r
Member
From: From the Chron-o-John
Registered: 2008-05-13
Posts: 597

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

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#4 2010-11-12 20:34:06

Kasumi_Ninja
Member
Registered: 2009-12-31
Posts: 54

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

brisbin33 wrote:

If you're hosting other peoples' sites, sites they rely on being up, sites they're possibly paying you to host.... I wouldn't do it. 

Arch is great, I use it for my own web site, it very rarely breaks, and I've had almost no downtime, but...

Arch is a rolling release, bleeding edge distro.  The only way to guarantee uptime would be to have a duplicate dev box, update/test there then push packages over.

I agree, furthermore I recommend Debian for server usage because it requires minimal maintenance . With Arch you are responsible for everything from tracking security updates to making sure an update doesn't break your system. Other distro's have teams for this (security team. release team etc.). It can be done, but requires lots of time imo.

You might feel more comfortable with CentOS, they appear to have a more 'vanilla' installation and config files. Debian adjusts almost everything (very well documented though) in order to provide an working setup out-of-the box.

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#5 2010-11-12 21:32:46

olive
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2008-06-22
Posts: 1,054

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

Updating in archlinux may cause problems. If you want to guarantee that the server is up all the time; the solution could be not to update it. Just install what you need and don't touch it afterwards. But then you have no security updates. I do not know if it is really risky but we need to consider security much more for a server than for a workstation.

There are a lot of OS that may be better suited for a server. Centos (aka Red Hat Enterprise) have security updates for a very long time for a given release. Slackware is worth considering. It has the KISS philosophy of archlinux (which I thing contribute to the security); have stable up to date releases and provides security updates. The official set of packages is rather limited though, but contains the standard ones. It might be an excellent choice; especially if you like archlinux as a work station.

There is also Debian or Ubuntu. I don't like the way they strongly modify the packages... but some people like them.

Just my thought, it up to you to decide.

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#6 2010-11-12 22:33:24

manmachine
Member
From: Athens
Registered: 2010-10-28
Posts: 62
Website

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

There is certainly value in using something that you're most familiar with, and arch can be used for this if you know what you're doing. You won't be installing xorg/3d drivers/WMs and a myriad other things that will break after all. Only a LAMP stack to worry about + kernel + security updates (i assume).

But, if it's anything serious/more than a hobby, and other people expect to rely on it...i'm going to agree with the rest and strongly recommend CentOS. Debian is also a good choice i guess for long term stability but I haven't used it (I do have a server with CentOS). And of course you should steer clear from any other desktop-oriented distros with your typical 6 month/1 year release circle.

If you do consider going with CentOS, keep in mind that Redhat Enterprise 6 has hit Beta 2, so CentOS 6 will soon be out as well, and if you start fresh with this version you can have an easy life happily yum --updating stuff till the end of the world in the year 2020.

And hey it may take you a couple of days to learn some new things but then you will be familiar with 2 different linux flavours!

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#7 2010-11-13 01:54:06

Sjoden
Member
From: WA
Registered: 2007-08-16
Posts: 380
Website

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

Short: CentOS is a pretty popular choice but I have no experience with it. You will need to make sure you have the latest security updates while also making sure that your keeping a good availability(up time), which could be a problem with Arch Linux.

Long: Security updates and system up time/availability. Making sure you have the latest security updates may effect your server's availability. This can be a problem if you have paying clients as the updates may break stuff. Arch Linux doesn't have an official security team but there are some community efforts underway. Take a look at the wiki under security, firewalls and sysctl.conf hardening. Also keep your eye are ArchServer. I use Arch Linux on my VPS but its only been for hobby stuff so far. As I've been getting closer to relying on my website professionally I've been considering changing to a different dist. of Linux; the problem is I'm most familiar with Arch Linux, don't want to go back to Slackware and I'm not happy with the way Ubuntu does certain things[init system, sudo/root setup](I maintain an Ubuntu LAMP setup for our Intranet).

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#8 2010-11-13 02:03:10

Allan
Developer
From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 10,379
Website

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

It all depends how critical the sites are.  If it is just a few sites for your mates, then Arch is fine.  If people are paying you for uptime, I would suggest CentOS or Debian...

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#9 2010-11-13 13:00:58

devius
Member
Registered: 2010-11-11
Posts: 22

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

Aren't there LTS packages for the kernel? That should at least ensure some stability. Of course that good administration is invaluable, because sometimes newer versions of PHP or MySQL may break some backwards compatibility and still leave your users in the dark regardless of what distro you're using.
You may want to take a look in here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/En … _Stability

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#10 2010-11-13 16:36:41

Leonid.I
Member
From: Aethyr
Registered: 2009-03-22
Posts: 947

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

brisbin33 wrote:

Arch is a rolling release, bleeding edge distro.  The only way to guarantee uptime would be to have a duplicate dev box, update/test there then push packages over.

Can't one use an LTS-based server and a dev/test "box" in KVM...


Arch Linux is more than just GNU/Linux -- it's an adventure

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#11 2010-11-15 23:34:04

Master_ex
Member
Registered: 2010-10-21
Posts: 3

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

Debian is pretty easy to use and very stable. However, have in mind that debian packages may be outdated but that's why it's so stable...
Also, if you have time to spend reading, consider to use FreeBSD.

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#12 2010-11-16 13:46:21

El_Caballero
Member
Registered: 2010-11-14
Posts: 6

Re: Arch Linux as a server: advantages and disadvantages?

If you do not want to be responsible for your computer, I recommend you Debian or Ubuntu too for a server. I "administrated" a server with Ubuntu for 3.5 months. I just checked it weekly and nothing more. And I do not care about extra process (bluetooth, cron, bla bla...).
If you want to configure your server carefully, so use Arch.
(Btw, I am a little new on Arch yet).

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