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CentOS: an overview of the operating system

Today we will get acquainted with another widespread and up-to-date distribution – CentOS.

To begin, let’s remind you of the basic terms that will help you navigate through the article:

Linux (Linux) is a whole family of open-source Unix operating systems based on the Linux kernel. This includes all the most popular OS-based systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS and others. They are also called distributions.

Distribution – a form of software distribution. In this case, a form of distribution of the Linux operating system. You can read about the best Linux distributions for beginners and beyond in this post.

Ubuntu is one of the easiest Linux operating systems and has excellent support from the developer community.

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) or VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) is a virtual server alternative to a physical one. It offers more flexible settings and configuration changes for different system requirements, as well as the use of non-standard programs.

CentOS – what is it?

The CentOS operating system (short for “Community ENTerprise Operating System”) is a Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, commercial distribution by Red Hat intended for corporate use. Each version of CentOS is supported for 10 years, and although the OS is developed by enthusiasts, each version is updated every six months.

History of the Community ENTerprise Operating System

It all started with cAos Foundation, which developed independent GNU/Linux distributions based on RPMs. The project, called cAos-EL, was renamed CentOS in 2003, in the same month the domain CENTOS.ORG was officially registered for it.

Two years later, in 2005, cAos announced a reorganization which resulted in CentOS becoming an independent project. Later, a team of developers from another RHEL-based server distribution, Tao Linux, joined the CentOS project.

In 2010 CentOS became famous – the operating system became a leader among web servers. Therefore, it is not surprising that some wanted to buy such a successful project. In January 2014, the rights for CentOS were officially transferred to Red Hat, which wanted to develop the project.

And that, too, benefited CentOS. For 12 years now, it has steadily remained among the leading solutions in this market.

Advantages of CentOS

One of the system’s main advantages is that CentOS is absolutely free to distribute, and all software products designed to work in a Linux environment will also work in CentOS.

The distribution also includes many solutions, which can considerably simplify the life of a programmer or network administrator working on a dedicated server. That is why CentOS is well compatible with a VPS.

OS is very stable and can work on computers with 64-bit and 32-bit architecture.

A large community means you can always find more experienced colleagues to consult.

It is also very fast, an essential feature for large projects.


On the downside, there are fewer tutorials and documentation than the other widespread Ubuntu distribution. Therefore, it will be harder for newcomers to understand CentOS, and learning it can take a long time.

Versions 7 and 8

Not all software installation files or commands for configuring a Linux system are suitable for every operating system. To find the right tools, you need to understand which CentOS version of the system is installed on your device.

The most popular versions are CentOS 7 and CentOS 8. Let’s talk about each one in more detail.

Characteristics of the CentOS 7 version:

  • The 7th version of CentOS is based on the Linux kernel version 3.10.
  • One of CentOS 7 is support for containers, in particular the increasingly popular Docker.
  • CentOS 7 comes with Apache HTTP server version 2.4. New features in Apache HTTP 2.4 provide improved asynchronous request handling, native FastCGI support in mod_proxy and support for Lua scripts.
  • Another feature is replacing the MySQL database management system with a fork of MariaDB, created by the same original author.

Important: CentOS 7 will support updates until July 2024.

Characteristics of the CentOS 8 version:

  • First of all, it is worth noting that CentOS 8 is based on Linux kernel 4.18. Yes, it is far from the latest kernel, but that speaks more to the familiar stability of CentOS than to its shortcomings.
  • One of the most significant changes is that the new dnf from Fedora has replaced the package manager yum. It is faster and better.
  • The improved connection handling speed.
  • Improvements in memory support.
  • Crash dump can record kernel crash information at all boot stages, which was not possible with CentOS 7.
  • Improved process scheduler, etc.

Important: CentOS 8 was released on September 24, 2019, so the version will support updates until May 31, 2029.

CentOS vs Ubuntu: which to choose?

If you have a VPS server but haven’t decided on an operating system yet, this part of the article is for you.

To compare CentOS and Ubuntu, we should start with their common features. First of all, they are both free of charge. Second; both systems can be called universal because they are used to host almost any project and application.

But nevertheless, the difference between these systems is much more than common.

For example, if we talk about architecture, the Ubuntu distribution is based on Debian architecture. CentOS is a free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Also, Ubuntu is updated much more often, every 6 months. CentOS releases a new version every 3 to 4 years (basically, it is released after every RHEL release). Therefore, CentOS is the choice for those who do not want frequent system updates.

The following characteristic follows: CentOS is more stable because of longer releases, and Ubuntu is less so.

This means that CentOS is considered more secure than Ubuntu.

Ubuntu does not support cPanel / WHM because there is an alternative. CentOS, on the other hand, supports DirectAdmin / cPanel / WHM.

As we mentioned above, Ubuntu has a larger community than CentOS.

Also, due to the popularity of Ubuntu, the OS has big and massive repositories. CentOS, on the other hand, has limited and targeted repositories.

Ubuntu has newer packages, while CentOS has no more recent packages. Because of this, the OS will maintain older packages for years to come. Again, this is a plus for some users and a minus for others.

CentOS is the operating system for projects that need stability.

Don’t forget that at ArkHost, you can always rent a VPS server and choose a unique template with OS installed.