Here is the list of best RHEL-based CentOS 7 or 8 Linux server alternatives or replacements in 2022 to start hosting server applications on the Cloud or VPS. Well, if you don’t want to go through articles then AlmaLinux and RockyLinux are the best CentOS alternatives to go with.
With the end of support in CentOS 8 by RHEL, people start looking for Linux distribution to replace their existing CentOS 8 or looking to upgrade CentOS 7 to some other compatible one. Well, your quest might end here, if you are one of them.
Although we have an Ubuntu server to replace CentOS, however, there are many users already using RPM-based server applications. Hence, the Debian-based server wouldn’t be a great option. Of course, those who want to start from scratch to set up their servers, can for sure go for it.
Well, the CentOS version series 7. x, which will receive updates until the regular end of support in June 2024, remains unaffected. CentOS 7.9 will therefore be the last edition to be created from the RHEL sources. The reason behind this is that still many companies relied on CentOS 7. Therefore, the CentOS developers do not want to stop the distribution prematurely.
Whereas, as Redhat announced CentOS 8 will be available as a rolling distro in the form of Stream. Well, those are already using the Stream version, then maybe you want to get and test the CentOS 9 Stream available as an ISO file.
Best Alternatives for Centos 7 or 8 based on RHEL Linux server
1. AlmaLinux Server
The first alternative to CentOS 7 or 8, based on RedHat enterprise is AlmaLinux. Right after the RedHat announcement of ending the life of CentOS 8, the developers of CloudLinux announced the availability of one-to-one binary compatible Linux based on RHEL i.e “Almalinux”. With an RPM-based Linux distro, the company has created a successor as a substructure for CloudLinux OS. While the latter costs money, AlmaLinux should remain free.
Being 100% compatible with RedHat packages, AlmaLinux OS 8 contains, among other things, functions and improvements in the container tools to make the build and deployment processes more flexible. Support for OpenJDK 17; OpenSCAP profiles for hardening and security, and new system roles from RHEL 8.5 for VPN or Microsoft SQL Server have been adopted. Comes with a Gnome desktop environment out of the box.
2. Rocky is similar to CentOS 8 Linux
Rocky Linux is another drop-in replacement for CentOS 8 or 7, developed by the same developer who was behind the CentOS project, originally. Hence, it is an open-source project by Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) and offers the same binary compatibility as CentOS. Well, as it is a binary-compatible image of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which means both the users of AlamLinux and Rocky Linux can benefit from the existing CentOS community and the tutorials available online. The ISO (minimal, boot, or DVD) file of this Linux is easily available to download from its official website.
Just like AlmaLinux, Rocky is also available with Gnome Vanilla Desktop Interface. If you are a cloud user, then you can easily find it there to start with. Docker Image is also available to pull.
3. Oracle Linux
Oracle Linux is another similar to CentOS 8 OS based on RedHat that follows it quite closely to provide the latest updates as soon as possible. In addition to the Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK), Oracle Linux comes with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 (UEK R6) delivers a more up-to-date kernel based on Linux. Oracle has already established itself as a well-maintained and positioned alternative to CentOS.
It is also free and open-source to download and can be installed as a minimal or desktop GUI server. However, if you looking for support then you have to pay for it.
Download ISO: Oracle Linux
4. Ubuntu Server
Well, earlier one of the reasons most of the hosting users didn’t go for Ubuntu was not the availability of WHM Cpanel. However, now WHM is also available for Ubuntu. You can see our article on how to install Cpanel on Ubuntu Server. Apart from that, Ubuntu is one of the best alternatives to CentOS, if you are starting from scratch otherwise not because it is not compatible with the RedHat binary. However, if there is any particular app that is only present in RPM then we can use alien to convert it to deb binary.
Nevertheless, switching from RPM to Deb distro is a key decision to make, and ensure that all your applications are available on it before migrating to it.
Download ISO: Ubuntu or how to install Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 Cloud Image (Minimal)
5. Debian Linux
Debian is also one of the oldest Linux distributions in the open-source software world. This operating system also serves as the basis for Ubuntu, the most popular desktop version of Linux today. In addition to being an operating system for computing devices, Debian OS offers thousands of free software in its repository.
Debian has continued to be one of the leading stable Linux operating systems. The most important feature of Debian over other Linux distributions is its package management system. This system gives the administrator full control over all packages installed on this system, including the ability to install a single package or upgrade the entire operating system.
Download ISO: Debian
6. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
Most of the users wouldn’t give heed to SUSE but it is one of the stable enterprise server Linux systems to rely on, by Novell and SUSE Linux (and developed in-house). This CentOS replacement uses RPM Package Manager and offers GNOME as the default Desktop if you want to use it. Like the Ubuntu / Debian-based systems, SUSE is well-documented – but is likely to lag a little behind.
Well, SUSE is also available for regular desktop users as OpenSUSE, however, the key focus of the company is its server variation. It can be used for the x86-64 architecture as well as for ARM processors. There is also close cooperation with IBM, which allows hardware and software to be coordinated between the two companies. As a result, SLES is suitable for operation on their IBM Power architecture.
Download ISO– SUSE
7. VzLinux- RPM-based to replace CentOS
Like Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux OS, VzLinux is also trying to follow in big footsteps, because CentOS is the third most widely used Linux distribution for web servers and cloud services in 2021 Ubuntu and Debian GNU / Linux with around ten percent market share. VzLinux a corporate RedHat-based distribution has been used by Virtuozzo for more than 20 years as the base operating system for the OpenVZ virtualization solution and other commercial products of the company, as well as as a guest operating system. The Virtuozzo International GmbH designed VzLinux as a professional operating system while 100 percent binary compatible with the enterprise distribution Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS.
VzLinux 8 is a free, multi-purpose distribution optimized for operation in containers, virtual machines, or on bare metal servers. It supports enterprise-level I / O intensive applications and workloads
8. Springdale- Custom Red Hat-based Distribution
Springdale Linux which was earlier known as PUIAS Linux is another Linux operating system. It is built from the source packages available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Apart from the official upstream packages this also offers several other repositories for add-on packages. The distribution is maintained by the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University in the USA.
However, you would not find it on hosting or cloud services, but being an administrator you can try it on your server or desktop. Well, updates will not be a problem just like CentOS it also depends on its upstream RHEL Linux. The thing to be noted is that this project is older than CentOS.