In this article, we explain what CentOS is and how it differs from other Linux distributions. We also look at their features, benefits, risks, and alternatives.
CentOS stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System. It is focused on the goal of providing a rich base platform for open-source communities to build upon. CentOS is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code and built on the Linux kernel, first introduced in 2004.
A few years ago, the CentOS project decided to discontinue CentOS Linux. This means that the current users will need to migrate their systems to a different path such as CentOS Stream, Ubuntu, or Debian. The CentOS community will continue collaborating on other open-source Linux distributions as part of the CentOS Stream project.
NOTE: CentOS Stream is a rolling release distribution of CentOS rather than a rebuild of RHEL. Its stability and compatibility are not guaranteed. If CentOS Stream is used in a production environment, the risks cannot be predicted.
Here are the end-of-life dates for the most recent CentOS Linux releases:
If you are using CentOS Linux, note that:
You may be thinking: “If the CentOS operating system EOL is coming soon, which is the best alternative?”. In the table below, we compare CentOS to the other most long-lasted Linux distributions: Ubuntu and Debian.
|Support||Community-support and enterprise-level support||Community-support and enterprise-level support||Community-support|
|Ease of use||Moderate||Easy||Moderate|
|Web Server||Apache, Nginx||Apache, Lighttpd, Nginx||Apache, Nginx|
Let’s take a look at the differences between Ubuntu and CentOS:
Key differences between CentOS and Debian:
This mostly depends on your needs, expectations, and experience of working with Linux-based operating systems.
To continue working with an environment similar to CentOS, you can consider migrating to AlmaLinux OS. This is a stable and reliable OS that is 1:1 binary compatible with RHEL. It is similar to the current stable releases of RHEL. AlmaLinux is not only a solid replacement for CentOS but also a great alternative to RHEL.
Debian is a right choice if you are looking to install an operating system on your desktop and want a daily driver, - that's easy to use, easy to upgrade, and most importantly, an up-to-date OS.
Ubuntu is best for beginners because it has a large community, many free tutorials, and a lot more frequent updates to help you stay up to date. It;s also easier to get started with if you're already familiar with Ubuntu.
What are the risks of using CentOS?
The risks are quite obvious - the lack of OS updates and bug fixes leads to the security vulnerabilities in your environment. There are increasingly more threats to working online systems so using an OS that's updated and supported is crucial.
What are some alternatives to CentOS?
Firstly, your choice of the Linux-based alternative should come from the needs of your working environment. We suggest considering between AlmaLinux, Debian, and Ubuntu as these are the most long-lasting and trustworthy operating systems.
Which operating system is easier to transfer from CentOS?
Currently, AlmaLinux OS is the most straightforward option as it is a free open-source, community-driven Linux operating system that's a 1:1 binary-compatible clone of RHEL, guided and built by the community. If you use cPanel as your CentOS web panel, then you can continue using it with AlmaLinux.