The Best Ubuntu Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2018]
What You’ll Learn
Deutsche Telekom, LexisNexis, Bloomberg and Best Buy use it. Over 70% of the cloud is powered by it. But there are other things to know.
What is Ubuntu?
In this article, you’ll learn about Ubuntu’s speed, efficiency, and remarkable scaling power. You’ll learn about Ubuntu hosting and how to determine if it’s right for you.
I’ll recommend some top-performing Ubuntu hosts, based on my career as a software engineer. Furthermore, I’ll explain what to look for when choosing a plan.
What is Ubuntu?
You’ve probably heard of Linux, which is a successful Unix-like computer operating system. It is the leading operating system on servers across the world.
In 2004, businessman and philanthropist Mark Shuttleworth took a team of developers from the successful Debian Linux distribution project and went about developing an easy-to-use desktop distribution, known to the world as Ubuntu.
How are Ubuntu and Linux Related?
“Ubuntu is an open source software operating system that runs from the desktop, to the cloud, to all your internet connected things” – Ubuntu
Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux (also known as a ‘distro’ in the parlance of Linux) – and is one of the hundreds of distros that exist. Distributed by a company named Canonical, it is an example of a commercial project based on the Linux kernel.
Rather than charge for the operating system, Canonical’s business depends upon providing commercial support for its products. It also helps companies and organizations design computer systems with an eye on efficiency and cost management.
The Ubuntu Philosophy
Underlying the Ubuntu philosophy is a deeply held cause that is partially economic and partially social in that it delivers free software for everybody to use on the same terms.
As opposed to other major Linux distributions, Ubuntu has one quality release for both end users and developers that is updated regularly.
Other distributions offer a free community version along with a higher quality commercial version, which is a sort of ‘freemium’ model.
Ubuntu is for Everyone
Ubuntu itself says that their name is a Southern African philosophy that roughly translates to “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”
The idea is that Ubuntu is software available for all, easily obtainable by download via the Ubuntu site.
The question that many people may have is whether Ubuntu is the right choice for their work.
Ubuntu is a rich and powerful operating system that is well-supported by its community. It has been installed on a wide variety of hardware from personal computers, to laptops, to full-on enterprise mega-servers.
It is based on the Linux kernel, which is the core of the operating system. That means that drivers, patches and everything that goes into Linux also goes into Ubuntu.
Ubuntu, however, has its own distinct features and style.
Ubuntu features a rich graphical user interface (GUI), which makes it very user-friendly.
Similar to other popular GUIs like Windows, Android, Mac OS, and more, Ubuntu lays out options in a graphical manner, with icons and menus. These guide the user through the experience with the click of a mouse and type of a keyboard.
At the same time, all of the underlying commands and programs that are a part of Linux are still there.
Since Ubuntu was initially designed as a desktop operating system, it not only supports software that was designed for Linux but it supports a whole range of applications including communications, media software, and productivity applications.
Power, Speed, and Hyperscale: Ubuntu Servers
Ubuntu Linux is so well known as a desktop system that people forget it’s a leading Linux server as well.
Factors behind the success of Ubuntu’s Linux server include:
- It’s updated twice a year, with frequent patches in between.
- Long-Term Support (LTS) releases are supported for five years.
- Ubuntu works well with the popular OpenStack cloud environment.
- Commercial support is available through Ubuntu Advantage.
- High-quality management tools are available.
- Works with all hardware and software.
- It’s a leader in hyperscale, and comes with leading workloads built in, including Apache Hadoop and Inktank Ceph.
What Linux Supports
Like all Linux distributions, Ubuntu supports popular open-source server software, including WordPress, the Nginx and Apache web servers, and the MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.
Ubuntu hosting is generally less expensive than hosting on Windows or commercial versions of Linux.
Ubuntu vs. Other Popular Linux Distributions for Servers
The command line interface is important to running a server, and Linux has Windows completely outclassed in this department.
|Availability/Cost||Proprietary||Open Source/Free||Open Source/Free|
|Long-Term Support||10+ Years||5+ Years||Not Applicable|
Ubuntu lets you use any of the popular command shells and run scripts under them.
What are Snaps and Snapcraft?
Installing software efficiently and making sure it’s secure are major concerns when managing servers. The Snap package environment makes it … well, a snap.
Snaps are software packages that contain a complete software environment, so they eliminate most software configuration problems. Just install them with one command, and they’re ready to run.
Snapcraft makes it easy to auto-build and publish re-useable software for any Linux system.
APT, which Ubuntu inherited from Debian, still works fine for distribution and updates, but Snap’s advantages make it likely to replace APT over time.
A History of Snaps
Snaps originated on Ubuntu, starting with version 16.04, but several Linux distributions now support them. The same snap runs on all supported forms of Linux, without any changes. That means a bigger audience for snaps, and therefore more high-quality ones.
You can specify which interfaces they’re allowed to use, giving them access to user files, the Internet, external devices, and so on as you like.
A Snap package is immutable, making it hard for malware to subvert it. Uninstalling it is just a matter of removing it.
The Snap Store has lots of snap-packaged applications.
This video offers a quick explanation of how Snaps differ from previous ways of delivering software on Linux.
A similar philosophy is behind Docker containers. Like snaps, containers isolate an application and include everything it needs.
Containers are more about streamlining the development and deployment process; Snaps are more about sandboxing software for easy installation and better security. Both have their uses, and you can mix them on the same system.
Running an Open Source Cloud with Ubuntu
If you like the idea of running an open-source cloud, you can do it with Ubuntu. It has full support for OpenStack, a free, open source platform for cloud infrastructure. It was one of the first operating systems to support it, starting in 2011.
It includes modules for all the usual cloud infrastructure functions, such as:
- Server images
- File systems
- GUI dashboard
It’s used on everything from private clouds to world-famous commercial sites. Canonical offers support or full management for OpenStack on Ubuntu.
Ubuntu’s Speed and Efficiency
Ubuntu is a very fast operating system, helping to optimize the user experience and delivering exceptional performance when it runs on a server. Running Ubuntu in a hosted environment is one of the most efficient platforms to run on and it delivers tremendous value because of this efficiency.
Ubuntu is compatible with numerous devices beyond laptops and desktops, too, including cameras, MP3 players, and printers.
Built-in Security Tools
Ubuntu comes with a whole suite of built-in tools including utilities like virus protection and a built-in firewall.
Those factors along with regular security updates that are freely available, make it highly regarded for its inherent security.
Does Ubuntu Offer Free Trials?
Ubuntu even makes it easy to try if you’re interested. You can download it for free, install it on an external drive, CD, DVD or USB stick and run it at will without affecting your existing operating system on your personal machine.
What Type of Support is Available to Ubuntu Users?
Such a powerful operating system is great when it is free but unfortunately many people have come to expect that when something is free you ‘get what you pay for’ especially when it comes to support.
That’s not the case with Ubuntu because both support and professional training are available from and within reach from Canonical if you need it. In addition to that, the Ubuntu community is active and responsive to general needs.
Is Ubuntu a Good Option for Hosting Resellers?
The biggest job of a hosting reseller is keeping control of all the customer websites.
Several tools are available to make managing multiple Ubuntu sites easier. We’ve already talked about Snap, which simplifies software installation and avoids security problems.
Landscape: Canonical’s Tool for Managing Ubuntu Servers
It lets you configure access to machines, install and update software, and monitor systems.
This video explains Landscape by sharing how one company uses it to manage 10,000 Ubuntu machines.
It can perform Ubuntu upgrades on all the systems under its control. It requires paid licensing if you’re managing more than ten systems, but the license comes with Ubuntu Advantage support.
Zentyal: Open Source Management of Ubuntu Servers
If you prefer to stick with free, open source software, Zentyal lets you manage services through a graphic user interface.
Its modular design lets you add the functions you choose, such as network configuration, user management, and firewall configuration.
Easy Hosting Control Panel: Free and Open Source
Easy Hosting Control Panel (EHCP) lets you manage domains, run backups, install software, manage SSL, and more under Ubuntu.
It’s free and open source, and a professional version is available.
Which Linux Distribution Does Your Web Host Use?
Many hosts default to Linux operating systems, but you should check to see which specific distribution they use.
Check your hosting plan to confirm whether it supports Linux-based operating systems and applications. Each distribution of Linux has its own distinctive features, but unless you have specialized needs, you can’t go far wrong with Ubuntu.
My Top Picks: The Bests Hosts for UbuntuWhen looking for Linux web hosting providers, which options are good? Read on for our top choices.
If you like cPanel and Softaculous, though, they’re extra-cost options. A 99.9% uptime guarantee, solid support, and data centers around the world add to the attractiveness of this choice.
Atlantic Hosting for Ubuntu.
Atlantic.net is especially attractive if you need HIPAA-compliant hosting. Its Linux cloud VPS plans are available on a choice of distributions, including Ubuntu.
It boasts RAID-10 SSD storage and data centers from San Francisco to London, with more coming. Its SLA guarantees 100% uptime. Instead of having the usual monthly pricing, it bills by hours of usage, effectively treating the VPS as a cloud service.
Namecheap Hosting for Ubuntu.
Namecheap is best known as a domain registrar, but it offers an impressive array of web hosting plans as well. All its VPS plans give a choice of Linux distributions with root access, including two versions of Ubuntu.
What are the Pros and Cons of Ubuntu?
Here’s a brief rundown of the pros and cons of using Ubuntu.
- Widely used, reliable, open-source Linux-based operating system
- Paid support available
- Frequent updates and long-term support releases
- Tools for managing large numbers of systems
- Ubuntu contains a fair amount of bloat (compared to more streamlined Linux distributions) due to its emphasis on being user-friendly.
- Requires some degree of technical proficiency/fearlessness when it comes to figuring things out.
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