I'm looking to set-up my own local web server using Linux, to allow me to run and develop PHP applications using Apache and MYSQL.

Can anyone recommend the best distribution of Linux server to use. As I'm a newbie in this as I have used Xampp up until now, I really need a distribution with a GUI, but one that could be controlled through Putty also, to help me learn command line.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


My suggestion is if this is your first time using Linux try out Ubuntu. They have very decent documentation and there is more than enough documentation for getting a LAMP stack setup with Ubuntu as your base.

Additionally the Ubuntu Forums is a great outlet to seek out advice and or help with solving issues with regards to getting things setup in Ubuntu.


It depends how you want to learn. I have recently started learning the basics of server setups etc. And prefer to have a running server to dissect and see how things are meant to be.

So on that basis I have found Turnkey Linux simplest to get started with. They have made a LAMP stack (http://www.turnkeylinux.org/lampstack) that makes getting up and running a pretty simple job.

One advantage I have found to using a ready made appliance is the pre-installed web control panel. It gives you a simple way of seeing what's going on.


FWIW, my platform of choice is Fedora and/or Centos as they both have Red Hat heritage and are also well supported with a common layout and using yum and RPM packages, making installation and updating easy. Most if not all linuxes are similar with Gentoo being the geekiest! The differences usually just cause some roadbumps while finding out what and where equivalent things are.

Fedora development is fast-moving with frequent updates, and the latest Gnome desktop is a big improvement. It can be used as a production server too, but so best to check updates thoroughly on a local staging server first before applying to a production server. Centos is probably the equivalent of two releases behind Fedora, but is more battle hardened for production servers and updates are not likely to break things.

Ubuntu is quite similar to Fedora and also well supported, being primarily used for desktop systems for its user friendliness. Servers need no such frills, they just have to work securely and stay working.

Debian is also popular, but prefers using postfix instead of sendmail, which takes a little getting used to. Gentoo packages are dynamically compiled on install, instead of using precompiled binaries. This allows finer and easier customisation, but increases installation time.

Whatever platform you choose for development, apache, mysql, php and other services shouldn't notice nor care.

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