Debian Server vs. Ubuntu Server Comparison

When setting up a new server, a major concern that users may have is which OS to use. Many choices come into mind when it comes to the operating system to use, so selecting just one OS can be a tough choice. It is necessary for a user to compare different server types to select one that fits his or her requirements. In this article, we will compare and contrast Debian and Ubuntu servers.

Debian and Ubuntu servers are considered quite similar in many respects. Let us dig deep into a comparison of the two servers:

Upgrading the Servers

The basic difference between the two server types is the methods in which the two releases are handled. Debian is becoming quite similar to Ubuntu, but both are not totally alike. Rather, each server type has its own distinct set of differences. Debian will not offer the conventional updates that Ubuntu does; rather, Debian offers live streams of the release. An example is the apt-get package manager, which allows users to install updates and software. Users can upgrade their systems to the upcoming stable release without any kind of reboot.

Ubuntu supports its LTS (Long Term Support) version, a version of the distribution that is built upon and supported for roughly five years. On the other hand, Debian offers a total of three years of support with their respective builds. Today, Debian is becoming more and more like Ubuntu, and it has a volunteer support team to help it catch up.

Security of Setups

Ubuntu is a more secure system than Debian. Debian is considered a much stabler system and is much easier to manage than Ubuntu. In discussions on several platforms, Debian has a reputation for being more stable. There may also be a few vulnerabilities in an Ubuntu server that will not exist in a Debian server. Still, overall, Ubuntu and Debian are both widely used all over the world.

Server Support

The two servers also vary in terms of the services offered by each. Ubuntu’s support team can be hired, which can help you with installation, updating, and troubleshooting the system. Debian has no such support team; rather, Debian relies on a team of volunteers. Over time, Debian has gained the status of being a more user-friendly server. Both systems have a detailed installation process, so choosing one of them according to this criterion is an easy decision.

Support for Hardware and Software

Both server systems are based on Debian, so the software and hardware of both systems are pretty much the same. Most Ubuntu packages can run easily without any external software configurations. Meanwhile, Debian servers look for pre-existing configurations while making system updates, then they will notify the system administrators. This ability facilities users and will stop any upcoming software update errors.


Both servers come free of charge, so the price factor is not the deciding factor of which server to choose. Because both servers are free, users can opt for the operating system that is up to their requirements. You can also switch between the two systems whenever you want, but make sure that all pre-requisites are met before switching.


Debian and Ubuntu servers are equally useful for different purposes. This article compared and contrasted the two servers in detail based on various parameters and characteristics.

About the author

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.