Linux Server Types

Lots of people ask me, when i say i love Linux, they say “what do you use it for.” here’s the answer.

It really depends what you are looking to do, but here’s some of the main functions that it can be used for:

  • Web – Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat
  • Databases – MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle
  • Programming and scripting – PHP, Java, Perl, JavaScript, CSS, XHTML, Bash
  • FTP – ProFTPD, Pure-FTPd, vsftpd
  • SMTP (outgoing email) – exim, postfix, qmail, sendmail
  • POP3 and IMAP (incoming email) – qpopper, UW IMAP, Courier-IMAP
  • DNS (Domain Name System) – BIND, djbdns
  • Web control panels – cPanel and WebHost Manager, Plesk, DirectAdmin, Webmin

This is primarily what they are usually web servers. A key component to Linux is that if you are skilled enough with the command line, there is no GUI, so you can get a lot better performance from Linux servers that you would traditional Windows/Mac Computers.

Other things they can be used for:

Remote Access:

  • SSH (Secure SHell) – OpenSSH
  • OpenVPN
  • Rsync – Copy/Sync Files Across the Internet (web “mirrors” are setup this way)


Network Security:

  • Network monitoring – SNMP, Nagios, Big Brother/Hobbit, MRTG, Cacti
  • SSL/TLS encryption – OpenSSL, stunnel
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs) – Snort
  • Tripwire (file integrity checker)

Internal Servers

  • File server – Samba (SMB, CIFS), NFS, iSCSI
  • LDAP (directory services) – OpenLDAP
  • Routing – Quagga, OSPF, RIP, VRRP, CARP
  • Instant Messaging – Spark, Openfire, Wilfire, Redfire