Hello VPS user. Obviously you are or intend to a VPS user as you are reading this. I will share my own experience with you about choosing OS for your VPS. There are plenty of Operating system that can give you pleasure handling the VPS.
Among them most of the people use CentOS or Debian or Ubuntu. These are the most friendly OS for server. Here comes my opinion i am actually a Debian based user. That means whatever happens i use whether Ubuntu or Debian. And CentOS ? CentOS is friendly as there are many many tutorials to show you a less bitter success. Also a good cause to chose CentOS maybe Kloxo Panel.
But for a newbie to start a VPS and never used any Linux will fall into a sea of sharks with bleeding hand.
So i suggest CentOS after some days with Other OS like Debian based one. Dedicated servers are normally with CentOS or Redhat because the Dedicated owners normally ex-VPS user :P. I meant they are experienced and they love to face problem and like to go to the destination in long way.Actually CentOS is for servers as it has less bugs and release schedule is really long as it release with most stable packages. That is the most reliable choice i think as a stable OS doesn’t shutdown or just hang. 🙂
Now let me introduce my choice of OS for VPS which is Debian Based. Debian based means the OS which build by using Debian packages. Ubuntu is a Debian based OS. And Debian is a major OS. Differences between Debian and Ubuntu are many. Ubuntu has many versions. Ubuntu is better for desktop/laptop. For server , Ubuntu has server version. Which is good as it is user friendly. But Ubuntu has some releases . Beta>Release>LTS . Where Beta is definately not for your VPS. It will give ou so much pain that maybe you will hire another person to manage your VPS. So here comes Release and LTS, Release are the releases every 6 months. And this version is also should not be your choice as it will also change frequently which is not a good thing for a server. Now i will say about LTS which is the perfect choice for your VPS. It will not carry some bugs to show you “connection error” when connecting by SSH as it will not hang or sudden shutdown. It will carry some “yesterday” packages. By “Yesterday” i meant old packages but not too old. It will be much stable. The Release versions are normally release every 2 years but will give you updates for almost 5 years.
So this is my choice for VPS. But let me remind you , stable OSs doesn’t give very recent packages. Let you heard PHP-9.7 released and you are using PHP-5.5 in Ubuntu-12.04.3 LTS definitely it will not give you update. Every LTS gives the update after many many testing. This testing happens by those Release versions of Ubuntu.
But for stability of your server Ubuntu LTSs are best.
Now Debian. This OS is really like an Ocean. It has more than 20000 apps and documentation. A huge number of developers contribute to Debian. Debian releases 3 versions. They call those “Branch”. The branches are Unstable,Testing,Stable. Unstable branch debian will change maybe every 10minutes. 🙂 and about Testing which is similar as Ubuntus Release versions. But I think Testing Branch is not much solid like Ubuntu Release versions. So for packages Debian Testing is ok but Ubuntu Release will be the best choice. And for stable server you should install Debian Stable versions or Ubuntu LTS versions.
So my opinion is either Debian Stable or Ubuntu LTS. 🙂