Had a good experience with Debian

I had been hosting this blog on a $5 a month VPS from Host the Best, but they have been shut down by the data center they’re renting from. Host the Best is apparently not dealing with abusive customers effectively.

There’s no projected service restoration date.

To solve this problem, I rented a $6/month VPS from F4. I found F4 by scrounging around on Low-end Box. I didn’t read the directions too carefully, so I got a Debian 11 installation.

humorous characterization of users of Linux distros

Of course I’ve had some minor contact with Debian in the past, mainly through running Raspbian on various Raspberry Pis, but this is the first time I’ve felt like I needed to do real system admin on Debian.

I did the usual basic security things, kept root user from logging in directly, made my user ID able to sudo, installed Apache HTTP server, PHP and certbot. Got a Let’s Encrypt TLS certificate. Getting Apache HTTP server to work with TLS certificates is difficult, certbot automates all of that work.

It was surprisingly easy. Much easier than on the Host the Best CentOS 8 VPS.

Every distro has a package manager these days, apt seems to work as well as pacman on Arch Linux, and better than dnf on CentOS. I didn’t need to add package repositories (like “EPEL”) to get some basic packages.

The Debian Apache HTTP server installation is quite a bit easier than the CentOS one. I don’t know how CentOS managed to make that so complicated. Both Deian and CentOS departed radically from the simple installation that Apache. Maybe you have to do that to accomodate TLS but good grief, CentOS was hard to set up.