Firstly, I would like to say thanks for a brilliant resource here at How-to-forge! I think I am going to spend a lot of time here Background I have run dedicated servers for several years on CentOS - but for the most part I have been shielded from the OS as they had cPanel. Earlier this year I thought I would make the move away from cPanel and tried Virtualmin. However, I am now thinking about going without a control panel altogether - because I need to use the latest versions of Ruby and PostgreSQL, and it seems control panels like Virtualmin can get in the way a bit. For example I removed postgres from my server and yum decided to remove virtualmin-base as well... which screwed up my install (now my postfix and dovcot are not working). (I looked at ISPConfg but it seems most people were recommending Virtualmin on webhostingtalk, so gave that a go (sorry!). I now have virtualbox so am going to try it - already tried openpanel). Server requirements I need a server to host / run: Apache or Nginx - don't mind PHP/Mysql - my older sites (PHP 5.2 as that's what my older sites need) Ruby/Postgres - latest versions (1.9.3 & 9.1) for my newer sites (Rails) Ability to send and receive email for each domain (smtp/pop - and set up SPF/DKIM records etc) Secure the server (perhaps with configserver firewall) I don't need stats, mailmanagers, virus/spam checking of emails etc Debian or CentOS Although I have used CentOS for several years on my servers (I haven't' really done that much command line stuff) I am considering Debian as it seems to accommodate the more recent packages I want (of Postgres anyway) via backports. I also like the Debian philosophy. So I'm happy to learn all about aptitude (instead of yum). They both have great reputations as web server - so I really don't mind. I'd quess it would be between Debian Squeeze and Centos 6.2 (currently using 5.8). Questions Should I try without a control panel? If not which do you recommend (bearing in mind I want to use the latest Ruby/Postgres etc) Debian or CentOS? I'm completely open-minded, and happy to learn more about either system (any links to easy-to-digest books or guides?) Thanks in advance for any help.