General recommendations on OS choice for home lab server


Privacy guides has recommendations for your laptop/desktop. When it comes to the OS used on your home server, would the same recommendations apply or are the choices more open to what you want? A lot of applications can be one-click installs with other programs i.e. CasaOS, but that requires Ubuntu/Ubuntu server.


In my experience Fedora is too fast moving for a home server, where you have no professionals taking care of it.

Something like RHEL, Oracle Linux or Ubuntu Pro might be better suited.

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I personally use Debian on my Home Server, more specifically OpenMediaVault.

It’s a great server OS with a powerful WebUI!

openSUSE Tumbleweed or Fedora (esp. Silverblue/Kinoite) are great for the desktop, but too fast moving for a server. I’d just stick with something like Debian or Ubuntu, or alternatively FreeBSD.

In terms of privacy they’re all the same, you just have to weigh security (as in: quicker package updates which can potentially fix bugs earlier) and convenience (as in: stable with few updates meaning your server is less likely to break after an update).

Desktop and server recommendations will be different for the most part,

Proxmox (a Debian based hypervisor) is one of the most popular OSes among the Home lab crowd. Its pretty easy to use and well suited for a homelab.

Other reasonable choices might include OpenMediaVault (also based on Debian), TrueNAS (based on BSD I believe), or one of the well established reputable server distros like Debian, Ubuntu, or RHEL or CentOS stream. Possibly OpenSUSE MicroOS if you are more of an early adopter and understand that there isn’t great documentation or a large community behind this distro yet so problem solving can be difficult if you are not already knowledgeable/experienced.

Really it isn’t super important waht you choose as your base OS for a home server if you will be using containers (Docker or Podman or LXC) for your services. I’m not 100% clear on what your goals are (in the title you mention a home lab, in the body you mention a home server, and while there is lots of overlap, these are somewhat different projects with different focuses). Could you elaborate a bit on what your goals are with this server, what services you will be running and how you plan to run them? Answers to these questions will help provide more useful recommendations.


For the time being, I plan to self-host applications such as a budgeting app, adguard home, home assisstant, bitwarden, etc. Eventually, I’ll want a NAS and be able to remotely access it to have my own “cloud”.

No way people still use fedora as a server? Nowdays its between ubuntu server and Windows server. Lol

I personally use Proxmox and LOVE it. Being able to containerize/virtulize everything and leave the host clean with no changes makes backing up, restores, and upgrades a dream. If I need to take an application down for maintance everything else can stay up because they’re in different containers/VMs.

It’s just a great solution for homeservers and actually really simple to use. No one-click installs though


running fedora server and centos stream 9.

I personally run OpenMediaVault. It’s Debian with a very powerful WebUI.

I use Ubuntu Server, but am very interested in Fedora’s CoreOS which is immutable and has rolling updates.

Accessing your data on a NAS is pretty easy using Tailscale - there’s no need to open it up to the internet and do reverse proxies.