CentOS works well -- if you know what you're doing. While I run it myself on my own Web servers, and it's fine if you just want to run it with the defaults, it can be hard to handle if you're not a Linux expert. Easy to use tools like Webmin make day-to-day jobs like setting up users easy, but if you need to do more, it can require an expert hand.
Linux as a server
That last point is an important one when it comes to any server use. I've heard many people complain about how hard it is to run a Linux server. For most ordinary use, Linux isn't hard to use. Neither is its chief rival inside offices, Windows Server 2008 R2, or its rivals in data centers like AIX and Solaris. But no server operating system is as easy to use as a desktop system -- and the more you push it, the more you ask from it outside of the ordinary, the more likely you are to run into situations that require an expert's hand.
Never forget this. Even a plain old file server -- again, regardless of operating system -- can have trouble delivering its services at all times to all clients. By their very nature, servers are an order of magnitude harder to manage than a desktop.
That said, Linux provides a low-cost way to deliver any and every network service you may ever require. For any network need -- whether it's just you and your significant other sharing files and a single printer in your home office, or Facebook or Wall Street delivering real-time data to millions of simultaneous users -- Linux is the server operating system of choice.
This article, "What's the best Linux server for you?," was originally published at ITworld. Read more Linux coverage and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.