CloudLinux OS: What makes it great for web hosting?

Posted on by Chris Meabe | Updated:
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CloudLinux is one of the most popular web hosting systems — over 500,000 servers run on it, more than 4,000 companies trust it, and it’s used on over 20 million customer websites. 

Why do so many companies trust it?

That’s what we’ll break down in this article — why its security, stability, and flexibility are industry leading. We’ll also discuss some key features that make it stand out, as well as why we use this web hosting system. 

Let's dig in.

What is CloudLinux OS?

CloudLinux OS is a Linux-based operating system tailored specifically for web hosting providers. It stands out because it’s designed to provide improved shared hosting environments. 

CloudLinux provides shared hosting providers with a more stable and secure operating system and close control over each server’s resource use. That’s why we use it here at Liquid Web.

What makes CloudLinux great for hosting?

Hosting providers gravitate toward CloudLinux because of the aforementioned resource allocation and stability, flexibility to scale, security, and opportunity to adjust how users use their services. Let’s take a closer look at each of these. 

Stability

In web hosting, stability refers to the server’s ability to remain accessible and operate smoothly, regardless of the load or the activities of individual users. This is crucial because downtime or performance degradation can result in lost visitors and revenue.

CloudLinux enhances stability by allocating each user a specific amount of resources, such as CPU, RAM, and I/O. For example, CloudLinux puts a physical memory limit of 1024 MB by default. By capping these resources, CloudLinux prevents any single account from overloading the server, safeguarding against common issues like sudden traffic spikes disrupting service.

Security

Security is paramount in web hosting due to the constant threat of cyber attacks that can lead to data breaches, website defacement, and other damaging outcomes. Given that 18 percent of websites are infected with the most severe security threats, you need constant vigilance. These threats can create backdoors that let hackers access private information you store or modify files on your site to infect visitors who download what should be a harmless resource.

Because CloudLinux isolates each user, the environment you use is more secure. This isolation helps prevent attackers from jumping from one site to another within the same server — a common method for spreading malware. Additionally, CloudLinux’s SecureLinks feature is a kernel-level technology that prevents symbolic link (symlink) attacks, which are prevalent in shared hosting environments. This proactive security measure helps reduce the risk of hosting multiple websites on the same server.

Flexibility

Flexibility in web hosting means adapting to different needs and scenarios without significant downtime or performance loss. CloudLinux excels in this area by allowing hosting providers to adjust resource limits on the fly, accommodate a wide range of applications, and support various versions of PHP directly using its PHP Selector feature. 

This is especially beneficial for developers who require different PHP environments for different projects. Migrating to CloudLinux is typically straightforward, with the transition usually requiring minimal server adjustments. CloudLinux is compatible with major control panels like cPanel and Plesk, simplifying the management and configuration of user accounts and system settings.

What are CloudLinux’s unique features?

CloudLinux OS brings several unique features designed specifically for shared hosting environments. The LVE Manager, CageFS, and MySQL Governor are important tools that contribute significantly to its value. 

LVE Manager

The Lightweight Virtual Environment (LVE) Manager is a kernel-level technology that lets you decide how much CPU, RAM, I/O, and other resources to give each tenant on a server. 

The primary benefit of LVE Manager is its ability to contain any given account's resource usage, ensuring that no single account can monopolize system resources. This containment prevents what’s commonly known as the “bad neighbor effect,” where one account's excessive resource consumption adversely affects the performance of others on the same server. This feature is crucial to the main stability and performance of shared hosting.

CageFS

CageFS isolates each user in their own environment, letting them use a separate, virtualized file system. That prevents them from seeing or accessing other users' files on the same server. This significantly enhances security by protecting against various attacks, including those that exploit vulnerabilities in other users' sites. 

CageFS is especially beneficial in a shared hosting environment where users don’t need to interact with each other's files. Moreover, it includes a PHP Selector add-on, which allows users to choose different PHP versions and configurations for their sites without affecting others. This flexibility is particularly valuable for developers who need to test their applications across multiple PHP environments.

MySQL Governor

MySQL Governor is a tool that monitors and throttles MySQL usage in real time to ensure that databases don’t overwhelm server resources. This tool is critical to prevent a single website from impacting the overall server performance through excessive database queries, which can often occur with high-traffic or poorly optimized sites. By limiting the impact of heavy database usage, MySQL Governor helps maintain overall server stability and improves performance.

Why does Liquid Web use CloudLinux?

Liquid Web is dedicated to giving our clients the best possible hosting experience. That means security, stability, and flexibility, the three pillars that make CloudLinux a key player.

CloudLinux’s security features can prevent infections on your website. Its stability means you won’t have to worry about downtime, and its flexibility lets you choose the PHP version you want and use the resources you need. 

For that reason, we rely on CloudLinux for our virtual private server (VPS) hosting. If you’re interested in the many benefits of creating a VPS through Liquid Web, get started with us today.

Create a VPS through Liquid Web.

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About the Author

Chris Meabe

Chris is passionate about the tech infrastructure that makes everything that companies do possible. After years of experience working with tech leaders like Puppet, ZoomInfo, and Fabric, he has fallen in love with the technical details others might find daunting.

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