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Which Ubuntu version should I use for Magento?

You should use the latest Long-Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu for Magento. Currently, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is the latest version that is guaranteed to receive free maintenance and security updates until April 2025, with an option to extend support up to April 2030.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a Linux-based operating system that is primarily composed of free and open-source software. It is a distribution of Linux developed by Canonical Ltd., a privately-held company based in the UK. The company provides commercial support and maintenance for Ubuntu and its related projects.

It is available in three editions: Server, Desktop, and Core, for robots and IoT devices. All editions of Ubuntu are capable of operating on computers and virtual machines, hence it is the most popular operating system for websites and cloud computing projects.

Generally, a new version of Ubuntu is released every six months and has a life cycle of approximately nine months. However, since Ubuntu 6.06 was launched, Canonical started releasing an LTS version of Ubuntu every two years in April. The first LTS version was Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which was released on the 26th of April 2012.

Ubuntu LTS is a commitment from Canonical that ensures the software will be updated, patched, and maintained throughout its lifetime of five years. LTS versions of Ubuntu generally have a shorter development phase. However, they have an extended beta-testing phase where the software is thoroughly tested, and any potential bugs are fixed to ensure the highest degree of stability and performance. This makes LTS versions of Ubuntu ideal for use in production environments where having a reliable operating system is crucial. 

Ubuntu follows a standard naming convention based on its release. The software version naming convention always begins with the year of the release and trails with the month. Currently, the latest long-term support version of Ubuntu is 20.04 LTS which was released on the 23rd of April 2020 with a lifecycle of 5 years, i.e., it will receive free support up to April 2025. Those wishing to use it beyond April 2025 would be able to do so for another five years through the Extended Security Maintenance service that is a part of the Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure subscription offered by Canonical Ltd.

What’s new in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

SSH two-factor authentication

With Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Canonical has introduced an additional layer of security in the software, i.e., hardware-based two-factor authentication. Systems with two-factor authentication enabled will require authentication using either a physical device or an authenticator app before establishing the SSH session. This extra step helps minimize the chances of compromise if the SSH keys or password are leaked.

Improved bootloader

Historically, Ubuntu installer versions only allowed writing the bootloader to a single disk in the system. Therefore, when using multiple disks, the bootloader was often the point of failure. In Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the Ubuntu installer allows writing the bootloader on multiple disks, reducing the chances of failure and increasing its resiliency at the bootloader level.

Ubuntu Server Live Installer

From version 20.04, the Ubuntu Live Server Installer provides an option to update the OS after each boot. After booting on a system with internet access, the installer checks for available updates and notifies users about new versions so that they can choose to update or skip until later. This feature provides users with instant access to the latest bug fixes, security patches, and new functionality.

Why use the latest LTS version of Ubuntu for Magento?

Standard versions of Ubuntu only receive support for nine months after their release. In contrast, an LTS version receives five years of free support and updates, which can be extended further by opting for a paid subscription.

LTS releases are designed for stability to ensure that users can stick to the OS for an extended period without worry about bugs or security issues. They are also designed to be more refined than other releases to ensure that users aren’t inconvenienced with incomplete or unstable features.

Using the latest LTS version of Ubuntu for your Magento store will ensure that you will receive bug fixes and security patches consistently without risking your server’s integrity or the PCI-compliance of your store.

A reliable and stable operating system is essential to ensure your Magento website has the right foundation. Ubuntu provides Magento merchants with dependable, secure, and feature-rich operating systems that can support their stores for long durations without needing an upgrade or risking downtime.