What is the Difference Between Red Hat and CentOS?

If you are a system administrator, you may be asked about the difference between CentOS and RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux)

To put it in simple words, both OS are Linux distributions and look similar, yet are different. In this tutorial, we have listed the notable differences between CentOS and RHEL. 


Red Hat is a paid corporate version. It has slower releases but provides support. It is a stable and proven product for enterprise customers as per their requirements, as it offers customization options. RHEL is suitable and deployed for most business-critical services.

The source code for the RHEL is readily available, but there are restrictions on the officially supported versions of RHEL. Before you use or deploy RHEL as a client OS or a server, it is required to purchase from RHEL and needs to be renewed annually.

RHEL 7 uses the XFS file system and RPM for the packaging system; you can use Yum or DNF for package management. 

  • RHEL subscription pricing without any support starts from $349 per annum. 
  • If you want one year of standard support with your RHEL package, it will cost you $799 per annum. 
  • Premium support will cost you $1,299 per year. 

RHEL has different versions, including RHEL 6, 7, and 8 (the latest version).


CentOS, released in 2004, is a free, alternative, and community version of Red Hat for which support can be available through community forums. It is built from the RHEL source code so that you will get identical performance; CentOS is also a stable OS. However, since no official support is available for CentOS, it is less suitable for business-critical services. 

CentOS offers customization options like RHEL so that you can modify the settings for the various interface through the Gnome tweak tool.

CentOS 7 was released in 2009, and CentOS 8 is the latest version. You can download RPM packages for CentOS directly from this linkIt uses the XFS file system and RPM for the packaging system. In addition, you can use Yum or DNF for package management.

Most web hosting companies, including AccuWeb Hosting, offer CentOS for web hosting to the client. Though it is popular amongst the user as it is free. 

The table below will be more helpful in differentiating RHEL and Centos

The client must get an end-user license agreement (EULA) to use the commercial version. It is available through the general public license (GPL) as it is free of cost.
RHEL offers security features like SELinux, NSS, LinuxPAM, and Firewalld. You can get the same features on CentOS: SELinux, NSS, LinuxPAM, Firewalld, etc.
Users can use YUM for package management. Users can use YUM for package management.
RHEL can be installed via ISO. CentOS can be installed via ISO or Live CD.
Red Hat cluster suite (RHCS) is used for clustering. Linux-HA is used for clustering. 
GRUB 2 is used for the bootloader. GRUB 2 is used for the bootloader.
LVM/SSM is used for storage management.  LVM/SSM is used for storage management. 
OpenShift is used for containerization. Docker and Kubernetes were used for containerization.

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