CentOS 7's end of life is in sight. Are you ready?

The clock is ticking for CentOS 7 Linux. While it will get maintenance fixes through June 2024, some sysadmin vendors, such as cPanel, are getting ready to drop support for it. 

The end of the line for CentOS 7 is coming.

In December 2020, Red Hat, CentOS's Linux parent company, announced it was "shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release." CentOS users had kittens, but many of them never stopped using the last supported version of "classic: CentOS: CentOS 7. Well, here we are, and popular Linux sysadmin tools such as cPanel and WHM are getting ready to cut CentOS 7 support.

Why? Because CentOS 7's official end-of-life (EOL) isn't that far away. CentOS 7 reaches the end of the road on June 30, 2024. CentOS itself recently reminded us that it won't be much longer.

If that seems long to you, you're not a system administrator. With little more than a year to go, if you're running a serious server farm, you need all the time you can get… and then some.

Despite knowing that CentOS 7's doomsday was coming, millions of servers are still running it. Indeed, according to Web Technology Servers, CentOS is still being used by 3.2% of all websites. That's far more than its daddy operating system, RHEL, which comes in at less than 1%.

Why the difference? Because I'm not talking about general server use. When it comes to all-purpose servers, RHEL's the champ. But for years, CentOS has been the default choice of web hosting companies.

Why? There are many reasons. They boil down to CentOS is stable, free open-source Linux. If you need top-notch tech support, RHEL is your operating system of choice in the Red Hat family. But, if you can manage a Red Hat Linux variant without any hand-holding, especially for the express purpose of web serving and related server applications in the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl (LAMP) family, CentOS was all you needed.

Until now, =Today, it's time to get serious about switching to another Linux distribution. CPanel suggests that your top picks should be the drop-in-place CentOS replacements: AlmaLinux OS 8 or Rocky Linux 8 server. Those would be my choices as well.

Specifically, cPanel will block new cPanel & WHM installations and upgrades on CentOS 7 and CloudLinux 7 in cPanel & WHM version 112. CPanel 112 was released on March 29th. The company will also support existing CentOS 7 and CloudLinux 7 servers running cPanel & WHM version 110 until these operating systems reach their EOL. The same is also true for RHEL 7.

Red Hat, of course, would prefer if you switched to RHEL 8 or RHEL 9. If you really, really can't switch from RHEL 7/CentOS 7, you might consider purchasing RHEL 7 Extended Lifecycle Support.

In short, it's time to start switching. I know many of you have been holding out. It's always a major pain to switch distros. But there comes a time when you must do it, and that time is now.

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