Amazon Linux Vs Ubuntu- Differences

In this article, we will feature differences between Amazon Linux vs Ubuntu. You can read more about Ubuntu vs Debian from here.

Amazon Linux is a Linux image produced by Amazon. The main purpose of its existence is its use in amazon web services on the amazon elastic compute cloud. It has two main versions Amazon Linux AMI and Amazon Linux 2. The latter of which is the latest version with a completely rebuilt kernel and better performance.

Ubuntu is a Linux distro that is most famous for its beginner-friendly user interface. It is highly flexible and can be customized for almost any use. There is a version of Ubuntu that is designed and optimized specifically for Amazon web services. The AWS version is available in both a free and a premium option.

Amazon Linux Vs. Ubuntu Differences

Amazon LinuxUbuntu

It is developed and continually maintained by Amazon.

It is developed and maintained by Canonical.

Only support Amazon web servers and compute cloud.

Supports all of the major web hosting and compute services, including but not limited to Microsoft Azure, Google cloud, and IBM cloud.

Only used for web services and machine images.

Can be used on both home computers and web servers.

Is free for Amazon EC2 users.

Has a free and a premium plan.

Comes preinstalled with Amazon web service tools, enabling scripting within EC2 instances.

Doesn’t come preinstalled with AWS related tools.


Here are a few of the key features of both operating systems.

Amazon Linux:

  • It is integrated completely into the amazon web ecosystem. The CloudInit tool is preinstalled on the system and allows for remote configuration of instances at the time of the launch.
  • Amazon Linux has a deep and focused approach towards security. Remote access is made secure by using a pair of SSH keys. Additionally, any security patch or update considered critical is installed automatically during the initial booting process. Another security measure taken by Amazon is that only the most essential packets are left installed. Everything else is purged to minimize weak points in the system.
  • It is extremely lightweight and takes the bare minimum amount of resources when running at full throttle. You can obviously add on to your system with packets, but the core is kept small to ensure better performance and security.
  • One of the biggest advantages of using Amazon Linux is the ability to subscribe to AWS support that includes tools, programs, and people to help you along every step of the way.


The key features of Ubuntu can be divided into two main categories.

Web services:

  • Ubuntu for AWS is fully optimized down to the kernel level and fully supports GPUs from out of the box. This, in turn, means that the whole system is extremely fast and reliable, in both instance startup and runtime, even under heavy load.
  • It is constantly being developed, and security patches are released on a regular basis. The worldwide distribution system managed by Canonical ensures that updates reach every part of the world as quickly as possible.
  • Ubuntu has a lot of pre-built features like node.js and Python to easily run the cloud-based application. It also includes all of the necessary server running components.

Regular PCs:

  • Ubuntu is designed from the ground up to be as user-friendly as possible. It is a great starting point for anyone getting into Linux for the first time.
  • It is completely free to use forever, making it the perfect OS for teaching kids about computers. You don’t have to purchase another Windows license or use the free version of Windows with extremely limited functionality.
  • Despite being free, it is constantly being updated with new features and quality of life improvements. Regular security patches are also a part of these updates.
  • While on the topic of security, Ubuntu has extremely reliable built-in security and malware protection tools that are on par with or even better than the premium anti-virus software available on other operating systems.

Bottom line:

Both Ubuntu and Amazon Linux are excellent operating systems for Amazon web services. Both are highly optimized and suitable for a web-oriented workload. There is no answer to the question “Which one is better?” This is due to the fact that both have their pros and cons. It all comes down to personal preference and specific requirements.

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With 10+ years in software engineering, I specialize in blogging and web development. My skills span front-end, back-end, database design, web security, and SEO. Passionate about crafting helpful digital experiences.

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