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I am using a Green Geeks VPS (CentOS) at the moment and I am new to it. I have found a tutorial on installing Drupal/Apache/Webadmin etc. http://drupal.org/node/743610

What I am wondering is why not just use something like XAMPP instead of all the separate installs? Is there something more I have to take into account here?

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I think it's more a taste/customization vs convenience here.
Using XAMPP can install way more stuff than needed and SysAdmins doesn't like this ;) installing each piece individually allows you to select exactly the pieces you need and also there's less risk to be bothered by some strange library or configuration that XAMPP may set up.

So to sum-up:

  • you're tech-savvy, you want to manage and configure your VPS and aspire to become a SysA, go for the separate install.
  • you don't want the hassle of configuring (and eventually debugging) each parts, go for XAMPP.
  • if you want even less troubles, go for a fully managed/optimized hosting platform like Acquia Dev Cloud.

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