Goodbye CentOS 8, and Thanks for Everything!

The day has finally arrived! Today, December 31, 2021, CentOS Linux 8 reaches End-of-Life (EOL).

For years, many Linux system administrators have been using CentOS for their Linux servers. In addition, most web and server hosting companies also offered CentOS as their default operating system. In other words, CentOS has been dominant in the Linux server field recently.

In December 2020, Red Hat announced that it would discontinue CentOS based on RedHat releases. So naturally, this came as quite a shock for the CentOS community. And this is where history repeats itself.

Let me remind you. In 2004, Red Hat did the same thing by EOL’ing all versions of Red Hat Linux and forcing users to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Although the news was announced as early as December last year, many Linux system administrators and developers still feel at a loss. Of course, the system running CentOS 8 will not crash overnight, but security and other updates will no longer continue from the beginning of next year.

So, CentOS 8 is about to die. What can you do now? Fortunately, there are excellent and reliable options for CentOS 8 replacements.

What Is the Best Replacement for CentOS 8?

You can try CentOS Stream, but that’s not the same thing. So it’s time for a change.

In my opinion, at this level, there are two most viable CentOS 8 replacements out there – Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux. Therefore, I strongly recommend you limit your choice to one of these two distros.

Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is designed as a drop-in CentsOS replacement. It was created by the same person who birthed CentOS into being, Gregory Kurtzer, and Rocky follows the same mission of offering an enterprise-ready version of Linux.

The distro is a complete binary-compatible release using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system source code. So to switch from CentOS 8 to the latest Rocky release, follow our excellent guide on the subject, “CentOS 8 to Rocky Linux 8 Migration: A Step-by-Step Tutorial.”


CloudLinux, a longtime CentOS supporter, is recreating the same model to support RHEL clones called AlmaLinux. Although CloudLinux is largely funding AlmaLinux, it doesn’t own the project or the copyright on the software it produces. Instead, the project is 100% owned by the community.

Like Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux walks in step with RHEL. So, for example, the latest version of AlmaLinux 8.5 is an exact copy of RHEL 8.5.

If you have CentOS 8 installed, an automated migration script is available to help you migrate seamlessly to the latest version of AlmaLinux.

Indeed, AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux have found the perfect solution to make migrating processes very simple. Furthermore, the migrations are done “in-place,” meaning that all your data, apps, and settings will be preserved.


If you use CentOS 7, you do not need to take any urgent actions right now. This is because CentOS 7 will reach EOL status on June 30, 2024. But I still recommend you to go through our short and easy-to-follow tutorial, “How to Migrate CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8: A Step-by-Step Guide.”

Last but not least, on a personal note, I would like to thank the CentsOS community for creating, distributing, and maintaining the CentOS operating system for so many years. It was undoubtedly one of the best server distros out there. Unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye! Thanks for everything!

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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