Sometimes finding the perfect linux distro that meets your needs it's not that easy as you have to test it before you install it, downloading and testing the distro takes a lot of time especially when Linux is your main OS and you are trying to switch to something that works.
But how to test a linux distro online without downloading or installing it on your computer?
In this tutorial you will learn how to run and test any Linux distro online without having to download anything or making a bootable usb in order to test the distro you want.
Some of the most popular Linux Distros that you can test:
2) Linux Mint
5) Arch Linux
8) Open SUSE
10) Elementary OS
Note: Distrotest.net no longer exists as a service to test linux distros, you can use onworks.net instead.
Step 1 - Head over to distrotest
Open distrotest to a new tab and proceed with step #2
Step 2 - Choose the OS you want to test
Once you visit their website, you will see the whole list of supported operating systems that they are hosting, so all you need to do now is click the OS you want to test
Step 3 - Choose which version of the OS you picked
They host different versions of each OS, so in this step you can choose your favorite version you want to test, simply by clicking the start button
For example : I chose Arch Linux
And it should take you into this section, now you need to wait for the server to start, the waiting time depends how many users are using the server at the same time, in my case I had to wait less than 1 min, in case you have to wait longer then you know what to do..coffee time :)
If no windows is opened that means your browser is blocking pop ups (nobody loves pop ups) you can either allow pop ups from distrotest.net to test the OS or simply click the vnc button and it should open the remote window.
and the OS should start
To use the system for more than 30 minutes, you need to click the extend button, the extend button becomes available once you have ran out of time and it extends the session that you are using +15 mins each time, so that should be enough time of testing.
Once you are done testing don't forget to close the window or click the button " System stop" if you want to test another OS.
What are PROS and CONS?
1) It saves you time and you can test the Operating System you want directly from your browser without having to download anything.
2) You have access to more than 300 Operating Systems that you can test
3) You can extend the 30 minute testing limit by clicking the extend button
4) Easy User Interface
1) The server's hardware that allows you to run the distro online might be different from your computer's hardware which means some features might work or not work correctly on the server where the OS is hosted or in your computer. To avoid this from happening, make sure to check whether the OS you want to install on your computer will support your hardware.
2) Slow Laggy experience, I think this is completely normal because they have probably a lot of users and of course the server resources are limited.
Distrotest.net it's not the only service that allows you to run any OS online from your browser without having to download it or install it on your system, another good alternative of distrotest is also onworks.net which works similarly, you choose the OS you want to test and then click the "Run Online" button.
Last but not least
While they are a great solution when it comes to testing a Linux distro or other operating systems, I don't recommend using the virtual machines to do any personal stuff like logging in to your email or doing any other private stuff, I don't know what data they collect or if they collect any but personally I'd recommend them only for testing and not using their servers as your personal computer, better safe than sorry.
In this tutorial you learned how to test any Linux Distro or any other OS directly from your browser without having to download or install anything on your computer.