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title: Operating systems for virtual machines
last_reviewed_on: 2018-12-07
review_in: 6 months
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You should use [Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS)]( as an operating system (OS) for your virtual machine (VM).
You must apply hardening to your VM. For example, you should only use SSH keys _that are protected by a passphrase_ to access VMs. You should disable root SSH access and SSH access using a password.
You must also make sure your OS is:
* automatically updated for security issues
* up to date with the latest OS releases
* able to run on a local VM
GDS recommends LTS as the default choice for your VM, but you can use a standard release if you have a specific reason for doing so, for example if you need a newer kernel, or features not yet available in Ubuntu LTS.
If you use standard Ubuntu, we recommend you migrate to the latest release within 3 months to ensure you stay within the support period, and receive security updates.