We've created, appointed, or otherwise identified certain question/answer pairs that are the canonical answer for certain problems. These are answers where the community has said all it is going to say on a class of subject, because although everyone's particular problems in that class are somewhat different, to the extent that they are interesting, they aren't different, and to the extent that they're different, they aren't interesting (to anyone save the questioner). So we write one answer that's designed to be the last word on the subject, and say no more.

A list of these problems is given in the accepted answer below.


  • Post an Answer to nominate a question for inclusion. Questions explicitly posted for the purpose of creating a canonical Question/Answer can skip this.
  • Delete content that has been merged into the official list. Try to keep this post neat and tidy.
  • Who decides that a question is canonical? Anyone in the community? Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 10:54
  • 2
    @AndrewSchulman Yes, and you can self Q&A with the intention of providing both the question and the answer. Other members of the community will step in and contribute better answers if they feel that the existing ones are insufficient. This has worked pretty well for us so far, and I imagine that the mods will step in if someone tries to abuse this. (a "canonical" Q&A that disregards the community isn't really canonical)
    – Andrew B
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 20:11
  • 6
    "A list of these problems is given in the accepted answer below." - only there's no accepted answer. :-) Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


These are the questions we have identified as Canonical:

Capacity Planning



Datacenter Design


EMail & Spam


Hosting provider/server hardware shopping

Infrastructure Software

Active Directory




General Unix/Linux OS Stuff



Terminal Server (RDS)



Web Servers

Windows (General)



  • 23
    Just reading through these has increased my knowledge, we should make these more prominent.
    – Jacob
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 22:36
  • What an awesome list... I'm a developer turned business owner/IT noob and came across this while looking for some basic info... this will keep me busy for a LONG time!
    – jleach
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:10
  • "How to stop people from using my domain to send spam? [duplicate]" surely shouldn't be on this list. Or is it a shining example of the perfect duplicate? The answer it is apparently a duplicate of doesn't address the original problem at all, so it probably isn't that.
    – bye
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 16:35
  • This makes it seem like the ability to have tags for answers would be good. Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 0:27

List of Canonical Topics that do not have a Q/A yet or need improvement:


Datacenter Design

Infrastructure Software


Web Servers

  • Apache vHost
  • Apache .htaccess/overrides

Enterprise Storage

Create one or more Question that covers "ES" topics... not sure how this should be organized exactly. Merge these answers into that Question(s) (keeping them separate/complete answers).

Server Hardware

  • "Our previous specialist left, HALP?" and "How many users/servers/whatever should a SA be responsible for" would most likely be too broad. The 1st one doesn't specify what kind of specialist, and the 2nd is completely dependent on type of environment and who the SA is. Just can't see either being canonical if they are mostly opinion.
    – TheCleaner
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 18:14

In response to Why The Hostility, I wrote this for consideration as a canonical Q/A:

What are the basics of running a Web Server?

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