I see a few references to "other" sites in some of the meta questions in term of improving Serverfault.....However, specifically which sites do you feel are the competition to that of ServerFault?


4 Answers 4


Server Fault has both Internal and External competition.

Internal Competition

These are other Stack Exchange network sites which overlap in some way with Server Fault.
Some are complimentary, others perhaps not so much.

  • Database Administrators
    This site is narrowly focused on the subject of database administration.
    It overlaps with Server Fault in the areas related to configuration of database servers (sizing, storage subsystems, backup procedures, and general configuration of database software like MySQL or Postgres). It also extends beyond what Server Fault normally deals with and covers topics like indexing, table structure optimization, and complex SQL - even "administrative" SQL).

    Though they don't say it explicitly, my impression is that dba.SE has similar standards of professionalism to Server Fault -- It's presumed that one is either a database administrator (by training or role) or a very high-end user with administrative access and the core knowledge to use that access effectively.

  • IT Security
    This site is narrowly focused on the principles and practices of what could be broadly called "Information Security". As with Database Administrators it overlaps with Server Fault, in this case in the areas related to the practical application of information security principles (How do I configure X server to mitigate the potential of Y attack?), but dives deeper into the theory behind IT security - why systems work the way they do, how best to apply cryptography, etc.

  • Network Engineering
    This site is a personal sore point for me (I'm generally under the impression it has a 100% overlap with the scope of Server Fault, which has always included System Administrators, Storage Administrators, and Network Administrators under its umbrella), but it exists and is currently in Public Beta, so we'll see if it does well enough to stick around in its own right.
    The scope really hasn't been fully defined yet, but I imagine if it does well enough to stick around it will be a place for the more esoteric network design questions that require specialized knowledge of the arcana of routing protocols, black-magic MPLS, etc.

  • Unix & Linux
    This site is broadly focused on all *NIX-Like operating systems.
    If Super User could be thought of as "Tech Support for the (windows-using) Intertubes", Unix & Linux is largely the Unix world equivalent.
    The major overlap with Server Fault here is shell-scripting questions and the like, which used to be generally tolerated here even if they weren't specifically about system administration.

  • Operating System Specific Sites: Ask Ubuntu and Ask Different
    These two operating-system-speficic sites are dedicated to the Ubuntu Linux distribution and Apple's Mac OS X respectively. They have limited overlap with Server Fault -- most questions asked there are "end user" type questions which would not be appropriate for Server Fault, however on occasion Server Fault may refer particularly esoteric questions to the operating system specific site where the community of subject matter experts might be better able to answer them (for example a question on integrating OS X with a third party authentication system, once it delves into the dark recesses of OS X configuration options, may find a better answer on Ask Different than Server Fault).

  • Other Sites
    A number of software-specific Stack Exchange sites have spawned over the years. Many of these questions used to live on Server Fault in absence of a better place for them, but over time those communities have largely migrated to their own sites, and questions particular to these pieces of software (as opposed to configuring a server environment to host them) are often better suited to the software-specific sites. Examples include:

External Competition

Stack Exchange does not have a market corner on Q&A style sites. Expert-Sexchange is perhaps our best known competition (and our grand predecessor, also known for its enormous piles of crap content).
Many forum sites like DaniWeb also have components which overlap Server Fault's scope to varying degrees.

Honestly I don't keep track of our external competition much (because they tend to be awful in terms of quality).

  • I'm looking at this question in making a comparison to other sites and seeing where we standout or are lacking. There seem to be a lot of opinions here but actually seeing other sites for ideas or to "crow" about how we are better is certainly good.
    – mdpc
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 16:56
  • 2
    We are really no better or worse than our internal competition (We've been around longer, which means Google directs lots of traffic our way. Give the other sites 3 years to climb the Google rankings and they may wind up with the same quality issues we're currently fighting. Stack Overflow has it worse than we do.). In terms of our comparison to external sites, the other Experts Q&A site tends to demand money in order to reduce the suck factor - whether or not that works is debatable. You can visit forum-style sites & draw your own conclusions as well. Personally: Bleh!
    – voretaq7
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 17:02
  • 2
    @mdpc More to the point though, there's very little to be gained in looking at the greener pastures of the other sites - The Server Fault community should decide what we want to be, and then go about being the best we can at what we decide we want to be. There are (and always will be) competing sites, but if we have a high quality knowledge base and a core of experts who provide excellent answers to new high-quality) questions that's all that really matters. Everything else tends to itself.
    – voretaq7
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 17:05
  • I can attest to Expert-Sexchange having roughly the same quality as Stack Exchange. There are plenty of idiots and experts with the money for a subscription (most commonly their work is footing the bill either way).
    – Chris S
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 17:17
  • Every time that I find an experts-exchange answer on Google, I die a little bit inside.
    – user173755
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    Just the other day, I thought to myself "This place is slowly turning into /r/sysadmin." God, I hope I was wrong.
    – MDMarra
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 18:30

Besides other SE sites? Technet forums, MS Social forums, Expert Sexchange, Petri, linuxquestions, Cisco forums, etc.

Oh...and Google.

  • 1
    expert sexchange....I see we not taking my question seriously. I was attempting to ask a serious question, as I do not see the universe of sites out there.
    – mdpc
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 16:36
  • 8
    Experts Exchange is commonly referred to as Expert Sexchange around these parts, since their URL lacked a hyphen for a while. I'd consider this a serious answer.
    – MDMarra
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 16:50
  • No Bitchassness!
    – ewwhite
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 17:05
  • @mdpc - As MDMarra points out...I was serious...just don't like "promoting" their site.
    – TheCleaner
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 17:54
  • Sorry I did not understand.....I withdraw my comment....
    – mdpc
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 18:02

At least the Microsoft Technet / social forums and the VMware counterpart have a significant amount of vendor-specific topical overlap.

Their unsurmountable advantage over ServerFault is the fact that the respective vendor's support staff is ordered to answer questions there, so the forums have authoritative status. They also seem to draw a lot more users in their respective areas than ServerFault does.

There are a lot of similarities to StackExchange in terms of how these sites are built. They do have "points" to collect for users answering questions frequently, there is the ability to mark "helpful" and "correct" answers.

And of course there are shortcomings, too. Without the voting system, inaccurate answers persist and get more attention than necessary. The ability of other users to mark an answer as the "best" sees a lot of abuse and simple requests for clarification often end up as "best" answers if the asker does not follow up on the enquiries.

  • I'd add the Cisco sites, although vendors like Cisco also have technical support where you can get your question asked, but the answers are not automatically public.
    – dunxd
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 11:20

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