The best Linux training providers and online courses provide a simple way to learn to work with the commonly used open source (opens in new tab) Linux operating system.
This is increasingly important because Linux is becoming an important operating system to be familiar with in business, not least because the majority of web servers run on various Linux platforms. Whether it's RedHat (opens in new tab), FreeBSD (opens in new tab), Ubuntu (opens in new tab), Debian (opens in new tab) or CentOS (opens in new tab), it can help to be familiar with at least some of the basic operations, whether for accessing them directly, for understanding IT reports, or even to better understand security concerns.
Perhaps more importantly, these are also the common platforms for cloud services (opens in new tab), so to administrate these it can be very helpful indeed to have a good knowledge of Linux behind you, along with some experience of using it.
Of course, you don't even have to be a business user to want to learn Linux. After all, while Linux operating systems require regular security updates, they are rarely targeted by computer viruses simply because Linux computers are such a small market share.
And while you can opt to buy a PC or laptop running Linux (opens in new tab), it's also often possible to run many distros of Linux on an old and unused machine. Even better perhaps would be to use virtualization on your own machine, which can then be used to set up and install any and as many different flavors of Linux as you like.
If you're keen to get started but never dared take the plunge, here we'll feature the best in beginner courses on training to use Linux.
Linux Administration Bootcamp: Go from Beginner to Advanced, $12.99/£11.99 at Udemy (opens in new tab)
Learn the ropes of two of the most popular Linux distributions in the world, Red Hat Linux & CentOS, and use the in-demand skills to start a career as a Linux Server Admin or Linux Administrator. The course is presented by Jason Cannon, the author of Linux for beginners, and includes around 500 minutes of in-demand video and four downloadable resources.
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Udemy is an online learning platform for those willing to develop their professional skills. And there are a number of courses available for learning Linux, such as Jason Cannon's popular Linux for Beginners course.
As the course is offered on the Udemy platform, you benefit from a detailed course overview and can find out a little bit more about your instructor.
The only course requirements are basic IT literacy and a willingness to learn. Linux for Beginners also covers setting up Linux in a virtual machine, so you can experiment without interfering with your current system setup.
The course is delivered via a series of self-paced online videos which take around six hours to complete. Linux for Beginners covers all the basics and another major boon is that it’s a highly inexpensive option.
Read our full Udemy learning platform review.
The Linux Foundation offers a number of online courses via the edX platform including this Introduction to Linux. One very attractive feature of these courses is that some of them are free to take, such as Introduction to Linux, although there is an additional fee if you want a formal 'certificate of completion'. However, there are also a number of paid for courses, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
Introduction to Linux has been prepared by Jerry Cooperstein, the Training Program Director for the Linux Foundation, and there's even a short welcome message from the creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds himself; so it's safe to say you're in good hands.
The course is designed as a series of learning videos to help people who have basic IT skills to become familiar with Linux, both using a graphical interface and the command line.
Introduction to Linux is more than just text and videos, however. There are a number of ‘try it yourself’ activities, too, which allow you to perform tasks such as working with files.
Although the images and diagrams used in the videos are rather simplistic, this course is very popular on edX (being rated at 4/5 stars) and is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the essentials of Linux.
The training website formerly named Lynda.com and now rebranded as LinkedIn Learning hosts dozens of Linux-related courses including this one, which has the full title of Linux Foundation Certified System: Essential Commands (Ubuntu).
The course focuses on mastery of the basic commands involving administration of the Ubuntu OS, one of the most popular flavors of Linux. Essential Commands (Ubuntu) is authored by Scott Simpson, who has also designed a number of Linux-related courses.
To access this course, you must first subscribe to Lynda. There's a basic and premium price plan – premium subscribers can store course materials offline, as well as download practice materials. Whichever option you choose, there's a 30-day free trial.
The course focuses specifically on Ubuntu, which is wise as it's one of the most popular distributions for beginners, and this focus allows for a greater level of detail than the more generic courses we've looked at. This said, some of the instructions are a little vague in places, such as the part dedicated to setting up Ubuntu in a virtual machine.
Read our full LinkedIn Learning review.
CBT Nuggets is an online learning platform hosting dozens of training courses from big players like Cisco. Payment of a monthly fee gives you access to all CBT courses – plus there's also a free 7-day trial to give the system a whirl.
While there are a number of Linux courses available, the Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin might be especially useful due to it being focused on the various routine tasks a SysAdmin would be expected to face.
There are more introductory courses available, but do watch the dates, as some courses are quite old, and while essential Linux commands may not have changed there's always the danger of working with depreciated code commands.
Regardless, CBT also allows you to watch training videos on its mobile app, which is available for Apple, Amazon and Android devices.
The instructor has a wonderful flair for making boring concepts entertaining. On one occasion he uses his video lecture tool to draw a picture of a puppy as he launches into a detailed diatribe on software repositories.
If you are willing to pay the subscription fee for CBT Nuggets, there are further training courses you can take for Linux and other platforms.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (often shortened to RHEL) is a commercially developed version of Linux mainly used in big businesses. Red Hat offers comprehensive training courses for those interested in becoming a Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator.
Red Hat System Administration part one is the initial step in this journey and is designed for those who may be familiar with Linux, but haven't used it in depth. Unlike other training providers, Red Hat offers a variety of ways to undertake the course at different costs.
The training is regularly punctuated with practical exercises which test your knowledge. Each exercise will tell you whether to access your 'server' or 'desktop' virtual machine, both of which are set up for you, so you can start training right away.
This training course has been devised by the very same company that developed Red Hat Enterprise Linux, an obvious strong point because it means that all course materials come straight from the horse's mouth. However, the courses can be quite expensive and probably more aimed at enterprises looking to train employees rather than interested individuals.
QA has been around for 30 years and offers a tremendous amount of courses for professionals to gain certification and new skills. Its website includes eight Linux courses, including Linux System Fundamentals, which is aimed at IT pros with little or no experience of the OS.
All training is guided by an instructor at one of the QA training centers around the UK, or alternatively you can remotely attend a course. After contacting QA for clarification, we found the course fee is the same, regardless of which method you choose. At the time of writing, however, the 'Attend from Anywhere' option is currently unavailable for this course.
Linux System Fundamentals lives up to its name in that the course focuses strongly on helping you master the Linux command line. The desktop environment and graphical editors are discussed towards the end of the training, however. This means it's truly cross-platform, as you can use whichever Linux distribution you prefer to train with.
Reed.co.uk is best known as a recruitment website, but it also hosts a number of online courses including Ubuntu Linux for Beginners. These are in fact designed by third parties, as is the case with this course which comes from the good people at Skill Success.
Ubuntu Linux for Beginners is available as a series of video lectures, allowing you to learn at your own pace. The training itself is divided into 11 topics, covering areas such as installing Ubuntu on a virtual machine, getting started with the Ubuntu desktop and command line, setting up your own web server, basic programming and connecting via SSH.
Some of the sections are overly detailed and not really suitable for beginners to Linux, but you can always skip past these and return to them at a later date. The course currently offers excellent value-for-money, although note that the heavy discount seen at the time of writing isn’t always available (although the good news is it seems to be a recurring affair).
VTC is an online learning platform specifically geared to help trainees improve their software skills. The Introduction to Linux course is designed to welcome newcomers to Linux and provide them with some basic knowledge of the operating system.
Unlike many of the other courses we’ve looked at, this one offers the first three chapters free of charge to visitors. This represents an excellent sneak preview and allows you to become accustomed to navigating the course outline.
After the third chapter, you can choose to pay a nominal one-time fee to access the rest of the course online, or for a similar fee you can download the entire course for offline viewing.
Introduction to Linux covers basic knowledge such as using the command line, hardware, networking and the X Window manager.
The course overview itself is easy to navigate and you can go back and replay videos as you wish. There's no section provided on the web page for taking notes, though, so you'll need your own text editor for this.