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How to Setup Unattended Upgrades on Debian 9 (Stretch)

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 23, 2017
Debian Linux Guides System Admin
Archived content

This article is outdated and may not work correctly for current operating systems or software.


If you purchase a Debian server, then you should always have the latest security patches and updates, whether you're asleep or not. This is pretty easy to do. Here's how.

1. Install the unattended-upgrades Package

Run this command to install the "unattended-upgrades" package, along with a package to identify the changes:

apt -y install unattended-upgrades apt-listchanges

2. Configuration

After that is installed, then edit the unattended-upgrade configuration:

nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades

Paste the following into this file after emptying it, then modify items with ** **. Remember to remove the asterisks.

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "7";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";
Unattended-Upgrade::Mail "**YOUR_EMAIL_HERE**";

// Automatically upgrade packages from these 
Unattended-Upgrade::Origins-Pattern {

// You can specify your own packages to NOT automatically upgrade here
Unattended-Upgrade::Package-Blacklist {
//      "vim";
//      "libc6";
//      "libc6-dev";
//      "libc6-i686";


Unattended-Upgrade::MailOnlyOnError "true";
Unattended-Upgrade::Automatic-Reboot "false";

NOTE: To remove the original lines from the file you can hold ( ctrl + k )

NOTE: You can set Automatic-Reboot to true if you want your server to reboot when it's necessary.

Install "apticron" to manage automatic execution of APT updates:

apt -y install apticron

Open /etc/apticron/apticron.conf and set the EMAIL variable to your email address, so you can receive the list of changes.


Open /etc/apt/listchanges.conf to configure APT to save the changes to a database:


3. Test

You can run unattended-upgrade manually with debug mode to see if it works correctly:

unattended-upgrade -d

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