Update Debian Server - Best Practices

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 29, 2020
Best Practices Security System Admin


It is a best practice to update your server on a regular schedule for security and stability. Use this guide to keep your Debian server updated.

Supported Versions

This guide applies to:

  • Debian 9 "Stretch"
  • Debian 10 "Buster"

Make a Backup

Always make a backup before updating your system.

Step 1: Update the Package Lists

This command updates the package lists from the enabled repositories.

$ sudo apt update

Step 2: List the Upgradable Packages

This step is optional. To view the upgradable packages before performing the upgrade, use the apt list command.

$ sudo apt list --upgradable

Step 3: Upgrade Packages

This command will upgrade all the upgradeable packages.

$ sudo apt upgrade

Step 4: Restart the Server

$ sudo reboot

One Line Upgrade

If you want to accept all the defaults and perform the upgrade without intervention, use this command:

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Optional - Autoremove

Use apt to remove old packages and dependencies automatically.

$ sudo apt autoremove


Periodic updates keep your server secure and stable. Make sure you have a snapshot or backup strategy in place before updating.

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