This chapter provides a quick overview of installing Ubuntu 20.04 Server Edition. For more detailed instructions, please refer to the Ubuntu Installation Guide.
Preparing to Install
This section explains various aspects to consider before starting the installation.
Ubuntu 20.04 Server Edition provides a common, minimalist base for a variety of server applications, such as file/print services, web hosting, email hosting, etc. This edition supports five (5) major architectures: AMD64, ARM, POWER9, LinuxONE and z Systems, and introduces initial support for RISC-V.
The “live server” installer (sometimes called “Ubiquity for Servers” or simply “Subiquity”) provides a user-friendly and fast installation experience.
The table below lists the recommended minimum hardware specifications. Depending on your needs, you might manage with less than this, but it is not generally recommended.
|Install Type||CPU||RAM||Hard Drive Space|
|Server (Standard)||1 gigahertz||512 megabytes||1.5 gigabyte||2.5 gigabytes|
|live server||1 gigahertz (amd64 only)||1 gigabyte||1.5 gigabyte||n/a|
|Server (Minimal)||300 megahertz||384 megabytes||1.5 gigabytes||2.5 gigabytes|
Server and Desktop Differences
The Ubuntu Server Edition and the Ubuntu Desktop Edition use the same apt repositories, making it just as easy to install a server application on the Desktop Edition as on the Server Edition.
One major difference is that the graphical environment used for the Desktop Edition is not installed for the Server. This includes the graphics server itself, the graphical utilities and applications, and the various user-supporting services needed by desktop users.
The Server Edition’s kernel used to be tuned differently from Desktop, but currently, both rely on the same Linux configuration.
Before installing Ubuntu Server Edition you should make sure all data on the system is backed up.
If this is not the first time an operating system has been installed on your computer, it is likely you will need to re-partition your disk to make room for Ubuntu.
Any time you partition your disk, you should be prepared to lose everything on the disk should you make a mistake or something goes wrong during partitioning. The programs used in installation are quite reliable, most have seen years of use, but they also perform destructive actions.
Installing using the live server installer
The basic steps to install Ubuntu Server Edition are the same as those for installing any operating system. Unlike the Desktop Edition, the Server Edition does not include a graphical installation program. The Live Server installer uses a text-based console interface which runs on the default virtual console. The interface can be entirely driven by the enter, up and down arrow keys (with some occasional typing).
During the installation, you can switch to a different console (by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F<n> or Ctrl-Alt-Right) to get access to a shell, if needed. Up to the point where the installation begins, you can use the “back” button to go back to previous screens and choose different options.
Download the appropriate ISO file from the Ubuntu web site.
Boot the system from media (e.g. USB key) containing the ISO file.
At the boot prompt you will be asked to select a language.
From the main boot menu there are some additional options to install Ubuntu Server Edition. You can install a basic Ubuntu Server, check the installation media for defects, check the system’s RAM, or boot from first hard disk. The rest of this section will cover the basic Ubuntu Server install.
After booting into the installer, it will ask you which language to use.
Next, the installation process begins by asking for your keyboard layout. You can ask the installer to attempt auto-detecting it, or you can select it manually from a list. Later stages of the installation will require you to type ASCII characters, so if the layout you select does not allow that, you will be prompted for a key combination to switch between a layout that does and the one you select. The default keystroke for this is Alt + Shift.
Next, the installer offers the choice to install the system as a vanilla Ubuntu server, a MAAS bare-metal cloud rack controller or a MAAS region controller. If you select one of the MAAS options you will be asked for some details.
The installer configures the network to run DHCP on each network interface. If this is not sufficient to get access to the internet you should configure at least one interface manually. Select an interface to configure it.
If the Ubuntu archive can only be accessed via a proxy in your environment, it can be entered on the next screen. Leave the field blank if it is not required.
You can then choose to let the installer use an entire disk or configure the partitioning manually. The first disk you create a partition on will be selected as the boot disk and have an extra partition created on it to contain the bootloader; you can move the boot partition to a different drive with the “Select as boot disk” button.
Once you move on from this screen, the installation progress will begin. It will not be possible to move back to this or previous screens and any data on the disks you have configured the installer to use will be lost.
The next screen configures the initial user for the system. You can import SSH keys from Launchpad or Github but a password is still required to be set, as this user will have root access through the sudo utility.
The final screen shows the progress of the installer. Once the installation has completed, you will be prompted to reboot into your newly installed system.