How to Update your Linode's Existing Kernel

Updated , by Linode Community

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This guide is about updating your Linode’s current kernel to a newer version. For information on how to change which kind of kernel your Linode runs, check out the How to Change your Linode’s Kernel guide.

Which Kernel Am I Running?

Your Linode is capable of running one of three kinds of kernels:

  • An upstream kernel that is maintained and provided by your Linux distribution’s authors (this is also referred to as the distribution-supplied kernel).

  • The Linode kernel. Linode maintains an up-to-date kernel: Linode’s engineering team monitors for new versions of the Linux kernel and then packages them for users shortly after they are available. These kernels are not installed on your filesystem–instead, the Linode Manager supplies them to your system when it boots.

    A version history for Linode’s kernel is available here.
  • A kernel that you compile from source.

The steps needed to update your kernel vary depending on the type of kernel you are running. To find out which type you’re using, SSH into your Linode and run the following command:

uname -r

If your output contains linode in the version tag, then you are running the Linode kernel:


If your output contains generic in the version tag, then you are probably running a distribution-supplied kernel:


Update Your Linode Kernel with Linode’s Cloud Manager

  1. Select the Linode from the Dashboard and click the Disks/Configs tab.

  2. Find your current Configuration, click on the More Options Ellipses menu and select Edit.

  3. Scroll to the Boot Settings section.

  4. Select Latest 64 bit from the Select a Kernel dropdown (if you need a 32-bit kernel, select Latest 32 bit) and click the Submit button to save the changes.

  5. Reboot the Linode to boot into the new kernel and verify the kernel version:

    uname -r

Update your Distribution-Supplied Kernel

If you boot your Linode using the GRUB2 or Direct Disk boot setting, your kernel is supplied by your distribution’s maintainers, not Linode. If you’ve compiled your own kernel, download a new set of kernel sources and recompile.

Update your kernel to the latest available version using the distribution’s package manager:


sudo yum update kernel


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade linux-base


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade linux-generic

Reboot the Linode. When it comes back up, use the command uname -r to verify which version you are running. It’s recommend that you compare your new kernel version against the patched version given in your distribution’s security bulletin: CentOS; Debian; Ubuntu.

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