Inline Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)

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Ubuntu 20.04 is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that is supported by Canonical until April 2025. Use this guide to upgrade your Linode from Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) or Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) to Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa).


Inline distribution upgrades can yield unpredictable results. Before continuing, read through Upgrading to the Latest Distribution (Clean Install) guide to learn more about your upgrade options. This guide also provides instructions to perform a clean install of the latest distribution version.

The upgrade may be incomplete or your system may be corrupted if your internet connection is interrupted. Use Lish or Glish to perform this upgrade in a stable environment that does not rely on an active internet connection to your Linode.

Prepare to Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04

The steps required in this guide require root privileges. Be sure to run the steps below as root or with the sudo prefix. For more information on privileges see our Users and Groups guide.

In order to prepare your Linode for upgrade, the following steps guide you to:

  1. Install updates for Ubuntu 18.04.

  2. Backup your data.

  3. Ensure that the kernel version you’re using is the latest.

  4. Stop non-critical services.

  5. Start a LISH session to ensure that the installation is not interrupted.

Install Available Updates

Update package lists and install all updates:

apt update && apt upgrade

Back Up Your Linode

It’s a good idea to back up your Linode before performing a major upgrade. That way, you can restore from backup if anything goes wrong during the upgrade process. If you subscribe to the Linode Backup Service, we recommend that you take a manual snapshot before upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. If you use another backup service or application, we recommend that you make a manual backup before continuing.

Check Your Kernel

Verify that your Linode is using the latest supported kernel. See Apply Kernel Updates for more information.

Stop Services

We recommend that you stop as many services as possible before upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. This includes web server daemons (Apache and NGINX), database servers (PostgreSQL and MySQL), and any other non-critical services.

  1. Get a list of services currently running on your system:

    systemctl | grep running
  2. To stop a service, enter the following command, replacing apache2 with the name of the service you want to stop:

    systemctl stop apache2

You are now ready to install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on your Linode.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Remember to perform these steps in a Lish or Glish session:

  1. Install the update-manager-core package:

    apt install update-manager-core
  2. Open /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades and verify that the Prompt value is set to lts on Ubuntu 18.04 or normal on Ubuntu 19.10:

    File: /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades
    # Default behavior for the release upgrader.
    # Default prompting behavior, valid options:
    #  never  - Never check for a new release.
    #  normal - Check to see if a new release is available.  If more than one new
    #           release is found, the release upgrader will attempt to upgrade to
    #           the release that immediately succeeds the currently-running
    #           release.
    #  lts    - Check to see if a new LTS release is available.  The upgrader
    #           will attempt to upgrade to the first LTS release available after
    #           the currently-running one.  Note that this option should not be
    #           used if the currently-running release is not itself an LTS
    #           release, since in that case the upgrader won't be able to
    #           determine if a newer release is available.
  3. You’re now ready to begin the upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.


    Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.

  4. Because Linode offers internal package mirrors for Ubuntu, you may see some combination of the following messages:

    • No valid mirror found

      While scanning your repository information no mirror entry for the
      upgrade was found. This can happen if you run an internal mirror or
      if the mirror information is out of date.
      Do you want to rewrite your 'sources.list' file anyway? If you choose
      'Yes' here it will update all 'trusty' to 'xenial' entries.
      If you select 'No' the upgrade will cancel.
      Continue [yN]

      Type y and Enter to continue.

    • Packages no longer supported

      3 installed packages are no longer supported by Canonical. You can
      still get support from the community.
      2 packages are going to be removed. 91 new packages are going to be
      installed. 346 packages are going to be upgraded.
      You have to download a total of 239 M. This download will take about
      30 minutes with a 1Mbit DSL connection and about 9 hours with a 56k
      Fetching and installing the upgrade can take several hours. Once the
      download has finished, the process cannot be canceled.
       Continue [yN]  Details [d]

      Press d for more details (then q to exit the details), or y to continue.

    • Configuring openssh-server: Press enter to choose keep the local version currently installed.

    • Remove obsolete packages?: Enter y

  5. The upgrade requires a reboot. Enter y to continue:

    System upgrade is complete.
    Restart required
    To finish the upgrade, a restart is required.
    If you select 'y' the system will be restarted.
    Continue [yN]
  6. Once the system has rebooted, verify that it’s running Ubuntu 20.04:

    lsb_release -a
  7. You should see output that resembles the following:

    No LSB modules are available.
    Distributor ID:	Ubuntu
    Description:	Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS
    Release:	20.04
    Codename:	focal

Your Linode is now running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.


Netplan is used to configure networking in Ubuntu 20.04 and later. Ubuntu Server is packaged with systemd-networkd as the backend for Netplan, while NetworkManager is used as the Netplan backend in Ubuntu Desktop. The ifupdown package has been deprecated, and /etc/network/interfaces is no longer used, but it’s still possible to configure static networking with /etc/systemd/network/*.network files.

Once you have upgraded to Ubuntu 20.04 or later from an earlier version, you should run the following command to enable systemd-networkd:

systemctl enable systemd-networkd

Upgrading from Previous Ubuntu Releases

If your Linode is running Ubuntu older than 18.04 LTS, use the upgrade guides in the Upgrading section to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. You may then upgrade your Linode to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

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