How to Update your Linux Kernel

Updated by Linode Contributed by Linode

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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 kernel that you compile from source.

The steps needed to update your kernel vary by which kind you are using. 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:

  
4.14.12-x86_64-linode92

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

  
44.15.0-29-generic

Update your Linode Kernel

  1. Log in to the Linode Manager.

  2. Navigate to the Linode’s Dashboard and edit the configuration profile.

  3. Under Boot Settings, select Latest 64 Bit and click Save Changes.

  4. Reboot your Linode and verify the kernel version:

    uname -r
    
      
    4.17.15-x86_64-linode115
    
    

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:

CentOS

sudo yum update kernel

Debian

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

Ubuntu

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

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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This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.