How to Upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04

Reading Time: 5 minutesIf you are still using Ubuntu version 16.04, you may want to consider updating to the latest Long Term Support release, version 18.04. In this post, we will cover what a Long Term Support release is and why you would want to use it. You will also learn the significant changes between 16.04 and 18.04. Last, but not least, you will also learn how to upgrade your dedicated server from Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04.

What is a Long Term Support Release?

A Long Term Support release or LTS release, means that Ubuntu will support the version for five years. If you are running a production environment, you will likely want to use a Long-Term Support version of your preferred server operating system.

Why You Should Use an LTS Release of Ubuntu

You should use an LTS release for your production environment because it is more stable than interim releases. Ubuntu releases a new LTS version every two years, and they release a new “interim” release every six months. Each interim release gives Ubuntu an opportunity to implement and test new features as well as update libraries. If they run into any bugs or conflicts with anything new added in an interim release, Ubuntu can fix them before the next LTS release of Ubuntu. LTS versions do receive point updates but don’t expect the updates to include any new features. The point updates harden the functionality of current features.
What is New in Ubuntu Version 18.04
  • Depending on when you installed Ubuntu version 16.04, the Linux kernel used would have been anywhere from version 4.4 to 4.10. Version 18.04 uses Linux kernel 4.15 at launch.
  • Linux kernel 4.5 now includes new features like CPU controller for the cgroup v2 interface, AMD secure memory encryption support, the latest MD driver with software RAID enhancements, and improved power management for systems with SATA Link Power Management.
  • The new kernel also includes some Ubuntu-specific updates, Linux security module stacking support, and the signing of POWER host and NV kernels is now supported.
  • 18.04 does not install Python 2 default, and it updated Python version 3 to version 3.6.
  • Apache updates to version 2.4.29 and supports HTTP/2.
  • Nginx updates to version 1.14.0.
  • PHP updates from version 7.1 to 7.2.
  • The ifupdown network manager is removed on new installs and is deprecated. is the new network configuration manager.
  • OpenSSH now refuses to use RSA keys smaller than 1024 bits. This command can report the length of a key.ssh-keygen -l -f /path/to/
  • 32-bit PowerPC support has been dropped.
  • The Subuquity server installer brings live sessions and fast installs of Ubuntu Desktop to server users.
  • Ubuntu 18.04 ships with LXD system container manager version 3.0. Version 3.0 of LXD allows for clustering of LXD servers, adds support of NVIDIA run-time pass-through, and lxd-p2c is a new tool that turns existing systems into LXD containers.
To see the full list of changes that are included in Ubuntu 18.04 check the BionicBeaver release notes.
Ubuntu Server Version 18.04 Known Issues
  • The partitioning step allows you to configure LVM across multiple devices without you to create a separate boot partition. This could cause the bootloader installation to fail or cause failures to boot. You can keep track of this bug using this link.
  • Importing SSH keys for GitHub or Launchpad won’t work with the new Ubiquity installer. You can track the bug using this link.
  • LVM groups can’t be removed if volume groups of the same name are found during installation. As a workaround be sure to format the drives before installing. You can track this bug using this link.


  • You need a user with sudo privileges to run the commands need to update.
  • We also encourage you to create a staging environment to test the upgrade from 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04 before trying it in a production environment.

How to Upgrade from 16.04 to 18.04

Step 1: Create a backup of your environment.
Most upgrades will go smoothly, but you want to be prepared just in case. When you upgrade LTS versions, you are rolling two years of gradual changes into one major update. There are many moving pieces, and a backup can easily fix anything that goes wrong. Do not skip this step, create a backup.
Step 2: Upgrade the installed packages of Ubuntu version 16.04.
Updating the packages to the latest version for 16.04 decreases the chance of something going wrong during the upgrade to version 18.04. Run the command below to update and upgrade the packages. sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade Ubuntu will grab the available package upgrades and ask you to confirm you want to continue. Hit:1 xenial InRelease Get:2 xenial-updates InRelease [109 kB] Get:3 xenial-backports InRelease [107 kB] Get:4 xenial-security InRelease [107 kB] Fetched 323 kB in 0s (470 kB/s) Reading package lists... Done Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done Calculating upgrade... Done The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required: linux-headers-4.4.0-138 linux-headers-4.4.0-138-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-21 linux-headers-4.4.0-21-generic linux-image-4.4.0-138-generic linux-image-4.4.0-21-generic Use ‘sudo apt autoremove‘ to remove them. The following packages will be upgraded: ca-certificates python3-software-properties software-properties-common update-notifier-common 4 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Need to get 359 kB of archives. After this operation, 0 B of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Type Y in your terminal to continue
Step 3: Install the Ubuntu Update Manager.
To no one’s surprise, you need to have the Update Manager installed on your server to use it. To add the Update Manager to your server add command below to your terminal. sudo apt install update-manager-core If you are using a Liquid Web VPS, you can skip this step. The Upgrade manager is installed by default.
Step 4: Upgrade Ubuntu.
Now that you have created a backup installed package updates and have the upgrade manager you are ready to upgrade Ubuntu. sudo do-release-upgrade After you enter the upgrade command, you will be asked to confirm that you want to update via SSH. Type Y to continue. To make an easy recovery in case of failure, an additional sshd will be started on port '1022'. If anything goes wrong with the running SSH, you can still connect to the additional one. If you run a firewall, you may need to temporarily open this port. As this is potentially dangerous it's not done automatically. You can open the port with, e.g.: 'iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 1022 -j ACCEPT' To continue, please press [ENTER] After hitting Enter, Ubuntu will get all the packages needed to update and will inform you how many packages will be added and removed and the size of the update. Do you want to start the upgrade? 3 installed packages are no longer supported by Canonical. You can still get support from the community. 3 packages are going to be removed. 121 new packages are going to be installed. 349 packages are going to be upgraded. You have to download a total of 263 M. This download will take about 33 minutes with a 1Mbit DSL connection and about 10 hours with a 56k modem. Fetching and installing the upgrade can take several hours. Once the download has finished, the process cannot be canceled. You will need to type YN to continue upgrading. The installation will take some time to complete. You may see some prompts during the upgrade that will require your interaction so plan on staying near your terminal. The installation will take some time to complete. You may see some prompts during the upgrade that will require your interaction so plan on staying near your terminal. You may see a prompt like the one above. The prompt is informing me that a new version of a file is available, but the version currently installed on the server has been locally modified. You will have to choose whether you want to install the new version of the file and overwrite the changes, keep the currently installed version, or merge the files. There isn’t a correct choice, and you just need to choose which option is the best for you. Searching for obsolete software Reading state information... Done Remove obsolete packages? 38 packages are going to be removed. Continue [yN] Details [d] Type YN into your terminal to remove the packages and continue upgrading. After the upgrade is complete, a restart will be required. You will be logged out during the restart, and you will need to log back in to confirm the upgrade was successful. To check what version of Ubuntu is currently installed use the command below. lsb_release -a Use the lsb_release -a command to check what version of Ubuntu is currently installed. We did it, our upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 was successful. Q: Do you know what is secure, up to 200% faster than AWS, RackSpace, and Digital Ocean comes and has built-in backups? A: Liquid Web Cloud VPS! Our Managed VPS servers line is the ideal solution for clients who require the control of a dedicated server matched with the affordable features of a VPS. Take a look at everything the fastest VPS has to offer.  
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