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How to Upgrade Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04

Don't upgrade unless you need to!

Operating system upgrades are risky. If something goes wrong during the update, your entire server and all of your data on it may be lost.

Ubuntu 14.04 reaches its end of support in 2019, so using a more current version is advisable. Rather than update the operating system in place, it is a much better idea to create a new server on the correct version of Ubuntu and then migrate your data. In 2018, we launched a service to make migrations easier: DataShuttle. If you have any questions about that service, please get in touch with their support.
Do not attempt to upgrade to 16.04 if your server has less than 1GB of memory.

If you have a server with 512MB of memory, you should resize your server to 1GB before upgrading. You can resize back down to 512MB after the upgrade is complete.

Attempting to upgrade a server with less than 1GB of memory may result in database corruption.

Preparing to Upgrade

Important: Take a server snapshot at your provider before upgrading.

Once you've taken a snapshot of your server, SSH in to your server as root and run the following commands to make sure your server is ready to be upgraded to a new version of Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo dpkg --configure -a

If any of the above commands fail or print error messages, do not proceed with upgrading to a newer Ubuntu version.

Next, run the following command to remove any conflicting apache2 packages in case you ever accidentally installed them while customizing your server:

sudo apt-get remove apache2 apache2-bin apache2-data

Performing the Upgrade

All of the apps on your server will be down during the upgrade. Depending on your server's network connection and hardware, the upgrade may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

To upgrade your Ubuntu 14.04 server to Ubuntu 16.04, SSH in to your server as root and run the following command:

sudo do-release-upgrade -f DistUpgradeViewNonInteractive

If the upgrade completes without errors, take a new snapshot of your server so you'll have a snapshot of the server after the upgrade.

If the upgrade fails or encounters any errors, restore your server to the snapshot you made before you began the upgrade.


Last updated: April 02, 2019

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