Ubuntu 18.04 Minimal Server Install.

This post will, quickly, run through how to create an Ubuntu 18.04 Minimal Server Install. It also only takes a short time, taking between 5 to 15 minutes to install depending on your hardware and the number of times you have run through it. I find it an ideal way to try out and learn how to install Ubuntu in various configurations. I build these test machines as virtual machines running on Virtualbox as this allows me to throw it away without messing about with real hardware.

The virtualbox configuration I will be using is:

  • Type: Linux
  • Version: Ubuntu (64-bit)
  • Memory Size: 1Gb
  • Hard disk: 25Gb Dynamic
  • Processor: 2
  • Network: Bridged Adaptor
  • Boot Source: ubuntu-18.04-live-server-amd.iso

I use an Ubuntu 18.04 minimal server install as the basis of nearly all my guides as that is where I start from for the majority of my own installs when testing things out.

We will then have a known starting place and a good foundation when playing around with different installation types. It is generally simple to add extra functionality and services to them. I start with a disk of 25Gb even though this install will only take 5-7Gb. We will then have room on the disk to add other functionality without spending time enlarging the disk.

The first thing to notice is the new shiny interface when installing Ubuntu 18.04. They have made some improvements to the old interface. Now common data are collected on one screen rather than multiple screens, making the install process quicker an a little easier to understand the first few times through. Once you have installed it a few times you will wonder why you needed this blog post at all :).

The first screen is asking for the language of your new server will be using and the language that will be used through out the install process.

Input preferred language

The next screen is for keyboard selection, I just changed the Layout to English (UK), and left it at that. I did not need to use the Identify keyboard option.

Indentify Keyboard

We will be installing to a local machine not a cloud, so only one choice here.

Where to install

Configuring the network cards is next. The IP address is taken from the local DHCP server. If you want to use a static IP address highlight the line for the NIC you want to change and you will get a sub screen where you can enter the data you require.

Network Connections

If you use a proxy to get out to the Internet add the details on this screen. If you do not just leave it blank.

Configure Proxy

Configuring the file system, the partition format of your disk. If you want to customize the disk partition here is your chance, I’m going to use the entire disk and all the defaults, as this is a virtual machine.

Filesystem setup

Choose the disk where you will be installing this server. We only have one choice here.

Choose Disk

Next you get shown a summary of the file system. This is the partition information that will be written to the disk or disks you are installing to.

Filesystem summary

The usual confirmation, Are you really sure, screen 🙂 Once the install starts off any existing data will be lost forever, no trash can.

Are you sure?

Now we can enter the name of our first user on the system. This user will have sudo access. The name of the new server is also setup here.

Profile Setup

That’s all the questions asked, now you see a basic log of what has been configured or installed.

Install summary log

You can also watch the full log run past if you are that way inclined.

Install complete

This only takes a few minutes before completing.

Install complete reboot

Once rebooted you can update ALL the software with the usual commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

The update will be pretty quick less than 5 minutes in all and it will update all the software to the latest in one go. There is No multiple checking and installing, configuring and rebooting.

That is all there is to a Minimal Server Install. It should use about 5-7GB of the 25GB storage we allocated on the virtual machine. This is far quicker and simpler than installing Microsoft Windows. Windows can take hours to do the initial update 🙁

On server you will build-essential as this will allow you to add the Virtual Box guest tools. Openssh-server should already be installed by default.

sudo apt-get install build-essential

This is a very basic server install. From here you can add packages to make it anything you want. Webserver, mailserver, DNS & DHCP server or even a desktop machine.

Adding MATE

If you would like to convert this minimal server into a desktop with MATE windows manager. Install the packages below. This is a minimal installation of MATE and so does not include many apps. This is a good starting point for your own custom installation.

sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter \
                     update-manager

Once that is finished you can reboot and you will be presented with a graphical login prompt.

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