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How to Upgrade from Debian 10 to Debian 11

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Debian has recently released their new version named Debian Bullseye which took developers 2 years, 1 month, and 9 days for testing and development. Debian 11 is bundled with many exciting upgrades if you want to upgrade Debian 10 to 11, you can follow this guide.

But before going into the procedure of how to update Debian 10, we would like to share some reasons why you should update your Debian 10 to 11.

Why you should Update Debian 10 to 11?

Debian has always been the most stable Linux distro in the market and the major reason behind this is the developers Debian has always prioritized stability over the latest software and this is the reason why you won’t see them publish new releases every year.

If you are getting a new version of Debian, you should update as per our opinion as Debian uses software and tools that are quite behind the latest release so it gives us chance to use bit newer packages, which won’t be the latest but quite newer than Debian 10.

Below is the given list of updated packages in Debian 11 compared to Debian 10:

  • Apache from 2.4.38 to 2.4.48
  • BIND DNS Server from 9.11 to 9.16
  • Cryptsetup from 2.1to 2.3
  • Dovecot MTA from 2.3. to 2.3.13
  • Emacs from 26.1 to 27.1
  • Exim default e-mail server from 4.92 to 4.94
  • GNU Compiler Collection as default compiler from 8.3 to 10.2
  • GIMP from 2.10.8 to 2.10.22
  • GnuPG from 2.2.12 to 2.2.27
  • Inkscape from 0.92.4 to 1.0.2
  • The GNU C library from 2.28 to 2.31
  • lighttpd from 1.4.53 to 1.4.59
  • Linux kernel image from 4.19 series to 5.10 series
  • LLVM/Clang toolchain from 6.0.1 and 7.0.1 (default) to 9.0.1 and 11.0.1 (default)
  • MariaDB from 10.3 to 10.5
  • Nginx from 1.14 to 1.18
  • OpenSSH from 7.9p1 to 8.4p1
  • Perl from 5.28 to 5.32
  • PHP from 7.3 to 7.4
  • Postfix MTA from 3.4 to 3.5
  • PostgreSQL from 11 to 13
  • Python 3 from 3.7.3 to 3.9.1
  • Rustc from 1.41 (1.34 for armel) to 1.48
  • Samba from 4.9 to 4.13
  • Vim from 8.1 to 8.2

The above software is just the tip of the iceberg and the reason why we mentioned them is they are one of the most used tools on Debian. The majority of them can be directly downloaded from Debian’s repository and you are required to update from Debian 10 to 11 to use what Debian 11 has to offer.

The new release of Debian 11 consists of a total of 11,294 new packages with a total count of 59,551 packages. They have also removed 9,519 packages as they were marked as “obsolete”.

A total of 42,821 packages were updated and 5,434 packages remained unchanged so if these reasons are enough for you to update from Debian 10 to 11, let’s start our process for upgradation.

Upgrading from Debian 10 to 11

We highly suggest you backup your important files as things might get wrong and crash in between the process of upgradation. You are required to have an active internet connection to follow the given steps.

Once you are ready, you can start the process by following the given steps:

Step 1: Updating the Currently Installed Debian 10

Users of Debian 10 need to update all the currently installed repositories as we are going to upgrade from Debian 10 to 11. Use the following command to update repositories:

 sudo apt update 

1. sudo apt update

Source: Networking Guruji

After updating repositories, let’s update packages (if any) by the following command:

 sudo apt upgrade 

1.1 sudo apt upgrade

Source: Networking Guruji

Step 2: Installing GCC Base Packages

GCC stands for GNU Compiler Collection which is a collection of open-source compilers and libraries that supports C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Ada, Go, and D programming languages. As we are going to install new packages, having GCC for compilation is essential.

To install GCC, use the following command:

 sudo apt install gcc-8-base 

2. sudo apt install gcc-8-base

Source: Networking Guruji

Hit Enter when you are asked with file size for GCC installation and it will start installing GCC.

Step 3: Adding Debian 11 Repositories in Configuration File

You can not just upgrade from Debian 10 to 11 using sudo apt upgrade as it will only update packages that are in Debian 10’s default repository. To download and install Debian 11, we are required to add specific repositories.

As we want to make changes to the configuration file, open it with the following command:

 sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list 

2.1 sudo nano

Source: Networking Guruji

And it will open the configuration file as below:

2.2 config file

Source: Networking Guruji

Now, you will have to add the following repositories in the recently opened configuration file:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye main contrib non-free

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye-updates main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/debian-sec… bullseye-security main

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian bullseye-backports main contrib non-free

2.3 edited config file

Source: Networking Guruji

Once you are done with inserting repositories, you will have to use CTRL + O to save changes and CTRL + X to close the configuration file.

Step 4: Updating Repositories

Once we are done with adding repositories of Debian 11, we will have to update our repositories so that we can have newer packages to download. We are going to use the following command to update our repositories:

 sudo apt update 

3. sudo apt update with 1300+ packages to update

Source: Networking Guruji

Step 5: Upgrading the system

As you can see 1300+ packages can be updated. To update them, use the following command:

 sudo apt full upgrade 

3. sudo apt full-upgrade

Source: Networking Guruji

It will give you the size of packages and the number of packages. Hit Enter or “y + Enter” to start the process of upgradation.

You will be given News about app-list changes

3.1 news for update

Source: Networking Guruji

Hit Enter multiple times till you see “press q to quit”. Press q and it will start the process of updation again.

3.2 press q to quite

Source: Networking Guruji

You will be given notice for configuring the list of services.

3.3 notice

Source: Networking Guruji

Press ESC as we want to make things easy to understand and want to accept defaults. It will open another prompt asking whether we want to restart services during package upgrades without asking or not. As we are going with defaults, select Yes and hit Enter.

3.4 select Yes in notice

Source: Networking Guruji

It will complete the process of downloading new packages and installing them without any intervention from the user.

Step 6: Rebooting into Newly Installed Debian 11

Once we are done with updating repositories and downloading newer packages, now it’s time to boot into our newly installed system. Yes Debian 11 is installed and now we can easily boot into it by using the following command:

 sudo reboot 

4. sudo reboot

Source: Networking Guruji

The first thing that you will notice is the new version of GRUB is installed.

4.1 new GRUB

Source: Networking Guruji

Now let’s check the kernel version and Debian version by using the following command:


4.2 neofetch

Source: Networking Guruji

As you can see, Kernel and Debian are upgraded without any errors.

Frequently asked questions related to Debian upgrades

Is it safe to upgrade Debian?

Yes, installing the new version of Debian has never been considered a risk. But if you want extra safety, you can backup your data to avoid unknown failures and crashes.

Can you upgrade Debian?

Once the new version of Debian is released you can easily upgrade it without any issues.

Is Debian 11 stable?

Yes, Each iteration of the Debian release is rock-solid you do not have to worry about its stability as stability is the primary focus of this project and is considered the most stable Linux distribution.

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As Debian 11 has been recently released and we recommend you to upgrade Debian 10 to 11 as it is bundled with new packages. By following the given guide, you can easily upgrade to Debian 11.

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Sagar Sharma
Sagar Sharma

Sagar always uses Linux to its core and loves to write the technical side of system administration! While he's not writing for GeniusGeeks, you can find him writing for core linux blogs like IT'SFOSS.com and LinuxHandBook.com

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