How To Check Ubuntu Version

Check Ubuntu Version

In this tutorial, we will show you how to check the Ubuntu version from the command line. As a system administrator, the first question you should ask yourself after getting a new Ubuntu server to manage is what version of Ubuntu am I running? The version of the operating system in use on our server is important as it is critical that we have all the latest updates to ensure that the server is secure. There are a few ways to check your VPS hosting is using what version of Ubuntu. With the commands below you can choose one of them to find out which Ubuntu version is running on your system.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step check Ubuntu version.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Check Ubuntu Version

There are several ways on how to check what version of Ubuntu is running on your system. Below you can find multiple examples on how to determine the Ubuntu version.

The first place to look for the Ubuntu version is to look inside /etc/issue the file. From terminal run command:

$ cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu Focal Fossa \n \l

To obtain a Ubuntu release number check content of /etc/lsb-release file:

$ cat /etc/lsb-release 

Additional information regarding the Ubuntu version can be found within /etc/os-release:

$ cat /etc/os-release 
VERSION="20.04 (Focal Fossa)"
PRETTY_NAME="Ubuntu 20.04"

Furthermore, the following command will provide you with a neat output of your current Ubuntu version:

$ lsb_release -da
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu Xenial Xerus (development branch)
Release:    20.04
Codename:   Focal Fossa

For more information on Ubuntu, releases visit the Ubuntu Releases page.

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