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Install Debian 11 (Bullseye) Minimal Server

How to install a Debian 11 "Bullseye" server. Minimal setup with no GUI and with a minimum of packages installed.

In most production environments, you want to build a server without a GUI. And with a minimum of packages installed, this means that your server uses less memory and CPU resources and has fewer packages to update/maintain, which also improves security by reducing the software "attack surface".

Download Debian

Download the latest DVD amd64 (64-bit) ISO image for Debian

Debian on CDs/DVDs


Start Debian Installation

Attach the Debian ISO to the virtual machine

Power on the VM and connect to the console, the Debian installer will start.


Select Language and Keyboard Layout

Select a language - English

Select your location - United Kingdom

Configure the keyboard - British English

Configure Server Hostname

Configure the network - enter the server hostname
e.g. web-server

Domain name - leave blank

Set up User Accounts

Set root password and save it in your password manager

Verify root password

Set up users and passwords - create another admin user account

"Root is your Spiderman costume. It gives you great power but requires great responsibility. It's there in the closet whenever you need it, so you don't have to wear it all the time."

Username for your account

Set a password for the new user

Verify password

Partition Disks

Partition disks
Guided - use entire disk

In this example, we are creating a single partition that uses the entire disk.


Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide
C.3. Recommended Partitioning Scheme

Press [Enter] to select the virtual hard disk

Partition disks - All files in one partition (recommended for new users)

Finish partitioning and write changes to disk

Write the changes to disks - Yes

Configure Package Manager

Scan extra installation media - No

Use a network mirror - Yes

Select country for mirror

Debian archive mirror - deb.debian.org

The deb.debian.org mirror is backed by a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) that will connect you to the repository that is closest to your geographic/network location.


This page quickly explain what is ftp.debian.org, and provides some resources.

HTTP proxy - leave blank (unless you are using a web proxy on your network)

Participate in the package usage survey - No

Install Packages

Software selection

Select these packages for a minimal server installation with no GUI:
  • SSH server
  • Standard system utilities

Install the GRUB boot loader

Install the GRUB boot loader to your primary drive - Yes

Device for bootloader installation - select the hard drive /dev/sda

Finish Installation

Finish the installation - Continue

Install Useful Administration Utilities

These are some useful admin utilities that are not included in the Debian "standard system utilities" package.

apt-get install sudo curl unzip git


Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide

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Saturday, 23 September 2023
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