Ubuntu Maintenance Automation: Update, Upgrade, Clean and Reboot

Learn how to set up a Ubuntu maintenance task using CORN jobs to schedule repository updates, distribution upgrade, autoclean, autoremove, and reboot cloud.

A primary job of the webmaster or server administrator is to keep the online server healthy, running and up to date. While the Ubuntu maintenance task seems to be easy, but technically it’s become difficult with more hacking, data breach and theft these days.

One of the major reasons is the out-dated software program. Hence, it’s very important to keep the server updated with all the security patch releases and the latest version.

In this article, we are going to learn different command lines that help in maintaining the Ubuntu cloud server. We will learn how to update, upgrade and clean up the old obsolete files. We are also going to automate these tasks using CRON jobs.

Also, if you’re following us, this is the twelveth article and video tutorial in the #CloudServer series. We earlier published about DigitalOcean Droplet Backups and Snapshot.

Let’s get started with Ubuntu maintenance and automation —

Ubuntu Maintenance Task using Command Line

Some of the basic maintenance task that a server administrator performs is upgrading and cleaning up the old files. You can use the below commands via your SSH login to run and perform maintenance of the Ubuntu cloud server.

Update the apt repository using below CLI command:

sudo apt-get update

Upgrade the Ubuntu Server Distribution using below command:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

Ubuntu Cloud Server Update and Upgrade

Upgrade entire Ubuntu Server using below command:

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Remove the older Ubuntu upgraded system files using below command

sudo apt-get autoremove

Clean the obsolete Ubuntu server files using below command:

sudo apt-get autoclean

Ubuntu Maintenance and Clean up Commands

Reboot Ubuntu cloud server using below command:


There is no harm in running these commands multiple times in a day except rebooting. However, it’s recommended to perform upgrades and cleanups at least once a week. Especially the security upgrades that keep the server healthy.

Automating Ubuntu Maintenance using CRONTAB

The command lines previous need to be manually executed via SSH. This could be easily eliminated using CRON job automation.

Basically, we will set up a rule that will tell the Ubuntu cloud server when to execute a set of pre-defined commands. This commands basically update, upgrade and also clean and remove the old

Ubuntu server files and replace them with the newest version.

Let’s get started with the automation —

Login into your Cloud Server SSH client and edit the crontab file using below command:

sudo nano /etc/crontab

Insert the below Ubuntu maintenance after all other existing rules. This will execute the CRON job at the set daily interval at 0425 server time.

25 4 * * * root sudo – sh -c 'apt-get update; apt-get upgrade -y; apt-get dist-upgrade -y; apt-get autoremove -y; apt-get autoclean -y'

Ubuntu maintenance automation using CRONTAB

The above CRON job rule can be translated as below:

m h dom mon dow user command
minute hour dayOfMonth Month dayOfWeek userToRun commandToRun

You can even customize the Ubuntu maintenance automation as per your needs and timings. I analyzed my Google Analytics audience report to understand the lowest traffic point hence setup the CRON job to run the task at 0425 hours every day.

Once you’ve added the above rule to crontab file, do not forget to reboot the cloud server using below command:


Scheduling Weekly Server Reboot (Optional)

The Ubuntu cloud server is pretty powerful and does not require frequent reboots. However, it is a good idea to reboot the server once in a week or at least whenever you notice the alert saying *** system reboot required *** after login into SSH client.

You can even automate the periodical reboot using the CRON jobs. All you need is to add the following snippet in the crontab file for a weekly reboot on Sunday at 0525 hours server time.

25 5 * * 1 root sudo reboot

I personally reboot once in while when notice the aforementioned alert, however as a system administrator you can schedule the reboot automation using the above rule in a /etc/crontab file.

You can even customize the time and frequency per needs. Also, I do not suggest to reboot the Ubuntu server every day, unless if required, to maintain the smooth functioning.

Watch Ubuntu Maintenance Tutorial

Watch the complete video tutorial about Ubuntu Cloud Server maintenance and it’s automation. It’s important to keep your server up to date and healthy.

Ubuntu Cloud Server Maintenance Automation: update, upgrade, cleanup

I hope you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.

What’s next in the #CloudServer Series?

We have learned how to maintain the Ubuntu Cloud Server in the long run. And also automating the basic maintenance task using the CRON jobs feature.

Next, we are going to touch base upon the Ubuntu error logs and getting support for the resolution of any issue with Cloud Server.

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