Impossible to Update Virtualmin

Operating system: Ubuntu 18.04

My Webmin dashboard showed that the virtualmin versions was out of date (red). There was no option to update the version from within webmin. Some documentation show a screenshot with “Update Virtualmin Package”, but not on my system.
I finally found these instructions on the virtualmin forum below, but the version went down instead of updating to the latest version! Now the whole virtualmin configuration is lost, the menu is completely empty!! I had about 15 virtual servers set up (they still seem to work for now).
My question:
What is the command line instruction to update virtualmin to the latest version?
dpkg -l webmin-virtual-server=dpkg-query: no packages found matching webmin-virtual-server

Instructions that created the mess on my system:

Virtualmin was installed from webmin

  1. Log in to webmin and go to the home screen.
  2. Click on ‘webmin’ in the menu in the top left corner to expand the ‘webmin’ menu.
  3. Click on ‘Webmin Configuration’.
  4. Click on the ‘Webmin Modules’
  5. Check the radio button labeled ‘From ftp or http URL’ .
  6. Paste the link in the corresponding text field and click ‘Install Module’.

  1. Click ‘Install Module” button.

Thanks for your help!

Why would you do that!?!?! That is obviously an ancient post (version 3.922 was released about 10 years ago, before Ubuntu 18.04 even existed), and applies to a system installation completely unlike anything a modern user should ever have, and that has literally never been a recommended installation method.

Don’t ever do this on a system installed in the recommended way (using our install script that installs everything from packages). Intermingling proper deb or rpm packages with wbm tarballs is not safe or recommended.

How did you originally install Virtualmin? Did you use the install script found on our website? (Downloading and Installing Virtualmin | Virtualmin)

Anyway, before you make any other changes, you need to backup your system (in particular /etc and /var). Things may get ugly. If you uninstalled the virtualmin deb package, it may have deleted the Virtualmin configuration directories which store all the metadata about your domains, users, etc. If it’s been deleted, and you don’t have backups, there is no way to recover that data automatically. You can re-import those domains back into Virtualmin, but you’ll have to manually reconfigure whatever changes you’d made from defaults.

The recommended way to update to the latest version is always to use your system package manager. Our repos are setup for you when you install Virtualmin using the install script.

Note that if you did not use the install script to install your system, it is not safe to run it now. Once your system is in production you can’t safely install Virtualmin over top of it, especially if it was not installed using our packages from our repos.

So, I guess to move forward we need to hash out exactly what you did to get there.

Did you really downgrade to Virtualmin version 3.922? If so, you may be able to just upgrade back to a modern version (6.14 is the current version). If you installed using the install script, you want to get back to a packaged version; you should never even look at a wbm if you have good package management on your system (you do, apt+dpkg is fine).

If you didn’t install Virtualmin originally using the install script, may gods have mercy on your soul. I probably can’t even begin to help because I have no idea what your system looks like.

Hey Joe,
It was hard for me as a non-linux person to even get this far, believe me. I had followed these instructions some time back to get it installed:

apt list –installed shows:
webmin/stable,stable,now 1.970 all [installed]
but no entry of virtualmin

Today I only followed the steps above (1-7) since it seemed the easiest from within Webmin. On the original Virtualmin Documentation page (seems to be an older help system), you could not read the full URL, otherwise I would have been suspicious…). I was looking for a newer package from to do the same thing again with a newer version, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

I hope you can help me. The websites I had setup in still work, but under virtualmin (gui) everything is gone, no virtual servers are listed anymore.

The fix must be as simple as running the following commands:

apt-get install ./webmin-virtual-server_6.14.gpl_all.deb

… and reloading the browser’s page.

As Joe mentioned, please backup /etc directory at least prior any updates. However, you could have etckeeper installed and if so all configuration should be already backed up.

After the above done, come back to us, we’ll help you to fix the repos, so automatic updates works.

By the way, always pay attention what version you are trying to upgrade from and to and from which source.

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“must” is a strong word for the situation we’re in here.

If the config files have been deleted, which would explain the missing domains in the UI, OP will need to import the domains and possibly reconfigure them.

Probably but less likely, as he installed it with wbm.gz package. Besides apt doesn’t delete configuration directory unless purge param is used. I really expect OP to fix it without any further problems.

Paste the link in the corresponding text field and click ‘Install Module’ –

@JamieCameron It’s probably not a bad thing to have old versions available for a reference but it should be placed outside of the main repo, so it would be more difficult for a user to install an outdated version.

If we’re asking @JamieCameron to do something, updating the Webmin site to be (much) more emphatic about going to the download page for Virtualmin installation instructions is a more urgently needed change. OP would have never been in this situation if it’d been installed using the recommended method.


You’re the BEST. Your 2 commands fixed the issue:

I’m back online, all my virtual hosts are available again in the drop down menu, everything seem like normal.
Webmin shows Virtualmin version 6.14, nothing is red, seems like I’m up to date :slight_smile: -)

What is my system missing so I can update Virtualmin through the Webmin user interface in the future? Some tutorials mention, there is an update button next to the red out of date version. I did not get that…

Thanks again to both of you guys for your awesome help!!!


1 Like

I literally spend 2 hours trying to find instructions on how to update Virtualmin on Ubuntu 18.04. I got all sorts instructions and look where I ended up… There should be a point called Update Virtualmin in the documentation, so others don’t go through the same problem. Thanks again!!

Updating is obvious if you installed using the install script. It’s right in the UI; there will be several buttons in several places to allow you to click to update.

To be clear: You’re in a place you shouldn’t be. I’m sorry the Webmin website led you there. I’ll try to prioritize getting a new Webmin site online that doesn’t have super outdated information on it.

We are very glad it’s working for you!

What is my system missing so I can update Virtualmin through the Webmin user interface in the future?

What is the output of :

cat /etc/apt/sources.list
cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualmin.list

stadeli@server1:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 18.04 LTS _Bionic Beaver_ - Release amd64 (20180426)]/ bionic main restricted

# See for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb bionic main restricted
# deb-src bionic main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb bionic-updates main restricted
# deb-src bionic-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb bionic universe
 deb-src bionic universe
deb bionic-updates universe
 deb-src bionic-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb bionic multiverse
# deb-src bionic multiverse
deb bionic-updates multiverse
# deb-src bionic-updates multiverse

## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb bionic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src bionic-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
# deb bionic partner
# deb-src bionic partner

deb bionic-security main restricted
# deb-src bionic-security main restricted
deb bionic-security universe
 deb-src bionic-security universe
deb bionic-security multiverse
# deb-src bionic-security multiverse

deb sarge contrib

stadeli@server1:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualmin.list

cat: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualmin.list: No such file or directory

Okay, great – the fix for you would be is to download our official install script and run it with the special param to setup repos only and exit:

sh -s

That would be it.

[SUCCESS] Repository configuration successful. You can now install Virtualmin
[SUCCESS] components using your OS package manager.
stadeli@server1:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualmin.list
deb virtualmin-bionic main
deb virtualmin-universal main

I can’t see any update section for Virtualmin in Webmin. Where do I have to look?

Hi @dastadeli, @Ilia,

It might be worth pointing out there in no package candidate in the official Ubuntu 18.04 repos’.
Therefore you must add the virtualmin repo manually if you haven’t already as @Ilia rightly demonstrated how to check, and his instruction for adding the virtualmin repos.

In the OP’s case it might be worth mentioning the importance of inclusion of the -s option when running the install script especially on a production system.

It’s possibly a point to mention again how IMPORTANT it is to obtain a FULL SYSTEM BACKUP before implementing any updates or changes on a production system. There seems to be a regular stream of posters that are lamenting the fact ‘something went wrong’ on their production systems, and how woe is theirs as they don’t have a backup. How can so many people be running production environments without backups?

Better still spin up a clone and CHECK any changes or upgrades will go as expected first, before backing up a production server and running the changes or upgrades there.

Many tutorials simply don’t work since there are so many different linux distributions out there, every system is a little different somehow. A guide on how to create a backup in webmin from A to Z would be highly appreciated. (incl. mounting an external USB drive, or cloud backup, whatever options are available). Many tutorials on virtualmin assume pre-existing knowledge that isn’t there. We are web designers or IT support people, we are not 40 hours/week dedicated to linux systems like you guys…
I do appreciate the speed and professionalism with which Joe and Ilia replied to this cry for help!!! I’m stunned! Thanks again for everything to your team!

Hi @dastadeli,

This is an important point regarding backups which are critical in ‘Production’ environments. This is why one of the fundamental understandings of any sysadmin (be it press-ganged or professional it to create a reliable and robust backup environment, and then test it, before anything else. No-one builds a luxury home then installs the fire system and security months or years down the line).

It all about building blocks, start where you’re comfortable and build on it. If you get stuck, do your research and troubleshooting (no-one wants to help someone who can’t be bothered to help themselves), and if you are still stumped, come to the forums. That’s why they are here, to promote Virtualmin / Webmin (which is a fantastic panel) and Linux. The vast majority of people here want you to succeed with Virtualmin and are happy to help.

As for backup guides you quite right there are hundreds and you’ll need to detail what your current use case and budget for backup. A budget for backup in a production environment isn’t a trick question and if the answer is £0 / $0 then people really shouldn’t be running any type of servers in a production environment. You can get a great backup environment setup under AWS-S3 compatible systems for under £6 per month. But it all depends… how much data, how much ingress / egress. What is your retention requirement etc, etc?

Getting these things right requires time and effort. But it is less time consuming and stressful that trying to deal with a problem at the same time.

There is no way to put a racing saddle on a donkey and think it will win the Arc-de-triumph. You have to start with the right material from the start, then put in effort and money.

A good place to start with backup is using Virtualmins S3 (any S3 compatible should be fine, we use backup. They all come with great documentation, but you’ll need to also understand IAM, more reading.

Get yourself a cheap development enviroment to ‘play around’ try AWS for Lightsail or EC2 (you pay by the hour or second depending) but they give you 750 hours free to start with. Spin it up, play, create snapshot, delete instance. Next time, restore instance, carry on playing, create snapshot, delete instance ad-infinitum.

The another option is to simply pay a sysadmin to do what you need, they have invested an unbelievable number of hours at getting good at what they do, leaving you free to do what you do best. It’s why I pay an accountant! - he pays for himself in what he saves in time and money.

Possibly the best option if you’re in a production environment, is to go for a Virtualmin pro subscription starting at $6 per month (10 domains) it’s a bargin!! That’s with premium support: Buy Virtualmin Professional | Virtualmin

I really hope you’ll stick with linux and virtualmin and if you’re truly stuck we are all here to help each other… we all get stuck sometime and need a helping hand.

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Thank you for your wise words. You are right of course, this is what I tell my clients as well: backup, backup, backup… I hired a Linux specialist not so long ago on fiverr with excellent reviews to take a deep look at my backup system and do some other things in Virtualmin. I ended up overpaying the guy but then having to redo the whole server from zero again…

I will have to give it another try to find someone to make sure my server’s backups really works and that there is an easy way to restore the system in case of an emergency. I use this server for my development sites, I have 2 domains with 20+ subdomains, which I use for different stages of my projects, testing, giving access to third party support, etc. I download plenty of backups from the dev sites to my local PC every couple hour, so my work is not lost. Not very efficient I guess.
I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with Amazon, but Wasai sounds interesting. What would be the Virtualmin Pro support’s willingness to help in this area? If it’s setting up something new (backup system), rather than fixing a problem?

@Joe - I can just update the docs at Webmin to remove or hide all the stuff about installing manually.