How do I upgrade a droplet's ubuntu distribution?

Posted October 14, 2013 16.9k views
My google-fu is failing me; how do I upgrade a droplet's ubuntu distribution? For instance, if I start a 13.04 droplet, how do I upgrade it to a 13.10 droplet when it comes out? Or given current releases, if I had a 12.10 droplet, how would I upgrade it to a 13.04 droplet? I know I have to select the kernel somewhere, but I'm not sure where that is in the process. If it's not easy to upgrade a droplet's distribution version number, I might just stick with 12.04 for now for the long term support; ubuntu's support window for intermediate releases is fairly narrow.

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8 answers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
There may be other ways, but the only way that I know of is within your DigitalOcean control panel:

1.) Click on the link to the droplet you want to upgrade;
2.) In the Destroy tab, there's an option to Rebuild your droplet with a different image.

But, be advised that all data on your droplet will be lost.
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade was *not* sufficient to upgrade 12.10 to 13.04 from the command line. It didn't pick up the new release.

This, however, worked for me in my test:

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
sudo do-release-upgrade
droplet -> settings -> kernel -> choose kernel for 13.04

lsb_release -a shows that it's now upgraded to 13.04
uname -a shows the selected kernel

Hope that helps someone with the same question, if it wasn't already answered before
The kernel is managed through the control panel so you would need to click on the "settings" tab of your specific droplet and select a kernel there. Then power off from the command line and boot the server and the new kernel that you selected will be activated.
Oliver: Right, I've run sudo apt-get dist-upgrade on my desktop ubuntu installs before, but this is my first VPS. I was just curious how upgrading distributions is handled since the kernel comes from the hypervisor (I noticed upgrading the kernel in the droplet has no effect). So is the order:

1. sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
2. power off
3. select new kernel (whenever digitalocean updates to 13.10's kernel)
4. power on

I suppose I could test the process using 12.10 -> 13.04 to see if everything goes smoothly. And if that works then I know I can safely transition from 13.04 to 13.10 in a few weeks.

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when I use do-release-upgrade
it says that
"no new release found"

I'm on 12.04
@panicz.klos: That's because you're running an LTS version of Ubuntu which is the latest LTS version at this time. Check out
  • Doesn’t help at all. I too am getting ‘no new release found’ and there are no instructions for getting that resolved on that note now (it has also had the sample sources.list attachment removed). Any ideas what the next step is? I’m trying to upgrade my Wordpress network on 12.10, as the bash vulnerability instructions don’t work on 12.10…