// Tutorial //

How To Install R on Ubuntu 18.04 [Quickstart]

Published on July 16, 2018 · Updated on May 14, 2020
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By Lisa Tagliaferri
Developer and author at DigitalOcean.
How To Install R on Ubuntu 18.04 [Quickstart]


R is an open-source programming language that specializes in statistical computing and graphics. In this tutorial, we will install R on an Ubuntu 18.04 server.

For a more detailed version of this tutorial, with better explanations of each step, please refer to How To Install R on Ubuntu 18.04.

Step 1 — Add GPG Key

Logged into your Ubuntu 18.04 server as a sudo non-root user, add the relevant GPG key.

  1. sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9

Step 2 — Add the R Repository

  1. sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://cloud.r-project.org/bin/linux/ubuntu bionic-cran40/'

If you’re not using 18.04, find the relevant repository from the R Project Ubuntu list, named for each release.

Step 3 — Update Package Lists

  1. sudo apt update

Step 4 — Install R

  1. sudo apt install r-base

If prompted to confirm installation, press y to continue.

Step 5 — Test Install

Start R’s interactive shell as root.

  1. sudo -i R

You should receive output similar to the following:

R version 4.0.0 (2020-04-24) -- "Arbor Day" Copyright (C) 2020 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit) ... Type 'demo()' for some demos, 'help()' for on-line help, or 'help.start()' for an HTML browser interface to help. Type 'q()' to quit R. >

This confirms that we’ve successfully installed R and entered its interactive shell.

Here are links to more detailed tutorials that are related to this guide:

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About the authors
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Developer and author at DigitalOcean.

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Was this helpful?

Thanks for sharing this! I’ve tried several solutions found online, and yours is the one works. A lot of solutions I found didn’t set up step 1 and 2 correctly.

The first step is not working what do I do about the GPG Key

I am using Windows WSL Ubuntu 18.04 and I am getting this an error when running

sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://cloud.r-project.org/bin/linux/ubuntu bionic-cran35/'

which is

Err:8 http://cran.rstudio.com/bin/linux/ubuntu bionic/ Release
  404  Not Found [IP: 80]
Err:9 https://cloud.r-project.org/bin/linux/ubuntu bionic-cran36/ Release
  404  Not Found [IP: 443]

This can occurr in any of the Get’s eg. in this run it occurs in Err 8 & Err 9 but last time it was 5 & 6. Any ideas?

Thank you Lisa. Once I realised the ‘relevant GPG key’ wasn’t a key unique to me I was happy :)

Thank you for thus step by step. It was really helpful.

Hi Lisa… Thanks for the post. Please i would like to know the significance of first 2 steps. i am using Ubuntu 19.04 and i just performed the 4rth step alone and got it installed by skipping the rest.