Preparing for Ubuntu Focal


The following provides information to help you prepare your site for the Ubuntu upgrade from Debian Stretch or Debian Buster to version 20.04.3 LTS (aka Focal).

This upgrade does not affect DreamPress instances.

What to expect

DreamHost will contact you via email in advance of the upgrade.

The time frame of an upgrade can vary from server to server, however, the timing ensures that there are several highly trained engineers on hand should any major issues arise. The upgrade itself should take no longer than an hour to complete.

Any services that rely on the availability of your MySQL server (WordPress or any other database-driven websites, applications, and so on) will not be reachable until the upgrade is complete. This will NOT affect cloud or email services.

Checking the version of Ubuntu

As mentioned above, you will receive an email notifying you of your server's upgrade. However, you can manually check via SSH.

The following command confirms the server is still running Ubuntu 14:

[server]$ cat /etc/issue
Debian GNU/Linux 10 \n \l

And this shows a server running Ubuntu 18:

[server]$ cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS \n \l

DNS change

If you are using DreamHost's nameservers, no work is needed; the DNS changes will happen automatically. If you are managing your DNS through an external DNS provider (such as Cloudflare), you will need to update your DNS records within one week of the upgrade completion notice.


DreamHost MySQL servers will be upgraded to MySQL version 8 as part of the Ubuntu upgrade.

See the following article for more information on MySQL 8.0:

VPS name change

The server name of your VPS will be changing. This will only affect you if you use your server name in your SFTP or SSH settings. The new server name will be included in the maintenance completion notice you receive once the upgrade is complete.

In addition to the number changing, you will also notice that DreamHost has changed the naming scheme from:


Web server version changes


The version of curl changed from Stretch (7.52.1) or Buster (7.64.0) to 7.68.0.


The version of FFmpeg changed from Stretch (3.2.15) or Buster (4.1.6) to 4.2.4.


The version of GCC changed from Stretch (6.3) or Buster (8.3) to 9.3.


Ubuntu Focal includes a new version of Java version 8, 8u312.

Node / NVM

When installing a custom version of Node.js/NVM, the installation will get caught by grsec. You must run a command to change the pax flags so grsec ignores the files. View the following article for full instructions:


The version of OpenSSL changed from Stretch (1.1.0l) or Buster (1.1.1d) to 1.1.1f.


The version of Perl changed from Stretch (5.24.1) or Buster (5.28.1) to 5.30.0.


The following Python versions are changing:

  • Python 2 (from 2.7.13/16 to 2.7.17)
  • Python 3 (from 3.5.3/3.7.3 to 3.8.2)

Python virtualenv

If your website is using a Python virtual environment and you notice any errors after the upgrade, reinstall your virtual environment and all modules. This helps to ensure everything is compatible with the new libraries on the server.


The Ruby version on the server is 2.7.0p0. If you would like more control over this (e.g., you wish to use an older or newer version of Ruby), DreamHost strongly recommends using RVM.

If you are using Bundler, you only need to run:

[server]$ bundle exec gem pristine


The version of SSH changed from Stretch (7.4p1) or Buster (7.9p1) to 8.2p1.


Telnet was previously available on Debian Stretch machines, however, since it is a deprecated protocol, it is not available on Focal machines in order to help keep your server secure. If you require Telnet, DreamHost recommends running it on your local computer instead.

How can I find support?

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact support.


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Article last updated PST.

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