How to enable automatic updates with Cockpit on CentOS 8

CentOS 8 can be easily configured for regular, automatic software updates with the help of Cockpit.

How to enable automatic updates with Cockpit on CentOS 8

CentOS 8 is here and, so far, it's one seriously strong contender for data center server OS of the year. It's rock solid, fast, and as reliable as you've come to expect from CentOS. Included with this release is a pre-installed Cockpit, which allows the admin to manage a good number of tasks from a web-based console.

One such task you can undertake is updating the operating system and the included software. By logging in to Cockpit (with an admin user account), you can click your way to an updated platform. Even better, you can set up automatic updates (either all updates or just security updates) for your server and configure the machine to automatically reboot at a specified time.

I'm going to show you how to make this happen. It's something any admin of any skill level can take care of.

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What You'll Need

  • A running instance of CentOS 8
  • An account with admin privileges

Note: If you've enabled session recording, you will have to log in to Cockpit as the root user as all other users will have been locked out of Cockpit.

How to enable automatic updates in Cockpit

To enable automatic updates, log in to Cockpit by way of https://SERVER_IP:9090 (Where SERVER_IP is the IP address of the CentOS 8 server. Once you've logged in, click on Software Updates in the left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A


The Cockpit navigation panel.

In the resulting window (Figure B), click the On/Off slider until it is in the On position. Once enabled, you can then select the type of updates you want (Apply All Updates or Apply Security Updates), the day of the week you want updates applied, and the time you want the updates applied and the server rebooted.

Figure B


Configuring the automatic updates in Cockpit.

You may have figured out that you cannot set up the automatic updates without including the reboot. Because of this, you'll want to make sure this server is able to be rebooted at the time you've selected for the updates. 

If the server is of the production nature, and you cannot allow it to be regularly rebooted at the specified time, then you probably shouldn't enable automatic updates. If that's the case, you'll want to make sure to regularly run the updates to keep the server as up-to-date as possible. 

However, if a regular reboot is okay, this is a great way to ensure that the server always has the latest patches and updates. The last thing you want is your production servers running out-of-date software. Keep 'em updated and keep 'em safe.

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Image: CentOS