How to install Rundeck local and remote services controller on Ubuntu 18.04

With Rundeck, you can create simple to complex tasks on either a local machine or on a remote server, and it's easy to install.

Image: Jack Wallen

Your data center has been populated with Linux servers, and you need them to run tasks. Sometimes you need to automate ad-hoc or routine services on those machines, or even on remote machines. When that's the case, what do you do?

You could create bash scripts and cron jobs for those tasks. Although for many well-versed Linux admins that's a simple task, for others it's a bit over their pay grade. That's when a tool like Rundeck comes in handy. With Rundeck, you can create simple to complex tasks on either the local machine or on a remote server. In other words, set Rundeck up on one machine and control all your data center Linux servers from a single point of entry. What's best, Rundeck isn't terribly hard to install.

SEE: IT pro's guide to working smarter with Linux (Tech Pro Research)

I'm going to demonstrate how to get this powerful tool installed on Ubuntu Server 18.04. All you need is a running Ubuntu Server and an account with sudo privileges.

Let's get to work.


The installation of Rundeck is fairly straightforward. The first thing you must do is install a couple of dependencies. Before that, it is always wise to make sure your server is up to date. The one caveat to this is should the kernel be upgraded the server will need to reboot. In other words, run the update/upgrade at a time when a reboot is viable.

To update/upgrade Ubuntu Server, open a terminal window and issue the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Take notice as to whether or not the kernel is upgraded. If so, reboot when the process completes. If not, continue.


The next step is to install a couple of dependencies. To do that, go back to the terminal window and issue the following commands;

sudo dpkg  --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk

Once those commands have installed, you're ready to continue.


The installation of Rundeck is fairly simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest version of Rundeck (from the official download page) with the command wget (Note: Replace the version number with the latest release from the downloads page).
  2. Install the file with the command sudo dpkg -i rundeck*.deb.
  3. Allow the installation to complete.

You are now ready to configure and start Rundeck.


There is only one file that needs to be configured. Issue the command:

sudo nano /etc/rundeck/ and /etc/rundeck/

In that file, look for the line:

framework.server.url = http://localhost:4440

Change that line to:

framework.server.url = http://SERVER_IP:4440

where SERVER_IP is the IP address of the server hosting Runeck.

Save and close the file.

Starting, enabling, and connecting to Rundeck

The Rundeck service must be started and enabled. To do this, issue the command:

sudo systemctl start rundeckd
sudo systemctl enable rundeckd

Rundeck is now running and listening on port 4440. Open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER_IP:4440 (where SERVER_IP is the IP address of your hosting server). You should be prompted for login credentials. The default username/password combination is admin/admin. Once authenticated, you'll see the main Rundeck page (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The Rundeck main page.

Do note, it might take a moment for the Rundeck page to load. If you get the Problem loading page error, try again in a moment, and it will load.

Changing the admin password

For security purposes, the developers of Rundeck made it so that you cannot simply change the admin password from within the web GUI. Obviously, you don't want to leave the admin password set to "admin," so let's change it. To do that, open a terminal and issue the command:

sudo nano /etc/rundeck/

In that file, you'll see the following line:


You want to change that line to reflect the following:


where PASSWORD is a strong password.

Save and close that file. Restart Rundeck with the command:

sudo systemctl restart rundeckd

You should now be able to log in with the new password. Remember, however, that every time you restart Rundeck it will take a moment for the web server to be available.

Rundeck is ready

Congratulations, Rundeck is now ready for you to create your first project. Hopefully, this powerful tool will make administering your data center Linux servers a bit more efficient.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website