Find your Debian version, the command line way

Like every VPS addict it is quite normal to forget which version of an operating system you are running especially if it is a server that you haven’t logged onto for a long time.

In other cases, you may simply be administering quite a few servers with different versions of operating systems and you may not necessary remember what version of Debian is installed on a particular system. Whatever the reason is, we will learn how to check the version of Debian that is running using only the command line.

so without further ado…..

Terminal commands that shows the Debian Version

There are many ways to find the version, here I will show two different ways. Feel free to post more ways in the comment section.

If you only need the version number the easiest way is to execute the following command

You should get a result like this:

There you have it, the server is running Debian 7.6!

Another command, that also gives a bit more information is

You should get a result like:

To find the Kernel version use the ‘uname‘ command. Using it without parameters will only print out ‘Linux’ and if you didn’t know that you were running Linux you are in trouble 🙂

prints all Kernel information

prints your kernel version which is useful for installing things like the kernel headers, for example:

Do you know more ways to get the OS version from the command line? Post a comment with your suggestions!

13 comments for “Find your Debian version, the command line way

  1. Aevi
    December 24, 2015 at 09:53

    Thanks for help. Can you please tell what font is used in commands like  you have written

    cat /etc/debian_version, lsb_release -a

    • December 26, 2015 at 14:49

      it is the Monaco font, using the Crayon Syntax Highlighter plugin.

  2. Pat
    July 25, 2016 at 18:15

    Very well written guide. Certainly helps when logging into multiple machines.

  3. October 4, 2017 at 17:57

    what should i do if get result like this? I’m run on docker


    root@88bd0a44e6ce:/# lsb_release -a
    bash: lsb_release: command not found

    • Vitalii
      August 20, 2018 at 12:43

      Start typing lsb and press tab twice.
      I have same issue when copy paste from browser.

    • Adam
      September 18, 2019 at 20:45

      Try sudo apt install lsb-release and restart the terminal. The lsb_release command should now be available.

  4. July 12, 2019 at 21:01


    cat /etc/issue



    and on systemd machines,


    (lifted from

    My question is “Where/how is the canonical version number stored?”

    In other words, say my version is Debian 10, but I temporarily need (for a badly-written app’s sake) for it to be Debian 10.0; what file, assuming there is one, would I need to change, and what daemons would I need to restart, etc, for the system to then report that it is version 10.0 instead of 10?


  5. October 12, 2020 at 09:03

    thank you for the explanation, but I do not understand what is the use of vps

  6. October 12, 2020 at 09:05

    whether it is useful for this article in the future

  7. May 24, 2021 at 15:46

    amazing content. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. May 24, 2021 at 15:49

    hi guys! How all of you are doing these days.

  9. July 25, 2021 at 15:36

    Give it up for the kingdom. give it up when we bring them down.

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