How to install LXD

The easiest way to install LXD is to install one of the available packages, but you can also install LXD from the sources.

After installing LXD, make sure you have a lxd group on your system. Users in this group can interact with LXD. See Manage access to LXD for instructions.

Choose your release

LXD maintains different release branches in parallel.

Long term support (LTS) releases

The current LTS releases are LXD 5.21.x (snap channel 5.21/stable - this is the default channel), LXD 5.0.x (snap channel 5.0/stable) and LXD 4.0.x (snap channel 4.0/stable).

The LTS releases follow the Ubuntu release schedule and are released every two years:

  • LXD 5.21 is supported until June 2029. It gets frequent bugfix and security updates, but does not receive any feature additions. Updates to this release happen approximately every six months, but this schedule should be seen as a rough estimation that can change based on priorities and discovered bugs.

  • LXD 5.0 is supported until June 2027.

  • LXD 4.0 is supported until June 2025.

Feature releases

After LXD 5.21 is released, the next feature release will be LXD 6.x (starting with 6.1). It is available through the snap channels latest/stable, latest/candidate, and latest/edge, in addition to channels for the most recent specific releases (for example, 6.1/stable). See snap info lxd for a full list of available channels.

Feature releases are pushed out about every month and contain new features as well as bugfixes. The normal support length for those releases is until the next release comes out. Some Linux distributions might offer longer support for particular feature releases that they decided to ship.

LTS releases are recommended for production environments, because they benefit from regular bugfix and security updates. However, there are no new features added to an LTS release, nor any kind of behavioral change.

To get all the latest features and monthly updates to LXD, use the feature release branch instead.

Install LXD from a package

The LXD daemon only works on Linux. The client tool (lxc) is available on most platforms.

Linux

The easiest way to install LXD on Linux is to install the Snap package, which is available for different Linux distributions.

If this option does not work for you, see the Other installation options.

Snap package

LXD publishes and tests snap packages that work for a number of Linux distributions (for example, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, and OpenSUSE).

Complete the following steps to install the snap:

  1. Check the LXD snap page on Snapcraft to see if a snap is available for your Linux distribution. If it is not, use one of the Other installation options.

  2. Install snapd. See the installation instructions in the Snapcraft documentation.

  3. Install the snap package. For the latest feature release, use:

     sudo snap install lxd --channel=latest/stable
    

    For the LXD 5.21 LTS release, use:

     sudo snap install lxd --channel=5.21/stable
    

    For the LXD 5.0 LTS release, use:

     sudo snap install lxd --channel=5.0/stable
    

For more information about LXD snap packages (regarding more versions, update management etc.), see Managing the LXD snap.

Note

On Ubuntu 18.04, if you previously had the LXD deb package installed, you can migrate all your existing data over by installing the 5.0 snap and running the following commands:

    sudo install lxd --channel=5.0/stable
    sudo lxd.migrate

After successfully running the lxd.migrate command, you can then switch to a newer snap channel if desired, like the latest one:

    sudo refresh lxd --channel=latest/stable

Other installation options

Some Linux distributions provide installation options other than the snap package.

To install the feature branch of LXD on Alpine Linux, run:

apk add lxd

Other operating systems

Important

The builds for other operating systems include only the client, not the server.

LXD publishes builds of the LXD client for macOS through Homebrew.

To install the feature branch of LXD, run:

brew install lxc

You can also find native builds of the LXD client on GitHub:

To download a specific build:

  1. Make sure that you are logged into your GitHub account.

  2. Filter for the branch or tag that you are interested in (for example, the latest release tag or main).

  3. Select the latest build and download the suitable artifact.

Install LXD from source

Follow these instructions if you want to build and install LXD from the source code.

We recommend having the latest versions of liblxc (>= 4.0.0 required) available for LXD development. Additionally, LXD requires a modern Golang (see Go) version to work. On Ubuntu, you can get those with:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install acl attr autoconf automake dnsmasq-base git libacl1-dev libcap-dev liblxc1 liblxc-dev libsqlite3-dev libtool libudev-dev liblz4-dev libuv1-dev make pkg-config rsync squashfs-tools tar tcl xz-utils ebtables
command -v snap >/dev/null || sudo apt-get install snapd
sudo snap install --classic go

Note

If you use the liblxc-dev package and get compile time errors when building the go-lxc module, ensure that the value for LXC_DEVEL is 0 for your liblxc build. To check that, look at /usr/include/lxc/version.h. If the LXC_DEVEL value is 1, replace it with 0 to work around the problem. It’s a packaging bug, and we are aware of it for Ubuntu 22.04 onward, see LP: #2039873.

There are a few storage drivers for LXD besides the default dir driver. Installing these tools adds a bit to initramfs and may slow down your host boot, but are needed if you’d like to use a particular driver:

sudo apt install lvm2 thin-provisioning-tools
sudo apt install btrfs-progs

To run the test suite, you’ll also need:

sudo apt install busybox-static curl gettext jq sqlite3 socat bind9-dnsutils

From source: Build the latest version

These instructions for building from source are suitable for individual developers who want to build the latest version of LXD, or build a specific release of LXD which may not be offered by their Linux distribution. Source builds for integration into Linux distributions are not covered here and may be covered in detail in a separate document in the future.

git clone https://github.com/canonical/lxd
cd lxd

This will download the current development tree of LXD and place you in the source tree. Then proceed to the instructions below to actually build and install LXD.

From source: Build a release

The LXD release tarballs bundle a complete dependency tree as well as a local copy of libraft and libdqlite for LXD’s database setup.

tar zxvf lxd-4.18.tar.gz
cd lxd-4.18

This will unpack the release tarball and place you inside of the source tree. Then proceed to the instructions below to actually build and install LXD.

Start the build

The actual building is done by two separate invocations of the Makefile: make deps – which builds libraries required by LXD – and make, which builds LXD itself. At the end of make deps, a message will be displayed which will specify environment variables that should be set prior to invoking make. As new versions of LXD are released, these environment variable settings may change, so be sure to use the ones displayed at the end of the make deps process, as the ones below (shown for example purposes) may not exactly match what your version of LXD requires:

We recommend having at least 2GiB of RAM to allow the build to complete.

user@host:~$ make deps
...make[1]: Leaving directory '/root/go/deps/dqlite'# environment Please set the following in your environment (possibly ~/.bashrc)#  export CGO_CFLAGS="${CGO_CFLAGS} -I$(go env GOPATH)/deps/dqlite/include/ -I$(go env GOPATH)/deps/raft/include/"#  export CGO_LDFLAGS="${CGO_LDFLAGS} -L$(go env GOPATH)/deps/dqlite/.libs/ -L$(go env GOPATH)/deps/raft/.libs/"#  export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="$(go env GOPATH)/deps/dqlite/.libs/:$(go env GOPATH)/deps/raft/.libs/:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"#  export CGO_LDFLAGS_ALLOW="(-Wl,-wrap,pthread_create)|(-Wl,-z,now)"
user@host:~$ make

From source: Install

Once the build completes, you simply keep the source tree, add the directory referenced by $(go env GOPATH)/bin to your shell path, and set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable printed by make deps to your environment. This might look something like this for a ~/.bashrc file:

export PATH="${PATH}:$(go env GOPATH)/bin"
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="$(go env GOPATH)/deps/dqlite/.libs/:$(go env GOPATH)/deps/raft/.libs/:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"

Now, the lxd and lxc binaries will be available to you and can be used to set up LXD. The binaries will automatically find and use the dependencies built in $(go env GOPATH)/deps thanks to the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable.

Machine setup

You’ll need sub{u,g}ids for root, so that LXD can create the unprivileged containers:

echo "root:1000000:1000000000" | sudo tee -a /etc/subuid /etc/subgid

Now you can run the daemon (the --group sudo bit allows everyone in the sudo group to talk to LXD; you can create your own group if you want):

sudo -E PATH=${PATH} LD_LIBRARY_PATH=${LD_LIBRARY_PATH} $(go env GOPATH)/bin/lxd --group sudo

Note

If newuidmap/newgidmap tools are present on your system and /etc/subuid, etc/subgid exist, they must be configured to allow the root user a contiguous range of at least 10M UID/GID.

Manage access to LXD

Access control for LXD is based on group membership. The root user and all members of the lxd group can interact with the local daemon. See Access to the LXD daemon for more information.

If the lxd group is missing on your system, create it and restart the LXD daemon. You can then add trusted users to the group. Anyone added to this group will have full control over LXD.

Because group membership is normally only applied at login, you might need to either re-open your user session or use the newgrp lxd command in the shell you’re using to talk to LXD.

Important

Local access to LXD through the Unix socket always grants full access to LXD. This includes the ability to attach file system paths or devices to any instance as well as tweak the security features on any instance.

Therefore, you should only give such access to users who you’d trust with root access to your system.

Upgrade LXD

After upgrading LXD to a newer version, LXD might need to update its database to a new schema. This update happens automatically when the daemon starts up after a LXD upgrade. A backup of the database before the update is stored in the same location as the active database (for example, at /var/snap/lxd/common/lxd/database for the snap installation).

Important

After a schema update, older versions of LXD might regard the database as invalid. That means that downgrading LXD might render your LXD installation unusable.

In that case, if you need to downgrade, restore the database backup before starting the downgrade.