Updated on 24.5.2023

Using your own install media

New install media server

Although we offer several different operating system images and CDROMs at the UpCloud control panel, you might want to install an operating system from your own installation media. This process requires you to create storage that contains the install image, define it as a CDROM at the control panel and then boot up the server from that CDROM storage.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to manually create your own install media from any storage image. However, we have also automated much of this process with our Storage Import feature.

Note that only most Unix-based operating systems are currently supported.

Deploying a new server

Start off by creating a new cloud server of your choice at your UpCloud Control Panel. The instructions in this guide are directed at a Linux system but the process would be largely the same on any server OS.

Make the required configurations by:

  • Selecting the location where you wish to have the live CD available
  • Choose the configuration, the 1CPU and 1GB simple plan works fine
  • Add a second 10GB disk by clicking the text below the first.
New install media server
  • Pick the OS you are comfortable with for a one time boot
  • Include any SSH keys you wish if available to allow password-free login
  • Naming your server and giving it a description.
  • Confirm your selections and click the Deploy button.

Once your server has finished deploying, you can log in with SSH using any keys selected at deployment or using the root password.

Preparing the installation media

When logged in, check that you have the storage space required to continue with the command underneath.

vda    253:0    0  25G  0 disk
`-vda1 253:1    0  25G  0 part /
vdb    253:16   0  10G  0 disk

The first disk will show up with the regular operating system partition which is mounted at the root and the second disk should be a simple empty disk with no partitions.

Download the installation image you wish to use to the server, for example using curl and wait for the download to finish.

curl -o ~/image.iso https://example.com/install-image.iso

When you have the desired image saved on the server, copy the file contents to the empty storage device with the following command. Check that the image name and the target disk are set correctly and that the image is copied directly.

dd if=~/image.iso of=/dev/vdb bs=16M oflag=direct

This operation is quite fast and when the image file has been copied to the storage, shut down the server either from your UpCloud control panel or with the command below.

shutdown -h now

Once the server has powered down, go to the overview tab in your server settings and scroll to the bottom of the page. Open the Optionals by clicking the text, then select cdrom as the first boot device and click the Save changes button.

Changing the system boot order

Next, go to the Storage tab in your server settings and check the second disk device you set up with the install media.

Change the storage device controller to CDROM and click the Save changes button.

Set install media as CDROM

This will tell the server to boot up from the media disk so that you may start the installation.

Installing from the image media

You can now start the server again and go through the installation process with the disk image you downloaded. You will need to use either the web console at your server settings or a VNC connection to access the server during the installation. You can find more information about how to use these methods in our guide for connecting to your server.

When you have finished installing the new operating system, shut down the server again and detach or delete the installation device from the Storage list. You may also wish to create a template of the newly installed server in the Storage list.

Janne Ruostemaa


  1. Rafael Rodriguez

    Good AFTERNOON, could indicate what are the operating available from yourpanel?

  2. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi Rafael, thanks for the question. We have ready-configured server templates for the latest versions of CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu and Windows Server. You can find out more at our template documentation.

  3. Luis Hernandez

    Hi can I install Oracle Linux as OS for my cloud server?


  4. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi Luis, thanks for the question. Indeed you can and the process has been made considerably simpler using our new import feature.

  5. Tried to run RancherOS with no luck.

  6. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi John, thanks for the comment. Had a quick test and got RancherOS to boot no problem using our new Storage Import feature. RancerOS seems to necessitate a minimum of 2GB of system memory. Make sure to select at least the $10 Simple plan or RancherOS will fail to boot.

    Simply add a new storage device from URL and use https://releases.rancher.com/os/latest/rancheros.iso to import RancherOS. The system will download the image and create a bootable storage which can be run as-is. Once the import and any possible syncing operations are complete, just detach the original storage devices and start the server. Note that you’ll need to use the Web Console to initially log in and set a password for SSH.

  7. Hi can i install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (with GUI) on upcloud with the basic plan?

  8. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi Syamil, thanks for the question. You can certainly install a desktop environment on your Ubuntu server e.g. using tasksel

  9. Richard Gomes

    My first 5 mins as customer at UpCloud and my first criticism… I’m sorry for the criticism… but it simply does not make any sense such amount of steps and such waste of time just to upload a file which I have already built locally or which could be perhaps already available somewhere else. Where’s the [add] button at https://hub.upcloud.com/storage/images ?

  10. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi Richard, thanks for the comment. This tutorial outlines the process of creating custom install media if done manually. We’ve since launched the Storage Import feature which makes this considerably easier.

  11. i cant install mikrotik chr using this tutorial

  12. Janne Ruostemaa

    Hi there, thanks for the comment. It should be possible to run RouterOS, you might want to try out our Storage Import which makes the whole thing a lot easier.

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