Sohail Mirza, standing in for Peter.

Posts Tagged ‘slower internet connection

Helpful Hints: Create an APT proxy in 3 easy steps using apt-cacher-ng


This Helpful Hints tutorial will require a number of basic and intermediate skills.  In order to complete this tutorial you should be comfortable doing the following:

If you’re not certain how to perform some of these actions, you may find tutorials for them readily available online.

Why an APT proxy?

If you’re like me, you might have a number of Ubuntu machines at home.  If this is the case, you know it can be a pain to quickly update them all since the same updates need to be downloaded to each computer.  If there are a lot of updates to be downloaded, this can take a while on a slower Internet connection.

If this sounds like your situation, then you can speed things up by setting up an APT proxy on your network at home. APT is the tool your Ubuntu system uses to retrieve updates and manage the installation of programs. An APT proxy will basically allow you to designate one of the machines on your network as the update server — the one machine where all the others will get their system updates from.  The idea is that the proxy will only have to download updates once, and these are then distributed to all the other Ubuntu machines on the network.

To accomplish this we can very easily setup apt-cacher-ng, a proxy tool readily available from the Ubuntu repositories.  I did play around with apt-proxy first, but found that less straightforward to use.

Taking it step-by-step

So here are the three easy steps, assuming all the computers involved are running Ubuntu (the computers can be running any version of Ubuntu, even differing versions):

  1. On the machine which will be running the APT proxy, install apt-cacher-ng. Just click the link in the last sentence, or type the following into a terminal window:

    sudo apt-get install apt-cacher-ng

  2. Now that your proxy is ready to go — yup, it was that simple — we need to instruct all the computers in your home or office to go to that proxy computer for APT updates, and not to the public update sites on the Internet. This is fairly straightforward to do as well.

    As the super-user, you’ll need to edit (or create, if it doesn’t exist) the file at /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/02proxy, and add the following to the first line in that file:

    Acquire::http { Proxy "http://ProxyComputerIPAddress:3142"; };

    In this line you’ll need to replace “ProxyComputerIPAddress” with the proxy computer’s address on your network. It’s address may look similar to an IP address like

    You’ll need to perform this step on every computer, including the one running the APT proxy. On the computer running the proxy you can use the IP address, which is just a way for the computer to refer to itself; every computer can refer itself with the this IP address.

  3. Now that every computer will be going through the proxy, things should magically just work! At this point you can launch the Update Manager, and check to see if there are pending updates.

Wrapping up…

That’s it folks, it’s that easy to setup an APT proxy. The result is that all Ubuntu updates should be cloned to your proxy server once, and that will now be the source of updates for all the computers on your network.

Post to the comments and let us know how it works for you.


Written by Sohail Mirza

August 20, 2011 at 12:46 am