Kernel version upgrade required when manually updating discourse

When running the update per here: Manually update Discourse and Docker image to latest I get the following errors:
“Kernel version 4.4.0-210-generic not supported, please upgrade to at least 4.14.0”

What do I need to do here? I can’t find support topics on upgrading the kernel version.

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What version of Ubuntu are you using? You probably need to upgrade or move to a new server with a new os.

I added this check after we got a lot of support requests last week of people failing to run Discourse on Ubuntu 14.04.

What version of Ubuntu are you running? We’re you running Discourse 3+ successfully already?


I’m running on Ubuntu 16.04.3 x64

Using Digital Ocean’s droplet: 1 GB Memory / 25 GB Disk

There is an option to upgrade the Kernel myself as Digital Ocean has explained here:

But I’m wondering:

  1. Should I worry about something else breaking on the server?
  2. Should I go for “Upgrade All Packages” option or “Upgrade Kernel Only” option.

It’s beyond end of life. I would spin up a new droplet and start fresh.


It’s a good check, but perhaps it could mention the possibility of the OS being out of date? The kernel is what’s wrong, but for most people it comes as part of an OS version.

I suspect, with Discourse having got ever more popular, each time a missing kernel feature becomes critical, the number of people affected will be much much greater.

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Ubuntu wiki says a sudo apt-get -s install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-16.04 will give you their latest supported kernel (4.15) after a reboot. I’d backup, download the backup locally and give it a try.


You mean it’s standard support is EOL or the actual version? The version check here shows EOL of 2026: Releases - Ubuntu Wiki

It’s 2026 if you have a Canonical subscription and 2021 otherwise. But that’s off-topic :smile:

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Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll back up and give this a try.

As a suggestion, maybe we should add your instructions for the check / get latest update of Kernel to the standard update instructions here: Manually update Discourse and Docker image to latest. As you are suggesting, looks like you’re getting a lot of support requests with regards to the Kernel not being up to date.


Thanks for the clarification

We hit the exact same blocker when trying to update this morning. Identical version numbers were also given in our error.

We’re also running the same Ubuntu 14.04 on Digital Ocean.

I’ll put some time aside in the coming days and power down the server, take a full snapshot as Falco suggests, then try:

I’m wondering how much time this will buy me though, before hitting the next blocker?

Would there be any reason to not just go all out and run a sudo apt-get dist-upgrade ?

Discourse is the only thing installed on my server.

In our case, yes, we are currently 3.1.0.beta1 - Commits · discourse/discourse · GitHub . We update to latest every two weeks.

So you are currently on 3.1.0.beta on kernel 4.4 ? If so I will relax the kernel check then.

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A uname -r produces:


And confirmed re Discouse 3.1.0.beta :slight_smile:

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I’m still planning on upgrading the underlying Ubuntu tomorrow though :slight_smile:

Ubuntu upgrades nearly always work but they’re not quick, and your instance can be down for most of it. The snapshot will give you a means to roll back worst-case, but also adds downtime.

Have you considered just creating a new server on a more recent release and restoring a backup? Providing you’re using DNS with a relatively short TTL the downtime could be fairly brief, it will just come down to database size and whether your uploads are local.

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I personally haven’t (unsure about @AMK ) - only because it would take me longer to do everything that’d be required than it would to type a single update command in to the console :blush:

I actually haven’t tried creating a new server.
Like @Richie the only thing I have installed on the server is Discourse. And exactly, I would rather run a command to get the updates than having to do complete move to a new server.

I also checked my install version and looks like my site’s at version 3.0.0.beta16. When I click on upgrade I’m directed to “You are running an old version of the Discourse image” and that’s where I’m running into the Kernel version not supported error when try to do the update.

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@AMK (and anyone else interested!)

I powered down my Digital Ocean droplet and took a full snapshot (which took around 30mins).

I then ran do-release-upgrade and went from Ubuntu “16.04.7 LTS” to “18.04.6 LTS”

After the reboot, I checked Discourse - all ok.

I then did another release upgrade to take me beyond Ubuntu 18. Not sure which version it was going to, v20 maybe?

After that next reboot, my server never came back online :pensive:

I then had to restore my snapshot (which took 15mins), then I went from “16.04.7 LTS” to “18.04.6 LTS” again, then I updated Discourse.

Total time, 1hrs 50mins.

That’s why I suggested:

It may be “harder” but you can do it with near zero down time (and zero downtime if you create the new one in the same data center as the old one and use a static IP), and if something goes wrong, you can just switch back to the old server.

Probably, and you really want to be on 2022.04.