How to Fix “E: unable to locate package” Error in Debian 9

If you install Debian 9 system using a netinstall CD image, your system probably will not have all the necessary repositories (from which you can install common packages), included in the apt sources list file. This can result into error like “E: unable to locate package package-name”.

In this article, I will explain how to fix the “E: unable to locate package package-name” error in Debian 9 distribution.

Useful Articles to read:

  1. 25 Useful Basic Commands of APT-GET and APT-CACHE for Package Management
  2. 15 Examples of How to Use New Advanced Package Tool (APT) in Ubuntu/Debian

I encountered this error while trying to install openssh-server package on Debian 9 server as shown in the screen shot below.

Package Installation Error on Debian 9

Package Installation Error on Debian 9

When you look into the /etc/apt/sources.list file, the default repositories included are shown in the screen shot below.

Debian 9 Repositories

Debian 9 Repositories

To fix this error, you need to add the necessary Debian software repositories in your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb  stretch main
deb-src  stretch main
Add Software Repository

Add Software Repository

Save and close the file. Then update the system packages list using the command below.

# apt update 

Now try to install the package which showed an error (for example the openssh-server).

# apt install openssh-server
Install Package on Debian 9

Install Package on Debian 9

Note: If you also want the contrib and non-free components, then add contrib non-free after main like this to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb stretch main contrib non-free
deb-src stretch main contrib non-free

You can find more information about /etc/apt/sources.list file from:

Finally, also read our recent articles concerning installation of useful packages Debian 9:

  1. How to Install Webmin Control Panel in Debian 9
  2. How to Install LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MariaDB, PHP-FPM) on Debian 9 Stretch
  3. Install LAMP (Linux, Apache, MariaDB or MySQL and PHP) Stack on Debian 9
  4. How to Install MariaDB 10 on Debian and Ubuntu

Thats all! If you have any queries, use the feedback form below to reach us. And remember to stick with for everything Linux.

Best Affordable Linux and WordPress Services For Your Business
Outsource Your Linux and WordPress Project and Get it Promptly Completed Remotely and Delivered Online.

If You Appreciate What We Do Here On TecMint, You Should Consider:

  1. Stay Connected to: Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus
  2. Subscribe to our email updates: Sign Up Now
  3. Get your own self-hosted blog with a Free Domain at ($3.45/month).
  4. Become a Supporter - Make a contribution via PayPal
  5. Support us by purchasing our premium books in PDF format.
  6. Support us by taking our online Linux courses

We are thankful for your never ending support.

Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

Your name can also be listed here. Got a tip? Submit it here to become an TecMint author.

RedHat RHCE and RHCSA Certification Book
Linux Foundation LFCS and LFCE Certification Preparation Guide

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. YASIR AL-HILALI says:

    Thank you, this helped me install the packages on Debian 10 running on windows 10!

  2. Zahra says:

    You Solved my problem

  3. Ramil says:

    Thanks to this articles you save me a lots.

  4. ss says:

    Hi, I face the same thing while trying to install tomcat7. I followed your steps and try to change sources.list to it is read only. Can you suggest something that could help?

Got something to say? Join the discussion.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.