How to Install Proxmox (Server Virtualization) on Debian 12

Proxmox Virtual Environment is a robust and open-source virtualization platform based on Debian GNU/Linux that ships with a custom kernel and encapsulates KVM virtualization and Linux Containers (LXC).

It is a server management platform for enterprise virtualization that can also be used in a simple IT setup to host virtual machines.

Proxmox provides an integrated web UI for centralized management of VMs, containers, and clusters. For advanced users used to the Linux shell, Proxmox provides a CLI utility for managing all components in your virtual environment.

Check out the Proxmox Features page for a detailed look at all the features provided.

Popular Proxmox alternatives include VMware ESXi, VMware Workstation Pro, Citrix Hypervisor, and Oracle VM Virtualbox.

NOTE: Proxmox is predominantly used on bare-metal hardware for best performance. This is especially on production environments. However, since it’s based on Debian, it can seamlessly be installed on top of Debian.

This guide will teach you how to install the Proxmox Server Virtualization platform on Debian 12.

Step 1: Update APT Cache

The first step is to update your system’s package lists by running the following apt command.

sudo apt update
Update Debian Packages
Update Debian Packages

Step 2: Configure Static IP Address

It’s imperative to set a static IP for our Proxmox server for obvious reasons. By default, the Debian IP configuration is set to use DHCP.

You can confirm this by checking your IP address.

ip a
Check IP Address
Check IP Address

The network configuration file in Debian is the /etc/network/interfaces file. You can preview it using the cat command as shown.

cat /etc/network/interfaces

As you can see, the default settings are configured to DHCP.

View Network Configuration
View Network Configuration

Open the configuration file using your preferred editor.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Add the following configuration and be sure to replace the IP address and subnet to reflect your environment’s IP subnet.

auto enp0s3
iface enp0s3 inet static
        address 192.168.2.103/24
        network 192.168.2.0
        broadcast 192.168.2.255
        gateway 192.168.2.1
        dns-nameservers 8.8.8.8

Save the changes and exit the configuration file. To apply the changes made, restart NetworkManager.

sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager

Step 3: Configure Hostname Resolution

The next step is to configure the hostname resolution. This entails setting up the hostname and updating the /etc/hosts file.

Use the hostnamectl command to set up a hostname as shown. Here, proxmox is the hostname of our system.

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname proxmox
exec bash

Next, access the /etc/hosts file using your text editor.

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Add your server’s IP and hostname for hostname resolution.

192.168.2.103  proxmox

Save the changes and exit.

Confirm the hostname and IP address associated with it as shown.

hostname
hostname --ip-address
Check Hostname and IP Address
Check Hostname and IP Address

Step 4: Add the Proxmox VE Repository

Before installing Proxmox, a few prerequisite packages are required to install using the following command.

sudo apt install curl software-properties-common apt-transport-https ca-certificates gnupg2 

With all the prerequisite packages installed, next, add the Proxmox repository to the sources.list.d directory.

sudo su -

Next, add the Proxmox repository as follows.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] http://download.proxmox.com/debian/pve bookworm pve-no-subscription" >
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-install-repo.list

With the Proxmox repository in place, download and add the Proxmox VE repository key using the wget command.

wget https://enterprise.proxmox.com/debian/proxmox-release-bookworm.gpg -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bookworm.gpg  

Next, update the local APT cache and carry out a full upgrade.

apt update && apt full-upgrade

Step 5: Install the Proxmox Kernel

Once the upgrade is complete, install the Proxmox kernel, which is necessary since we will later remove the Linux kernel which Proxmox will not require.

apt apt install proxmox-default-kernel -y

Once the installation is complete, you will get the following output, a confirmation that the Proxmox kernel was successfully installed.

Install Proxmox Kernel
Install Proxmox Kernel

Step 6: Install the Proxmox Packages

To install Proxmox VE alongside other packages such as postfix – a mail transfer agent and chrony, run the following command:

sudo apt install proxmox-ve postfix open-iscsi chrony

This step takes quite a while, so just be patient as the installation progresses.

Install Proxmox VE
Install Proxmox VE

Along the way, you will be prompted to select the mail configuration type for Postfix. Select ‘Local only’ and hit ENTER.

Postfix Mail Configuration Type
Postfix Mail Configuration Type

Next, provide your preferred system mail name and press ENTER.

Postfix System Mail Name
Postfix System Mail Name

Thereafter, the installation will continue and wrap up without any issues.

Proxmox VE listens on TCP port 8006 and you can confirm this using the ss command.

sudo ss -tunelp | grep 8006
Check Proxmox VE Listening Port
Check Proxmox VE Listening Port

Step 7: Remove the Linux Kernel

Since Proxmox VE comes with its kernel, keeping the default Debian kernel can cause trouble upon upgrading, especially when dealing with point releases.

As such, it is recommended to purge the default Debian kernel as follows.

sudo apt remove linux-image-amd64 'linux-image-6.1*'

Next, update the GRUB configuration file.

sudo update-grub

The os-prober is a utility that scans disk partitions for operating systems and lists them on the GRUB entry. However, scanned partitions might also include those assigned to virtual machines. You surely don’t want to add those on the boot entry as well.

To prevent that from happening, uninstall the os-prober package:

sudo apt remove os-prober
Remove os-prober Package
Remove os-prober Package

Step 8: Access Proxmox VE Web Interface

Now reboot the system.
sudo reboot

On the GRUB screen, you will see the Proxmox VE entry. Just hit ENTER to proceed.

Proxmox VE Grub
Proxmox VE Grub

Now visit the following URL to access the Login dashboard.

https://your-ip-address:8006/

You will receive a warning page informing you that the connection is not private. Just click ‘Advanced’.

SSL Connection Warning
SSL Connection Warning

Then select proceed to ‘Your IP address’.

Connect to IP Address
Connect to IP Address

You will get a Proxmox VE login page. Login with your root credentials.

Proxmox VE Login
Proxmox VE Login

When logged in, the Proxmox should come to view as shown.

Proxmox VE Dashboard
Proxmox VE Dashboard

From here, you can create and manage your virtual machines, Linux containers, and other components such as backup and restore, storage, users, and networking.

Conclusion

And there you go. In this guide, we have demonstrated how to install Proxmox on Debian 12. Bear in mind that Proxmox VE is a bare-metal installer, and is best suited for installation on a physical server without any OS installed. Your feedback is much welcome.

James Kiarie
This is James, a certified Linux administrator and a tech enthusiast who loves keeping in touch with emerging trends in the tech world. When I'm not running commands on the terminal, I'm taking listening to some cool music. taking a casual stroll or watching a nice movie.

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4 thoughts on “How to Install Proxmox (Server Virtualization) on Debian 12”

  1. Good afternoon, what would be the steps to follow if the machine where I will install Proxmox on Debian has a dual-boot setup with Windows?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • @Peporro,

      First, back up any important files. Then, create a separate partition for Proxmox. Install Debian on the newly created partition. After Debian is installed, install Proxmox VE on Debian. Reboot your system and test both Debian/Proxmox and Windows boot options from the GRUB menu.

      Reply
      • Thank you for responding. What happens to me is that when I restart at the end of the Proxmox installation on Debian 12, Grub has removed the entry to start Windows, which I have installed on another disk in the same PC.

        Additionally, when Debian starts, I can verify that it has lost the network connection.

        Reply
        • @Peporro,

          It seems like the Proxmox installation might be affecting the Grub configuration, causing it to remove the entry for Windows. You can try updating Grub to include Windows in the boot menu.

          After logging into Debian, open a terminal and run:

          sudo update-grub
          

          Loss of network connection could be due to various reasons. You need to re-configure your network configuration file “/etc/network/interfaces” and then restart the network service.

          sudo systemctl restart networking
          
          Reply

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