Solving Package has no installation candidate issue on Debian-based Servers


Installing packages in Debian-based servers could sometimes be everything but smooth, and one of the common errors many users encounter is the “Package has no installation candidate” issue. This error generally suggests that the system doesn’t recognize the package you are trying to install, or it’s unable to locate it in the repository.

In this article, we are going to delve deep into the causes behind this error and we will guide you on how to troubleshoot it. Note: the mv command won’t be applicable for solving this particular problem as mv is used for moving files – it has no direct role in package management.

The Cause of the Error

The “Package has no installation candidate” error in Debian-based systems, essentially means that APT, the package handling utility, cannot find the package you wish to install in its repositories. The repositories are like a database of available packages from where APT can download and install them. If APT cannot find your desired package in its list, it’ll return such an error.

Step-by-Step Solution

We will assume that you are a superuser or have sudo access, as you will need these permissions to modify system-related files and update packages.

Step 1: Update your Repository

Just like you, the system also needs “refreshing” and updating once in a while. Run the following command to make sure your package lists from the repositories are up to date:

sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Check for Typographical Errors

Be sure to double-check your spelling and syntax. The system is case sensitive and won’t be able to find the package if its name is spelled incorrectly.

Step 3: Verify Package Availability

Also, make sure that the package you want is valid and available in the repositories. Some packages may not be available in the default repositories and may need to add alternative repositories or may not be available at all.

Step 4: Enable the Correct Repository

The package you’re looking for might belong to the universe, multiverse or other repositories that are not enabled by default. If this is the case, open your sources.list:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

And add or uncomment (remove the beginner ‘#’) the lines that include the repository you need:

deb bionic universe
deb-src bionic universe

Then update your package list again:

sudo apt-get update

Step 5: Try Reinstalling the Package

Once all these steps are checked, try reinstalling the package, calling it by its correct name and see if the error has been resolved.


Working with open-source systems like Debian may pose some challenges along the way. However, with a bit of knowledge about the functioning and the structure of these systems, resolving these issues becomes easier. I hope this guide has helped you understand the “Package has no installation candidate” error better, and that you are now able to overcome it without much problem.

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