Solving the E: The method driver /usr/lib/apt/methods/https could not be found error on Debian systems


As system administrators, every now and then, we encounter challenges that test our abilities and expand our skill sets. Recently, I had a unique experience working with a Debian server system in Maine, local to Portland. This system, whose critical specifications were evaluated using the Linux command “lscpu”, had persistent issues while updating its package lists. The error “E: The method driver /usr/lib/apt/methods/https could not be found” came up each time. In this post, I’ll be sharing how I managed to fix the problem.

Understanding the Issue

The error message hints at the Advanced Package Tool (APT), having issues handling HTTPS-based repositories. This comes as no surprise because the APT configuration in some Debian systems doesn’t include the HTTPS method by default.

/usr/lib/apt/methods/https is a path where APT expects to find the driver for the HTTPS method – since our system doesn’t have HTTPS enabled by default, this error is being thrown.

The Solution

Step#1: Update your repository list

First things first, edit the APT sources list with your preferred text editor. I’ll be using the nano editor in this guide:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

This file contains the list of repositories from which APT fetches system updates. Replace every instance of “https” with “http”, save, and exit.

Step#2: Update the system package lists

Run the following command to update the repositories:

sudo apt-get update

Step#3: Install apt-transport-https package

After updating the repositories, it’s time to install the HTTPS transport package:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https

This package adds HTTPS support to APT. It’s a vital step towards our goal of fixing the error.

Step#4: Revert to the original sources.list

With HTTPS support now enabled, revert the changes made to the sources.list file in the first step. Change “http” back to “https”.

Step#5: Update the system package lists again

Finally, run the update command one more time:

sudo apt-get update

This should complete without throwing any HTTPS-related errors. Your system is now primed to handle HTTPS-based repositories.


Working through this problem was a worthy exercise in understanding the infrastructure of APT and how it handles package lists. We solved the “E: The method driver /usr/lib/apt/methods/https could not be found” error by incorporating HTTPS support package apt-transport-https. Got more questions? Drop a comment below or ping me. Happy coding!

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