Learn How To Installing Arch Linux On a Server

February 28, 2020

Table of Contents

    IT Web Services provides you with the awesome functionality of letting you use your own custom
    image in addition to their excellent templates, which enables you to run a vast
    range of operating systems on your server. This tutorial will provide a step-by-step
    explanation of how to install Arch Linux.

    While Arch is generally considered a distribution for desktops and notebooks and not
    for servers. It is absolutely fitting to use it on your server. In exchange for the extra
    effort needed for installation, you get a bleeding edge, yet stable experience.

    First, you need to obtain a copy of the Arch installation image and upload it to your
    dashboard. Generally speaking, any mirror is fine. To increase the download speed,
    you should use a mirror that’s geographically close to your desired server location.

    You start by going to the site for your image files and select a HTTP-link for the installation image, for example this one. Download time is generally under one minute, depending on the speed of the mirror.

    After that, you can deploy your new server. Instead of choosing one of the listed operating system choices, you would choose the image you just uploaded from the drop-down menu named ISO.

    After the deployment is complete, switch to the “Manage“-panel of your server and open up the VNC-console by clicking on View console. You are now in the live-shell of Arch.

    Since there will be a lot of packages to be downloaded, the first thing you need to do is to set up the network connection. You can find the IPv4-information on your server’s dashboard. In order to find out how the network interface is called you run the ip-command:

    ip link

    The output should look similar to this:

    1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT
        link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
    2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500 qdisc noop state DOWN mode DEFAULT qlen 1000
        link/ether 00:11:25:31:69:20 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

    The first one is your loopback interface, which can be safely ignored for now. The second one is your ‘real’ interface which needs to be configured. Configuration is also performed with the IP-command. The syntax is as follows:

    ip addr add yourip/yoursubnetmask dev yourinterfacename

    For example (Do not use these IP addresses – use the ones you found in your dashboard instead):

    ip addr add dev eth0

    Next, bring the interface up:

    ip link set eth0 up

    Then you need to set the gateway:

    ip route add default via yourgateway

    For example (Again, see your dashboard for the proper address):

    ip route add default via

    Now you should be able to reach the Internet. However, in order to have a fully working connection, you need DNS to work. Edit /etc/resolv.conf with your favorite text editor (nano or vi) and add two nameservers – I am using Google’s public DNS as example:


    You can test that everything works by using the ping command:

    ping -c 3 itweb.services.com

    If that works, then you are connected to the Internet. The next step is the partitioning of the disks, with the cfdisk-utility. You open it by simply calling:

    cfdisk /dev/vda

    It will first prompt you for a partition type, select dos here. Then you create a “New” partition with a size of 2GB and type Primary. Next, a second partition that fills up the rest of the space and is again of type “Primary“. Make also sure that the Bootable-flag is set on the second partition. Finish the program by Writing everything and hitting ‘q‘ afterwards.

    The partitions are now there, but they are lacking a filesystem. Since the first partition will be swap, you need to run:

    mkswap /dev/vda1
    swapon /dev/vda1

    The main filesystem will reside on the second partition:

    mkfs.ext4 /dev/vda2
    mount /dev/vda2 /mnt

    Now the real installation can start with the most basic packages:

    pacstrap /mnt base base-devel

    When that task has finished, you have a basic Arch-installation ready. Your installation still needs to be customized in a chroot. Before doing that, generate /etc/fstab for the installation:

    genfstab -p /mnt > /mnt/etc/fstab

    Now you can chroot:

    arch-chroot /mnt bash

    In the chroot environment, you configure your language settings by opening /etc/locale.gen with your favorite text editor and uncommenting your language of choice, for example:

    en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8

    Then, execute:


    And add the language to /etc/locale.conf:

    echo "LANG=en_US.UTF-8" > /etc/locale.conf

    Next is properly setting the timezone (Replace the zoneinfo with the zone of your server’s location):

    ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Amsterdam /etc/localtime

    Configure your hostname (Choose a hostname accordingly):

    echo "itweb.servicesserver02" > /etc/hostname

    Configure initramfs:

    mkinitcpio -p linux

    Install and configure grub:

    pacman -S grub
    grub-install /dev/vda
    grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

    Set a password for the root user account:


    Configure the static IP address for your server by editing /etc/netctl/eth0 with your favorite text editor:

    DNS = 'nameserverofchoice'

    and enabling the service at boot-time:

    netctl enable eth0

    Since administrating your server from the virtual console isn’t exactly fun, you are going to install OpenSSH and activate it at boot-time:

    pacman -S openssh
    systemctl enable sshd.service

    Afterwards, you are finished. Leave the chroot by issuing the:


    command, and reboot your server. Don’t forget to remove the image or else you will be stuck in a boot-loop.

    Your Arch Linux server is now online!

    Need help?

    Do you need help setting up this on your own service?
    Please contact us and we’ll provide you the best possible quote!