15 useful YUM commands for Beginners

YUM stands for Yellowdog Updater Modified, which is an RPM (RedHat Package Manager) based package management tool for Linux Systems. Yum was introduced in RHEL version 5.10 onward and its deprecated 'up2date' command. Yum, command helps all Users and System Administrators to search for information about packages and then install, update, and remove all rpm related files from systems. The advantage of using YUM will be automatically performing the dependency resolution in a single command, even its supports to install the packages from various 3rd party repositories without any issue of dependencies. Yum was developed and released under GPL (General Public License), which means it comes under free software licenses that permit the end-user to modify the source code of the software.

The main configuration file of YUM is located at "/etc/yum.conf" and the .repo extensions are stored at "/etc/yum.repos.d" directory. By using the 'yum command' we can install all the packages directly from the internet, also we can set up a local yum repository by using the .iso or DVD. Using the local repository will help us to do a bulk update/patching the systems in the network and it saves a good amount of Internet bandwidth. The yum utility is a big relief on all types of .rpm based software dependency issues and it helps all the installers to speed-up the package management related tasks.


RHEL / CentOS 8 comes with the updated version (v4.0.4) of the YUM package manager, which is named DNF (Dandified Yum). DNF was initially introduced to Fedora 18 and is now the default package manager for Fedora 22 and RHEL 8. For more details about DNF click here

In this article, you will see the most used 15 yum commands, which will help all the newbies and System Administrators with their day-to-day activities.  All the below examples of 'yum' commands are tested on RHEL and CentOS 7.8.

Prerequisites :

Operating System : CentOS/ RHEL
User account          : root user or user account with sudo privileges
Recommended to run all the administrative commands as with sudo privilege instead of root

Difficulties in setting up sudo users? Click here to find the steps.

Global Syntax of yum command in Linux:

yum [options] [command] [package ...]

The following table provides an overview of the options of 'yum' command in RHEL / CentOS

Yum sub command cheat sheet for Linux

1. How do I check if there are  any  packages available for update?

$ sudo yum check-update

yum check update for linux


Using the above command we can see (if there are any available) packages from the enabled repositories for an update. It is always recommended that the installers examine and verify the list of available packages before blindly executing the 'update' sub-command to update your system, as sometimes the new updates/patches may not be compatible with your existing applications or hardware. I have not added the full list to the above output as it has almost 116 packages available to update, however a screenshot with only a few lines to give you an idea about it. Add 'wc -l' to get the total count of the available packages (like 'yum check-update | wc -l).
2. How to install a particular package?

$ sudo yum install vsftpd

yum install vsftpd in linux


I have used the above command to install a particular package "vsftpd", once you have executed the command it will ask you for confirmation and enter 'y' to proceed with the installation. Also, you can install the package without confirmation by using '-y' at the end of the above command.
3. How to update a particular package?

$ sudo yum update vsftpd -y


Please use the same "vsftpd" package as we know this package already exists in the system. After a couple of days you will be notified by the release of the new updates. This time I just want to update only a particular package, in our example "vsftpd" by using the above command we can update only the concern package from the whole bunch of new releases. To update the entire system, just use the following command:
$ sudo yum update -y
4. How to exclude a particular package while updating the whole system?


For a better understanding, first let me show you a list of all the available packages to update using the following command. From this list we can pick a particular package to exclude. To add the line numbers to the following list, I have used the 'cat ' command with the '-n' option. If you want to know more about cat commands in Linux click here
$ sudo yum list updates | cat -n
yum list updates | cat -n


In this example I have selected the "device-mapper" package which is the 15th number on the above list to exclude while updating the whole system. This can be done by using one of the following commands.
$ sudo yum update --exclude=device-mapper\*           OR              $ sudo yum -x "package_name*" update


To exclude more than one (multi) package in a single command, use one of the following commands.
$ sudo yum update --exclude=device-mapper\* --exclude=PackageKit\*                            OR                                               
 $ sudo yum -x "package_name1*" -x "package_name2*" update


Regular updates of security fixes can prevent vulnerabilities. Use the following command to install/update only the security fixes. For the below output you can see that we have almost 519 packages that are available for updates in the system, out of that it will fetch only "1 patch" belongs the security fix.
$ sudo yum update --security
yum update --security in linux
5. How to remove a particular package?

$ sudo yum remove vsftpd

yum remove command in linux


Using the above command we can completely erase/delete a particular package from our system. Always be careful before removing any packages and do not give auto-confirmation using '-y' with remove sub-command, as sometimes it may remove the dependencies also and it could lead to unexpected results for the packages that still require those dependencies. In case if there is any such situation, it is better you can use 'rpm -e --nodeps package_Name' to overcome the dependency issue. In the above output you can see that I have completely removed the "vsftpd" package.
6. How to get a combined list of all the packages?

$ sudo yum list all

yum list all command in linux


With the above command we can get the combined list of information of all the installed and available packages. You can see the differences in the above output.
$ sudo yum list installed
yum list installed commands in Linux


Here you can get the list of all the information on the packages that are currently installed on the system.
$ sudo yum list installed "http?-*"
yum double-quoted glob expression


Using the above command we can list all the installed packages that start with "http" It is called double-quoted glob expression, it can be used to list all the versions of some specific components as these are distinguished by numbers.
7. How to find out  detailed information about a specific package?

$ sudo yum info vsftpd

 yum info vsftpd command in Linux


Using the above command we can get detailed information about a particular package like version, release date, size, summary. In the above output, you can see the detailed information about the 'vsftpd' package
8. How to clear the cache information from the cache directory?

$ sudo yum clean all

yum clean all command in Linux


You can use the above command to clear the cached information from our system. By default yum will store all package information in the "/var/cache/yum" directory and it uses the system disk space until we clean up the accumulated entries in the cache directory. Sometimes non-clear cached data may cause issues when you attempt to install/update the package or there is a possibility of showing the wrong version of the package even after the repository has updated packages. Hence, it is recommended once in a while to clean up the accumulated entries in the yum cache directory.
9. How to install a group of packages?


Before use, the 'groupinstall' sub-command, let us check the summary of the groups, like how many installed groups, available groups, and available environment groups.
$ sudo yum groups summary
yum groups summary command in Linux


After finding the summary of group information, let us check the list of available group packages using the following command.
$ sudo yum grouplist
yum grouplist command in Linux


The above command will list all the available group packages. For the above output, I have attached only a few group names from the list. Now we can use the 'groupinfo' sub-command to get a better idea about the packages that are part of the group.

$ sudo yum groupinfo 'Basic Web Server'

 yum groupinfo command in Linux server


As you can see in the above output, the "Basic Web Server" has been bundled with three mandatory groups like (base, core, web-server) and other optional groups. If you want to know each of these group package details, then use the 'groupinfo' argument with these group names. In our demo, we don't need the bundled "Basic Web Server" package. Here we are going to install only the webserver, so let's check the webserver info and install it on our server.
$ sudo yum groupinfo 'web-server'
 yum groupinfo 'web-server' command in Linux
$ sudo yum groupinstall 'web-server'
 yum groupinstall command in RHEL


Finally, we have installed the group package using the 'groupinstall' sub-command. In the above output you can see the name of the installed packages.
10. How to find the package names?

$ sudo yum search samba

 yum search command in Linux


This 'search' argument is very useful, for ex: if you don't remember or don't know the package name, then you can use the above command to search all the available packages to match with the name you specified.
11. How to install a .rpm extension package using yum?

$ sudo yum localinstall epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm

yum localinstall command in Linux


Sometimes certain packages won't be available in our yum repositories, so we may need to download the rpm related package and install it in a traditional method of using rpm installation like "rpm -ivh xyz-1.2.3.rpm" but this package will demand dependencies and those dependencies are available in yum repository, so naturally, first we do install the dependencies using yum command then install the original rpm files. To overcome the dual attempt we can use 'localinstall' sub-command to install both dependencies and the rpm package in a single yum command. You can see the details in the above output.
12. How to upgrade the system with the latest releases?

$ sudo yum upgrade -y


The beauty is we can use both 'update and upgrade' sub-command to achieve the latest version of packages in our system, but there is a small difference between them. The 'upgrade' sub-command will remove all the obsolete packages during the update of the system whereas 'update' doesn't. You can use the above command only in the same family like if you want to upgrade your version from 7.4 to 7.8, but to upgrade 7.4 to 8.1 then this command is not recommended. It is better to upgrade to a different family to make a fresh installation of the 8.1 OS.
13. How to downgrade a package?


For a better understanding first I will update the "http-parser" package from version (2.7.1-8.el7 to 2.7.1-8.el7_7.2 ), then will downgrade the sub-command to revert to the original version. Sometimes, there will be compatibility issues with existing applications or hardware after the new updates of few packages, in that case we may force to revert/downgrade those packages into the previous version.
$ sudo yum list installed | grep http-parser
 yum list installed command in Linux
$ sudo yum update http-parser
 yum update command in Linux Server


Now assume the latest version of the "http-parser" package leads to compatibility issues so we can use the following command to downgrade the version. Now our current version of "http-parser" is (2.7.1-8.el7_7.2) and revert to (2.7.1-8.el7).
$ sudo yum downgrade http-parser-2.7.1-8.el7
 yum downgrade command in Linux


The downgrade sub-command works only based on the availability of the mentioned package (previous) versions in the repository. Using the above command we have reverted the "http-parser" to the previous version. Please check the output for your ref.
14. How to view the repository details/information?

$ sudo yum repolist

yum repolist command in Linux


Yum comes with both enabled and disabled repositories, by default it will only be visible in the enabled repositories. To see both lists then specify 'all' like 'yum repolist all', also you can use 'repoinfo' sub-command.

$ sudo yum repolist all



 yum repolist all command in Centos 7

15. How to list out the history of yum?

$ sudo yum history                   OR                               $ sudo yum history list

yum history list command in RHEL


The above command will list out the recent twenty numbers of yum transaction history of the system. It was built with a few sub-commands that were added on 3.2.25 version onwards. Using these sub-commands we can easily recover or rollback malfunctioning packages from the system. Here, I am going to show you the most commonly used sub-commands like "info, redo, undo and rollback". Please see an overview of the 4 sub-commands:


Additional Info: It will show complete details about a particular transaction or transaction.

Undo: This is used to revert a particular transaction.

Redo: It is used to repeat a particular transaction.

Rollback: This function is also similar to 'Undo' but it will revert all the transactions between the specific ID to the current state of the system.

(a) How to get more details about a particular transaction from the yum history?

$ sudo yum history info 10

yum history info command in Linux


In this example, I have taken the transaction ID 10 from the history list of the above output. It shows that the 'ID 10' was used to install the "bind" package. From the above output you can see the details.
(b) How to undo a transaction?

$ sudo yum history undo 10

yum history undo command in Linux


The same transaction ID 10 will also be used in this example. Using the above command we can reverse back the ID 10 to the original state, which means it will remove the "bind" package from the system. Check the above output for better understanding. You can also use the following command to cross-check whether it is removed or not.
$ sudo yum list installed | grep bind
(c) How to redo a transaction?

$ sudo yum history redo 10

yum history redo command in Linux


The same transaction ID 10 can also be used for this example. Using the above command we can redo/repeat back to the latest state, which means the "bind" package is installed back.
(d) How to rollback transactions?

$ sudo yum history rollback 10

 yum history rollback command in Linux


The rollback is also similar to "undo" but the only difference is it will revert everything between that transaction and the latest state of the system. In this example we will rollback the transaction ID 10, which means all the transactions that appeared after the transaction ID 10 will be removed. In the output you can see that I installed all the packages after transaction ID ( dhcp,squid,xchat and the dependencies ) were removed and bind was reinstalled.


Rollback commands are not supported for older versions of the following packages:

glibc and its dependencies like gcc

Thank you for taking the time to read! I hope this article will help you to understand the 'yum' command with examples. Drop me your feedback/comments. If you like this article, kindly share it and it may help others as well.

A few yum references are collected from this site

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