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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS – new features and improvements


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, codenamed Xenial Xerus, was released on April 21, 2016. Being a LTS (Long Term Support) version, security updates are available for 5 years. We recommend Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for new Ubuntu server deployments.

Following are some of the new or improved features to consider when used as a web server:

Linux Kernel 4.4

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships with long term supported Linux kernel release series 4.4 which was first released on January 10, 2016.

$ uname -a
Linux xenial.subhosting.net 4.4.0-21-generic #37-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 18 18:33:37 UTC 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux


The init system has changed to Systemd. You need to use Systemd utilities such as systemctl to manage services, hostnamectl to modify hostname, timedatectl to control time and date etc. For instance, the following systemctl command shows status of SSH server:

$ systemctl status ssh
● ssh.service - OpenBSD Secure Shell server
 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/ssh.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2016-04-22 12:15:18 UTC; 16min ago
 Main PID: 2280 (sshd)
 Tasks: 1 (limit: 512)
 CGroup: /system.slice/ssh.service
 └─2280 /usr/sbin/sshd -D

Apr 22 12:15:18 xenial.subhosting.net systemd[1]: Starting OpenBSD Secure Shell server...
Apr 22 12:15:18 xenial.subhosting.net sshd[2280]: Server listening on port 22.
Apr 22 12:15:18 xenial.subhosting.net sshd[2280]: Server listening on :: port 22.
Apr 22 12:15:18 xenial.subhosting.net systemd[1]: Started OpenBSD Secure Shell server.


Ubuntu inherits its core architechture, deb packaging format and Apt (Advanced Package Tool) from Debian project. In Ubuntu 16.04, Apt has been upgraded to version 1.2. It is recommended to use apt instead of older tools such as apt-get and apt-cache.


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces a new packaging format named ‘snap’. While deb packages and Apt package manager continue to be the main components of software package management system, snap is expected to be the future of application packaging for Ubuntu systems. Snap packages can co-exist with deb packages.

OpenSSH 7.2p2

The default SSH server is upgraded to OpenSSH 7.2p2 which disables many weak or outdated cryptography. Support for SSH protocol version 1 is disabled at compile time. Legacy DSA keys (ssh-dss) are disabled at run time. It is recommended to use RSA keys if you want to use SSH key based authentication to login to server.


In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Apache web server has been updated to version 2.4.18.

$ apache2 -v
Server version: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
Server built: 2016-04-15T18:00:57

Nginx 1.9

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS includes the mainline version 1.9.15 of Nginx web server. Later, it is expected to be upgraded to the stable verson 1.10.0 as an SRU (Stable Release Updates).

$ nginx -v
nginx version: nginx/1.9.15 (Ubuntu)


PHP was upgraded to version 7.0.

$ php -v
PHP 7.0.4-7ubuntu2 (cli) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2016 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Zend Technologies
 with Zend OPcache v7.0.6-dev, Copyright (c) 1999-2016, by Zend Technologies

At this time, PHP 7 is quite new and many popular applications are still not fully compatible with it. Before upgrading to PHP 7, it is advised to check compatibility of your application with PHP 7 and plan the migration accordingly.

MySQL 5.7

MySQL relational database server was upgraded to version 5.7.

$ mysqld -V
mysqld Ver 5.7.11-0ubuntu6 for Linux on x86_64 ((Ubuntu))

Some of the configuration options have changed or deprecated in MySQL 5.7. So if you want to use the configuration settings previously used in an older MySQL version, the configuration settings should be verified and modified for MySQL 5.7.


In this article, we introduced new features of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in terms of its use as a web server. Our technical support team is available round the clock to help you deploy your new or existing projects to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

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