How to Install Proxmox Virtual Environment on a Dedicated Server

This tutorial is going to show you how to install Proxmox VE on a dedicated server. Proxmox VE (Virtual Environment) is an open-source virtual platform based on Debian. It allows you to easily create virtual machines and containers in a graphical web-based interface.

Proxmox Features

  • web-based administration interface.
  • Full virtualization (KVM)
  • Supports containers
  • live migration: move running VM from one physical host to another without downtime.
  • pre-installed applications. Up and running within a few seconds.

Prerequisites

  • You need a physical server or dedicated server to install Proxmox. It’s not meant to be installed inside a VM.
  • You also need a clean hard disk, because all partitions and data on the hard disk will be removed by Proxmox during installation.

Step 1: Download Proxmox VE ISO Image

Go to the Proxmox download page, and download the Proxmox VE 6.2 ISO installer. The latest stable version is 6.2, which is based on Debian 10 buster.

proxmox download

Once downloaded, you can create a bootable USB stick using tools like Etcher or Rufus. If your dedicated server has a remote web-based management interface like IPMI, then simply log in and insert the ISO file to the virtual drive.

Step 2: Lauch the Proxmox VE Installer

Reboot your server and use the BIOS/UEFI interface to boot it from the Proxmox ISO. When the Proxmox ISO installer shows up, press Enter to install it.

proxmox install

Then agree to the Proxmox license agreement.

proxmox ve installer

Next, choose the target hard disk. The following screenshot shows a VirtualBox hard disk, which is for teaching purposes only. You will need to select a big hard disk in production environment. Note that all partitions and data on the hard disk will be removed.

proxmox ve install target harddisk

Then select your country, time zone, and keyboard layout.

proxmox iso location country

Create a password and enter your email address.

Next, configure network settings.

proxmox network configuration

After that, Proxmox will give you a summary to review. If everything is ok, click the Install button.

proxmox install summary

Once the installation is complete, reboot your server.

Step 3: The Web-Based Admin Interface

The web-based admin interface is available at https://server-ip-address:8006. Because it’s using a self-signed TLS certificate, you need to add security exception in your web browser.

proxmox web interface

The default username is root. The password is the one you set when installing Proxmox. Note: You can also use this username and password for SSH login.

proxmox ve login

Proxmox might tell you that you don’t have a valid subscription. If you don’t need a paid subscription, simply ignore this message.

proxmox subscription

Step 4: Create Your First VM (Virtual Machine)

First, you need to upload ISO image files to Proxmox by going to Datacenter -> pve -> local(pve) -> Content -> Upload.

proxmox upload ISO image

Then select an ISO image file from your local hard drive.

proxmox create virtual machine

Once the ISO image file is uploaded, click the Create VM button on the upper-right corner.

proxmox create vm

A setup wizard will appear. On the General tab, give your VM a name and click Next.

proxmox vm setup wizard

On the OS tab, select your ISO image file.

proxmox vm ISO image

On the System tab, simply accept the default values and click Next.

proxmox vm graphics card

On the Hard Disk tab, you can change the VM disk size.

proxmox vm disk size

On the CPU tab, enter the number of CPU cores you want the VM to have access to. Change the CPU type to host for maximal performance.

proxmox vm cpu type

On the Memory tab, choose the RAM size for your VM.

proxmox vm RAM size

On the Network tab, simply accept the default values.

proxmox networking settings

Then confirm your VM configurations and click the Finish button.

proxmox confirm vm settings

Once the VM is created, it will appear on the left sidebar. Select it and click the Start button to start the VM. Then click the Console tab. You will be able to install an OS to the VM.

proxmox start vm

Once the installation is complete, you need to remove the ISO image from the virtual optical drive. Select the Hardware tab and the CD/DVD drive. Click the Edit button.

proxmox vm remove virtual optical drive

Select do not use any media and click Ok. Now you can reboot your VM.

do not use any media

I also recommend going to the Options tab and enabling start at boot, which will start the VM when the Proxmox host starts up.

vm start at boot

How to Enable NAT Networking Mode

The default bridge networking mode makes VMs request IP addresses from the Proxmox host’s gateway. In other words, VMs and the Proxmox host will be in the same network. If you don’t have control of this network, then a VM might not be able to receive an IP address from the gateway. You can enable NAT networking mode, so Proxmox will create a separate network for the VMs, which use the Proxmox host as the gateway.

SSH into the Proxmox host, and edit the /etc/network/interfaces file.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Proxmox has a default bridge network interface vmbr0.

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

iface eno1 inet manual

auto vmbr0
iface vmbr0 inet static
        address 10.10.22.215
        netmask 255.255.255.0
        gateway 10.10.22.1
        bridge_ports eno1
        bridge_stp off
        bridge_fd 0

Add the following lines at the end of this file.

auto vmbr1
iface vmbr1 inet static
        address  10.10.10.1
        netmask  255.255.255.0
        bridge_ports none
        bridge_stp off
        bridge_fd 0

        post-up echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
        post-up   iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s '10.10.10.0/24' -o vmbr0 -j MASQUERADE
        post-down iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s '10.10.10.0/24' -o vmbr0 -j MASQUERADE

Save and close the file. Then bring up the new interface.

sudo ifup vmbr1

When you create a new VM, you need to select the vmbr1 interface on the Network tab.

proxmox nat bridge

And when you install an operating system in the VM, you need to manually configure networking. For example:

  • IP address: 10.10.10.100
  • Gateway: 10.10.10.1
  • DNS: 8.8.8.8, or 1.1.1.1

How to Enlarge a Virtual Disk

First, select your VM and go to the hardware tab to resize disk.

proxmox resize disk

Choose the amount of the disk size you want to increase.

proxmox size increament

Save the setting. Now the virtual disk is enlarged. We need to enlarge the partition to use all of the remaining space. You will need to do this from a live Linux system because you can’t enlarge a root partition when it’s mounted.

Go to the options tab and set the VM to boot from CD-ROM first. (Make sure the virtual CD-ROM has an ISO image.)

proxmox boot from cd-rom

Then reboot the VM into the live Linux system. Next, go to the Console tab and wait for the live system to boot.

Launch Gparted from the live system and enlarge the root partition of the VM.

gparted resize disk partition

After that, go to the options tab and change the boot order back. Finally, reboot your VM.

Wrapping Up

I hop this tutorial helped you install Proxmox VE and create virtual machines. As always, if you found this post useful, then subscribe to our free newsletter to get more tips and tricks. Take care 🙂

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6 Responses to “How to Install Proxmox Virtual Environment on a Dedicated Server

  • Hola Xiao, eres lo mejor (you are the best).

    I have a few questions:
    1. Do you recommend to use this and make your own VPS’s on a dedicated server? What should we take on account for it?

    2. Scenario: 1 dedicated server with Proxmox to install as much as possible decent VPS’s.

    A basic (“cheap”)Dedicated server comes with just 4 cores (OVH deals today for example https://www.ovh.com/world/deals). Someday I read Virtual Cores. Is a virtual core an option here? Because if you just have 4 cores on a dedicated server, you just can make 2 decent VPS’s, am I right?

    Thanks so much Xiao

    • Jurgen Hort
      3 weeks ago

      Hi DiegoJ,

      Proxmox in a homelab is great for learning and testing, not only with VMs but also with LXC Linux containers. Use LXC as much as you can, it’s far more light weight than the VM (on hypervisor).

      If you just have 4 cores on a dedicated server, you should usually have 8 threads. Normally Proxmox distributes processing power between the VPUs, so you will not run out of available CPUs ^^ and 4 cores is enough to run even more than 20 containers or more than 10 VMs, depending how much workload they have, of course.

  • Michael
    4 weeks ago

    One addition, you may want to detail how to get rid of their subscription warning so it can update properly off the community repo’s.

    • Jurgen Hort
      3 weeks ago

      Hi Michael,

      there is no problem to update from the “Proxmox VE No-Subscription Repository” with the subscription warning, just use the right repo settings as explained here:
      https://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/Package_repositories

      Somewhere I saw a workaround to get rid of the subscription warning, but it will be back after the next update.

    • Hi Jurgen, thanks a lot taking time to answer us. 🤓 Thank you so much.

      I will have on account what you say: testing, lab, and see what happens after learning on the road.

      Thanks for the info.

  • Hrvoje Horvat
    4 weeks ago

    Regarding networking model: you may use VLAN (aware) interfaces for isolating VMs to specific VLAN remaining Bridge mode.

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