Accessing man pages on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Posted on by Dan Pock
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Having access to man pages on your server is a pretty essential asset to be familiar with. If you’re not familiar with man pages they are documentation provided with software packages on Unix systems. They provide a sort of manual for applications, services and system resources. You can learn more about man pages in our introductory article. By default on Ubuntu based servers this command is not provided, since it’s a great tool to have access to this article will help you get them setup.

Installing man pages on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

By default most Linux based OS distributions will include the `man` command out of the box. In those cases you won’t have to do much at all, if your installation doesn’t include man pages then you’re just a quick command away! The best way to check what situation you’re in is to run the command, so we’ll open up a command line and run:

man man

So if you have the man command by default you’ll end up seeing the manual page for the man command. If you see this man page come up then you’re all set, no need to do anything.

However, if your server doesn’t have the man command available you’ll see the following output:

-bash: man: command not found

If this is the case then you’ll simply run the following commands to get man page command setup and ready to use:

apt update && apt upgrade && apt install man

Executing the command above will update your Ubuntu server’s software repositories, upgrade the applications and then install the man package. That is it, you now have access to the software man pages on your Ubuntu server.

As you install new software, and other packages, that include man pages the database will be updated and they’ll be made available. For instance, if you install Nginx on your server immediately after the process is done you can open the man page.

About the Author: Dan Pock

Dan Pock does technical support at Liquid Web with a background in System Administration, Public Relations, and Customer Service. His favorite things include his cats, Oscar Boots, and Dash Nougat; experimenting with PHP; and making up recipes (or at least attempting to). You can find his coding hijinks on GitHub, where he shares most of his projects and open source work.

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