How to enable EPEL repository?

The EPEL repository is an additional package repository that provides easy access to install packages for commonly used software. This repo was created because Fedora contributors wanted to use Fedora packages they maintain on RHEL and other compatible distributions.

To put it simply the goal of this repo was to provide greater ease of access to software on Enterprise Linux compatible distributions.

What’s an ‘EPEL repository’?

The EPEL repository is managed by the EPEL group, which is a Special Interest Group within the Fedora Project. The ‘EPEL’ part is an abbreviation that stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux. The EPEL group creates, maintains and manages a high quality set of additional packages. These packages may be software not included in the core repository, or sometimes updates which haven’t been provided yet.

The EPEL repository can be used with the following Linux Distributions:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • CentOS
  • Scientific Linux
  • Oracle Linux

Enabling the EPEL repo

Enabling the EPEL repo will differ slightly depending on which OS you are enabling it from. Overall the installation process for EPEL should be pretty straight forward, there are some distros that make it even easier though! At Liquid Web the only distributions that this will apply to is CentOS; however we’ll also cover the process for RHEL.

Pre-flight Check:
  • These instructions were created with Liquid Web servers in mind.
  • Root level command line access via SSH will be necessary to follow along.

Installing EPEL on CentOS via yum

By far CentOS is the easiest distro to install EPEL on. The CentOS distribution includes a repo called ‘CentOS Extras’ by default. Within this repo users can find a EPEL package, so in this case enabling EPEL is as easy as installing any other package.

  1. Connect to the server via SSH as the root user; or open a terminal if you’re working locally.
  2. Install the EPEL repository with the following command: sudo yum install epel-release
  3. Confirm your work and refresh the repo list by running: sudo yum repolist

Essentially once you’re logged in as the root user, just run the following command:

sudo yum install epel-release

Example of CLI output from installing EPEL repository on CentOS - currently showing the confirmation dialog.

Once you hit enter Yum will do some work and prompt you with a confirmation dialog. once you confirm the install and hit enter it will complete the install process for you. That’s it, it’s really that simple.

If, for whatever reason, your version of CentOS is missing the CentOS Extras repo necessary for this to work you can follow the directions below.

Installing EPEL on RHEL/CentOS/etc

If you are running a different supported distribution you can install the EPEL rep with the following method. This method should also work on CentOS if you’d like to do a manual install. First start by running the following command:

cd /tmp

Then download the rpm file for installation. The file download depends on what OS version you are using, select from the list bellow:

  • RHEL 7/CentOS 7/etc:
    wget https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
  • RHEL 6/CentOS 6/etc:
    wget https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-6.noarch.rpm
  • RHEL 5/CentOS 5/etc:
    wget https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-5.noarch.rpm

Once you’ve downloaded the EPEL rpm file for your OS version, you can now install the EPEL repository. To install the EPEL rpm run:
yum install ./epel-release-latest-*.noarch.rpm

The above command uses a wildcard (*), this allows the command to work no matter which version you are installing.
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Author Bio

About the Author: Dan Pock

Dan Pock does Technical Writing & Marketing at Liquid Web with a background in System Administration, Public Relations, and Customer Service.

His favorite things include: his cats, Oscar Boots and Dash Nouget; 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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