Ubuntu has nearly 350 server locations all over the world, through which it delivers updates to its few millions users. While installing Ubuntu, it’ll automatically choose a server based on your location, so in theory you really don’t have to worry at all. However the nearest server may not always be the fastest or most reliable, and if there’s indeed a better server somewhere else, you’ve every right to receive updates from that.
Switching servers in Ubuntu is pretty easy. Under System > Administration, go to “Software Sources. (The location of Software Sources has changed in Ubuntu 10.10, which is yet to released at the time of this writing. If you’re using Ubuntu 10.10 or later, you will find it under Ubuntu Software Center instead.)
Here, you’ll find a “Download from:” option, with a suitable server chosen for you. As you’d expect, mine is set to India. To change the server, click on the dropdown menu and choose “Other”.
A new window with all of Ubuntu’s download servers will appear. To choose the best server, all you’ve to do is to click on, well, “Select Best Server”.
Ubuntu will start pinging the servers, do some tests, and will finally jump to the server that it finds best.
Do note that every time you run this test, a different server may be picked up, depending on which one responded best during that time. Therefore I’d recommend you to carry this out at least 5-10 times, and pick the server that’s selected the most number of times. If a different server gets picked up every time, just pick one of those randomly! After deciding your server, click on “Choose Server”.
When you close the Software Sources window, you will asked to reload the software information. This is to verify whether the software information on your PC matches with that one the new server or not. Click the Reload button, wait for Ubuntu to download a few files, and close it.
As you can see, switching your update servers in Ubuntu is quite easy, and this can help you get trouble-free updates in future.
We have had pretty meager coverage of Ubuntu on PC Tonic, but you can expect more of these posts now that I am rocking an Ubuntu powered netbook. Stay tuned.