How to Install Rancher Docker Container Manager on Debian

Rancher is a free and open source project that provides a management platform for Docker containers. Rancher allows us to operate Docker in production at large scale. Rancher comes with modular infrastructure services such as multi-host networking, global and local load balancing, monitoring, recovering and volume snapshots.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to install Rancher on Debian 9.


  • A server running Debian 9.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Getting Started

Before starting, it is recommended to update your APT repository to the latest version. You can do this with the following command.

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Next, restart the system to apply all the changes. Next, install required packages with the following command:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl software-properties-common -y

Once all the required packages are installed, you can proceed to the next step.

Install Docker

Rancher is based on Docker, so you will need to install Docker to your system. By default, the latest version of the Docker is not available in Debian 9 repository. So you will need to add the Docker repository to your system.

First, download and add the GPG key using the following command:

curl -fsSL | sudo apt-key add -

Next, add the Docker repository using the following command:

echo "deb [arch=amd64] $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list

Next, update the apt database with the following command:

sudo apt-get update -y

Finally, install Docker by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install docker-ce -y

Once the Docker is installed, you can verify it with the following command:

Install Rancher

Docker is now up and running, it's time to install Rancher.

You can launch Rancher server with the following command:

sudo docker run -d --restart=unless-stopped -p 8080:8080 rancher/server:stable

The above command will take a couple of minutes for Rancher server to start up. Once the Rancher image is downloaded and started successfully, you should see the following output:

stable: Pulling from rancher/server
bae382666908: Pull complete 
29ede3c02ff2: Pull complete 
da4e69f33106: Pull complete 
8d43e5f5d27f: Pull complete 
b0de1abb17d6: Pull complete 
422f47db4517: Pull complete 
79d37de643ce: Pull complete 
69d13e08a4fe: Pull complete 
2ddfd3c6a2b7: Pull complete 
bc433fed3823: Pull complete 
b82e188df556: Pull complete 
dae2802428a4: Pull complete 
a6247572ea3c: Pull complete 
884c916ebae4: Pull complete 
85517c9c5365: Pull complete 
02dded9fe690: Pull complete 
fd9f433c3bc6: Pull complete 
44d91b3fea45: Pull complete 
0d463387dfeb: Pull complete 
60753c4d26f0: Pull complete 
a003892966fe: Pull complete 
Digest: sha256:42441f0128fae4d72d51f92de2049392427d462356282a46f28434332967c7e4
Status: Downloaded newer image for rancher/server:stable

Now, open your web browser and type the URL http://your-server-ip:8080, you will be redirected to the Rancher admin page as shown below:

Open Rancher admin page

Rancher doesn't configure access control by default. To configure Access control, go to the ADMIN tab and click on the Access Control, you should see the following page:

Configure Rancher access control

Here, click on the LOCAL, provide your Admin username and password, then click on the Enable Local Auth button, you should see the following page:

Enable local auth in Rancher

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