How to Install GUI on Ubuntu Server


The Ubuntu distribution does not support a graphical user interface (GUI) by default, instead preferring to use command-line tools for day-to-day operations. However, it is sometimes recommended to use a GUI to manage system resources and increase performance; Because some operations are easier to manage using graphical user interface tools.

This guide will mention how to install Apex GUI desktop setup on Ubuntu Server.

How to Install GUI on Ubuntu Server

You can get the GUI on Ubuntu Server

Step 1: Login to Ubuntu Server

Open Ubuntu Server by entering credentials, username and password:

The login screen will appear as shown below:

Step 2: Update the Repository

Before starting the GUI installation on Ubuntu Server, update all Ubuntu packages and repositories to refresh the system:

Step 3: Install Display Manager

Once you update, we need to install Display Manager to launch Display Server. Although GDM3 is already present in Ubuntu as the default Gnome desktop environment, the more lightweight environment makes the process smoother.

While searching, you will find many display manager tools, consider lightweight tool to select the best one. In Linux system, the demanded and top ranked tools are lightdm Or slim, You can download any of them.

we will use lightdm Tools for GUI on Ubuntu machines; Execute the following command to install LiteDM:

During installation, the configuration screen will appear; Press Enter to proceed:

Next, you will be asked to select any display manager, either to go with gdm3 (the default one) or to go with LightDM; Select LiteDM and press Enter:

This will continue to install LightDM on Ubuntu systems.

If you prefer SLiM Desktop Manager, you can also download it by running the mentioned commands in the Ubuntu terminal:

Step 4: Install the GUI on Ubuntu Server

Linux has a variety of desktop environment options and allows its users to select the most suitable one. Some of the best and top ranked are:

  1. Gnome
  2. kde plasma
  3. partner
  4. XFCE
  5. lxde

You can install all desktop environments using apt, Ubuntu's default package manager.

  1. Gnome

Typically, Ubuntu comes with a default GNOME desktop setup, but since we are running Ubuntu Server without a GUI desktop; Run the mentioned command to achieve this:

sudo apart to install ubuntu-desktop

Type y to continue the process:

Select or deselect the services you want to restart by navigating through the arrow keys and pressing the Space key; If you do not want to restart additional services, press Tab and then Enter:

Run the reboot command to restart Ubuntu Server:

After rebooting, the following LightDM screen will appear, enter the credentials (password) to access the GUI in Ubuntu Server:

You have successfully installed the GUI on Ubuntu Server; The screen will look like the following:

Other top-ranked desktop environments are:

  1. kde plasma

KDE Plasma is an open-source, convenient and user-friendly desktop environment that allows you to perform tasks smoothly. Its launcher helps the user to launch the tool easily and quickly.

To get KDE Plasma desktop on your Ubuntu Server; The following commands will be used:

sudo apart to install where-plasma-desktop

  1. partner

MATE is another light and fast desktop environment that is best suited for those who prefer traditional desktop metaphors. It is a continuation of GNOME 2 that provides a secure and reliable interface to its users.

If you want to install the MATE desktop environment on your Ubuntu Server; Execute the following commands in the Ubuntu terminal:

sudo apart to install free-mate-desktop

  1. XFCE

The main feature that makes XFCE more reliable than other desktop environments is that it consumes less CPU usage, resulting in higher performance when running multiple applications at a time. XFCE is open-source and faster than the GNOME and KDE-Plasma environments.

Install XFCE on Ubuntu Server using the given command:

sudo apart to install xfce4-session xfce4-gift

  1. lxde

LXDE is a good choice for users who need a desktop for cloud computing networks with low CPU and RAM usage. Get LXDE desktop environment on Ubuntu Server using the mentioned commands:

How to Remove GUI and Display Manager from Ubuntu Server

If you want to remove a GUI installed with Display Manager use the following syntax:

sudo delete appropriate <display-manager-name, <desktop-environment-name,

As such, if you want to remove the GNOME desktop environment from Ubuntu Server, execute the given command:

sudo remove apt lightdm ubuntu-desktop

And, to remove all unnecessary dependencies, run:

Reboot the system by running the reboot command to save the changes.


The Ubuntu system does not support a GUI by default and many users prefer to perform day-to-day operations using command-line tools. But sometimes, GUI tools provide more easy and straightforward procedures to handle the system. This guide discusses how to install the GUI setup on Ubuntu Server. The top-ranked desktop environments are mentioned along with their installation commands. Also, if you want to remove the desktop environment from Ubuntu Server, the method is described above.

Add comment

By Ranjan