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  • Writer's pictureShannon

Update Unifi Dream Machine via SSH

In keeping with my recent UniFi theme, I wanted to take some time out and showcase that you can update your UDM Base or Pro via SSH. I'm not even going to lie and say my journey onto the UDM Base has been easy, because as soon as 1.9.X wound up pushed, I've been scrambling to maintain network sanity at home.

I normally wait until the web GUI tells me I have outdated firmware, but the lack of consistency with these newer builds has forced me to update as soon as there's a new firmware update available. AND GUESS WHAT'S AVAILABLE? 1.10.0! I'm always game to update software and sort of streamline better networking efficiencies (or update and revert if something is unusable). I noticed I still have to occasionally reboot my UDM base running 1.9.3 because the web interface will become flakey over time and I'd like to leave my device alone as much as possible to do its job. If you are reading this post and you've also had flakey web GUI issues that you've resolved, drop me a line and let me know what you did. It's possible I may have tripped things up a bit (although I'm not sure how, but I'm willing to hear you out with what's been done that helped your setup).

The beauty is you can update your device at any time via SSH. Turning on SSH for the UDM Pro or Base is a bit weird (at least this is my opinion), but I walked you through how to configure that in an earlier post.

Once you've turned on SSH, you're ready for action. The first step is to examine the downloads section on the UniFi site. Make sure you're looking at the UniFi product line at the top of the firmware download site. From there, you should see the UniFi product line show up on the left hand side. Search for UniFi Dream Machine (note when you see it listed that way, it's the base only model) or the UniFi Dream Machine Pro, dependent upon the model you own. Something extra to note: UniFi Dream Machine may be abbreviated as UDM.

I have the UDM Base, so I'm looking to grab the firmware released on 7/9/2021 (I know, I'm a trail blazer) and upgrade my home machine. Here goes nothing!

First, let's SSH into your UDM Base or Pro by typing in the following command:

# ssh in with root user account and UDM IP address:
ssh [email protected]

Once you supply root's password, you should be greeted with the following screen, which indicates your login was successful:

After you log in, you'll manually upgrade using the ubnt cli if you're upgrading faster than the web GUI indicates (something to stress here - if you're not deep in IT, you're not willing to troubleshoot, and/or factory reset, I'd recommend to leave your environment alone until the web GUI indicates you have a firmware version ready for an update). You'll also need the firmware URL from the UniFi download page. For 1.10.0, that URL is located here (I have a UDM Base, the UDM Pro link is here). You get to that link by clicking on the downward arrow at the top right of the UniFi download page for your product:

After you select the arrow, you may be shown a EULA dialogue prompt. Select I Accept and you will be presented with the download link, followed by Copy URL. Select Copy URL for the manual upgrade from the command line:

Move back to your SSH prompt. Type in the following command:


Here's how it looks in the command prompt when you're SSH'd into your UDM:

At this point, simply press on that good ol' ENTER key and let the device work its magic! You should start to see verbose flags as the software installs (similar to what I highlight below). The device will download the file, verify the checksum, then the device will apply/upgrade your firmware. Somewhere in the mix of that, your connection should close (and that's completely normal):

From there (at least with the UDM Base), you'll see the device reboot and lights flicker for a bit. After a few minutes, you should hear the bells chime and you should find your device accessible via the web login screen. Once you can successfully log in, verify the firmware version of your UDM. You do so by selecting UniFi Devices (looks like a UniFi WAP that's usually ceiling mounted), then you'll select your UniFi Dream Machine, and when the pane pops out on the right, check the version:

All in, this has been a great way to upgrade my UDM after it randomly applied 1.9.0 a number of months back EVEN THOUGH I had it set to not auto upgrade ANY firmware. Ubiquiti's products are considered enterprise grade, but they even have problems from time to time with firmware versions. As a hobbyist, I don't mind tinkering and bringing my network back to a workable state. I know a lot of us are hobbyist Ubiquiti geeks...hopefully this post helps you out! Cheers!

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