Tip of the Trade: apt-proxy

By Carla Schroder (Send Email)
Posted Jan 23, 2007

If you're running more than one Debian or Ubuntu computer on your network, you can speed up downloads and updates considerably by using a local package mirror. Packages need only be downloaded once to be available to all of your local clients.

Creating a local Debian mirror is a snap with apt-proxy.

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apt-proxy makes it easy to set up your own local mirror. All you do is install it in the usual way, with apt-get install apt-proxy, then configure the other Debian or Ubuntu hosts to use it instead of remote package repositories. apt-proxy does not create a complete Debian mirror — this would require about 30 gigabytes of storage for a single processor type, about 100 gigabytes for the whole works, and significant time and bandwidth to keep it updated. apt-proxy is a caching proxy, so whenever one of your local machines installs a new package, apt-proxy caches it to serve future local requests for the same package.

apt-proxy is pretty smart and and efficient. You can import the contents of your existing apt cache to give it a good start. It automatically keeps its archive current, and weeds out old junk. It listens to port 9999, so clients must have their /etc/apt/sources.list files configure to use it like this:

deb http://[local-server]:9999/debian stable main contrib non-free
deb-src http://[local-server]:9999/debian stable main contrib non-free
deb http://[local-server]:9999/security stable/updates main contrib non-free

apt-proxy is completely configurable to use any remote repositories and update at specified intervals. You can also limit its download bandwidth. Visit apt-proxy.sourceforge.net for more information.

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