Essential DNF Commands for Linux Users [With Examples]

6 min

We give you a quick reference of essential DNF commands with examples in this guide.

What is DNF ?

DNF (Dandified Yum) is a package manager used in RPM-based Linux systems (RHEL, Fedora, etc.). It is a successor of the Yum package manager (Yellowdog Update Modified). The DNF package manager is efficient in performance, memory consumption and dependency resolution issues.

This package manager is one of the best package managers other than apt package manager, which is used in Ubuntu-based systems. If you compare them, well, they are both awesome and have all the identical features.

But with my experience, I feel that DNF fails lesser than apt in tricky situations. DNF handles package dependency crisis much better and differently. But that’s entirely my personal opinion.

In Brief

In case you reached this page in a hurry and have no time to read the entire article, here’s a quick summary of this page with commands in the below table, with a link to the detail section.

Check the version of DNF installed in your systemsdnf โ€“version
Help about DNFdnf help
dnf help search
List of Installed and Available Packagesdnf list
dnf list available
dnf list installed
Repository listdnf repolist
dnf repolist all
Display specific information about a packagednf info package_name
Search for any package and details about itdnf search package_name
Find which package contains a package, valuednf provides package_name
Installing packages using DNFdnf install package_name
Installing a package that you downloaded manuallydnf localinstall your_package_name.rpm
Reinstalling a packagednf reinstall package_name
Update Check and Updating your systemdnf check-update
dnf list updates
dnf update
dnf update package_name
Downgrading a packagednf downgrade package_name
Downgrade or upgrade all packagesdnf distro-sync
Uninstall a packagednf remove application_name
Group operations using DNFdnf grouplist
dnf groupinstall group_name
dnf groupremove group_name
Clean up your system using DNFdnf clean all
dnf autoremove
Find out DNF command execution historydnf history
dnf history info id_number

Now, let’s look at the above DNF commands with examples.

DNF Commands Examples

Installing DNF

This might be the rare scenario when DNF is not installed in an applicable Linux system. But if DNF is not installed in your RPM-based distribution, you can use Yum to install DNF.

yum install dnf

1. Check the version of DNF installed in your systems

The following command shows the version included in your Linux system.

dnf --version

2. Getting help with DNF

You can easily get all the necessary DNF options and command line switches using the help option.

dnf help 

For specific help, say, about installation, for example, you can pass the parameter below to show that piece of help.

dnf help search

3. List of Installed and Available Packages

The dnf list command gives you the list of installed and available packages. A little caution. Depending on your system state and internet connection, this command may take some time to execute. Because it fetches the metadata from the server.

dnf list

If you want a more specific list, you can use the available or installed switch to filter out the list. See below.

dnf list available

For the installed list, use the below command.

dnf list installed
dnf installed packages
dnf installed packages

4. Repository list using DNF

Sometimes you want to see the list of enabled repositories in your Linux systems. With the dnf repolist command, you can achieve that.

dnf repolist

So, this command gives you all the enabled repo. If you want the disabled ones as well, try below command.

dnf repolist all
Repo list using DNF
Repo list using DNF

5. Display specific information about a package

There are times when you need to find out details about a package. So, you can easily find that out using the below command.

dnf info package_name
Information about a specific package using DNF
Information about a specific package using DNF

6. Search for any package and details about it

Use the following search command to find any package and its source. Replace package_name with your own. As you can see in the below example, it highlights the package and its source. It gives you the result in two sections – when the name is precisely matched and also in the summary/description.

dnf search package_name
Search for any package using DNF
Search for any package using DNF

7. Find which package contains a package or value

Sometimes, you require finding out which packages or sources contains a particular executable or package name. Then the dnf provides command helps.

For example, if you want to find out which sources contain ifconfig, then you can find them like the example below. This is one of the best features of dnf while researching dependency problems.

dnf provides package_name
dnf provides command example
dnf provides command example

8. Installing packages using DNF

Probably the most used command is dnf install which helps to install an application or package. The command is simple.

dnf install package_name

If you want to install from a specific repo, you can use the --enablerepo switch while issuing this command.

dnf --enablerepo=epel install phpmyadmin

9. Installing a package that you downloaded manually

There are times when you manually downloaded a .rpm package locally. And you want to install. You can install the same using localinstall command with .rpm file full qualified path.

dnf localinstall your_package_name.rpm


> The above command should resolve all the dependencies while installing a target .rpm package. If not, one can issue the following command.

dnf --nogpgcheck localinstall your_package_name.rpm

> Another way to install a local .rpm package is using the dnf install command.

dnf install *.rpm

10. Reinstalling a package

Reinstalling a package is simple using the reinstallation switch of DNF.

dnf reinstall package_name

11. Update Check and Updating your system

In an RPM-based system (such as Fedora, Red Hat Linux, etc.), the DNF package manager primarily handles the update. The following four commands take care of various update scenarios, as explained below.

The check-update option checks for all the updates available for your system. This option also takes a package name in its parameter. However, if no package name is specified, then it checks for updates for all installed packages in your system.

dnf check-update

To list out all the updates in your Linux system, use the list option.

dnf list updates

And to install updates for your entire Linux system, issue the update option.

dnf update

You can also update a specific application or package by mentioning the package name as a parameter to the update option.

dnf update package_name

12. Downgrading a package

If you need to downgrade a package to its prior version, then you can use the downgrade option of DNF. Be very careful while issuing this command. This command erases the current version of a package and installs the highest of all the prior lower version available.

dnf downgrade package_name
Downgrading a package using DNF
Downgrading a package using DNF

13. Downgrade or upgrade all packages

The distro-sync command downgrade or upgrade all packages to the latest versions for your system enabled repos.

dnf distro-sync

14. Uninstall a package

You can uninstall or remove any application or package using the remove option of DNF.

dnf remove application_name

15. Group operations using DNF

One of the great features of RPM based system is the grouping of packages. A group is a collection of packages logically grouped together. It helps to install them all in one go by issuing a single command with the group name.

The grouplist command gives you the name of available groups.

dnf grouplist
DNF grouplist command
DNF grouplist command

And to install a group with all packages of it, use groupinstall option with the group name.

dnf groupinstall group_name

Remove a group and all the packages using the groupremove option.

dnf groupremove group_name

16. Clean up your system using DNF

To remove all the temporary files for enabled repos in your system, use the clean option with all switch.

dnf clean all

If you want to remove a specific temporary file, use the various options as outlined below.

Removes cache files for repo metadata.

dnf clean dbcache

Remove the local cookie files containing the packages’ download time signature for each repo.

dnf clean expire-cache

Removes all the repo metadata.

dnf clean metadata

Removes any cached packages.

dnf clean packages

Over time, a system consumes many applications and packages installed by the user. The following autoremove option removes all the leaf packages installed as dependencies for any user-installed applications that are no longer needed. So they can be safely removed to recover disk space.

dnf autoremove
Clean up your system using DNF
Clean up your system using DNF

17. Find out the DNF command execution history

If you want a list of all commands that have run using DNF since the beginning of a Linux system, then use the history option. This lists all the commands that issued until now.

dnf history

To view more details about a specific history, use the info option with the ID number shown in the above list. This is one of the amazing features of DNF, where you can find out exactly what happened on that particular DNF command. It contains the start and end time, who ran it, what packages were installed, and updated, etc.

dnf history info id_number
DNF history command examples
DNF history command examples

Closing Notes

I am sure you know already about most of the above DNF commands that are explained with examples. But hey, a ready reference of DNF commands is always needed when things go wrong. So, I hope this DNF commands with examples guide helps you find the DNF command you are looking for and eventually resolve your problem.

Let me know whether this helps or any commands you would like to add to this list.

Official DNF Command reference


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