FreeBSD Basic Installation

General Information

FreeBSD doesn’t have a very graphical installer like various Linux distributions. This makes installing FreeBSD a bit trickier for beginners. With this guide, you will learn how to get FreeBSD installed with a vanilla install with the mini-ISO.


  1. A FreeBSD mini-ISO burned on a CD.


  1. Insert the CD and boot from it. You will see lots of white text on a black background while it loads the installer.
  2. Once the installer loads, select Standard.
  3. Now we need to partition the drive. You can either create your own partition sizes, or have the installer do it for you. We will chose to have the installer do it so press ‘A‘ to use the whole drive and then select it and press ‘S‘ so it can be booted from. Save your changes by pressing ‘Q
  4. You will then be prompted to install some sort of boot manager. Install the FreeBSD boot manager if you want to boot into your other operating systems. For this guide, we will assume you have only FreeBSD, so select Standard.
  5. Now we need to create logical partitions and the best way is to just press ‘A‘ for the defaults and then ‘Q‘ to finish.
  6. / is called ‘root’ and this is where your system is stored.
  7. Swap is your virtual memory. It should be about twice your physical RAM.
  8. /var is for various log files and some configuration files.
  9. /tmp is for temporary items.
  10. /usr is where everything else is stored.
  11. After you get your drive partitioned, we get to choose what packages we want to install. Let’s choose Developer so we will have the utilities to build packages, just in case. If you want to install the GUI, select Developer + X Window System.
  12. Choose ‘Yes‘ to install the ports collection because this is one of FreeBSD’s package managers.
  13. Then exit.
  14. You can either choose to install FreeBSD from an FTP server or from your CD. Since the CD will be faster, we’ll choose it.
  15. Now we just sit back and wait about 10 minutes for the installer to do its thing.


Now that the system is installed, we need to do some final configurations. This guide assumes you will be connecting to the Internet through a network.

  1. Select ‘Yes‘ to configure your network devices.
  2. Select your network interface card from the list. Then choose ‘No‘ to using IPv6.
  3. If you are connected to a DHCP server, choose ‘Yes‘ to the question, otherwise choose ‘No‘ and enter your network settings.
  4. Every computer needs a name and that goes in the hostname spot. Then enter your domain and make sure the other settings are correct and select ‘OK
  5. Choose ‘No‘ to being a network gateway and to enabling inetd.
  6. Anonymous FTP access is up to you.
  7. Choose ‘No‘ to being an NFS server and client and moderate security is fine.
  8. You will then be asked to set various settings, such as your time zone. They should all be self-explanatory.
  9. Now you have the option to enable Linux binary compatibility. We will choose ‘Yes‘ because this allows us to install and run Linux applications.
  10. You can choose to browse the collection of software packages now and install what you want, or install them later. We will not browse the collection at this time.
  11. You will want to set up an initial user account instead of using the ‘root’ account, otherwise you might accidentally destroy your system. The Login ID is the username. If you want to allow the user to su to root (UNIX basics can be found in a different guide), you will want to add them to the ‘wheel‘ group.
  12. When you are finished with adding user accounts, it is time to set the root (administrator) password.
  13. Now exit the installer to reboot the system.

Congratulations, you now have FreeBSD installed!! You can go on to update your ports tree and make sure your installed ports are up-to-date.

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