Proxmox part 1: Installation and Setup

Updated November 22, 2023 5 minutes

This post will detail how to install proxmox and perform the initial configuration. This is an abbreviated supplement to the main Proxmox install guide

Hardware requirements

  • x86_64 CPU architecture (Intel and/or AMD 64 bit)
    • VT-x (hardware acceleration for virtualization)
    • VT-d or “directed IO”, for PCI passthrough support (optional)
  • Wired ethernet for your LAN/WAN

Download Proxmox VE .iso image

Download the latest Proxmox VE release here

Write the image to a USB drive with dd or a tool like UNetbootin


Boot the USB drive installer in the target machine.

The proxmox installer boot menu
The proxmox installer boot menu

Choose Install Proxmox VE (Graphical)

Click the Target Options button, and change the Filesystem:

  • If you have one drive, choose zfs (RAID0)
  • If you have two drives available, choose zfs RAID1 mirror
  • If you have three or more, choose zfs RAIDZ-1.

Use this ZFS size calculator to play around with various configurations.

Hard Disk Options, showing zfs RAID0 selected
Hard Disk Options, showing zfs RAID0 selected
  • Select your Country, Time zone, and Keyboard layout.
  • Choose a root password
  • Enter your real email address, so that you receive notifications. (TODO: Requires setup of SMTP server later)
Network configuration, including Hostname, IP address, Gateway, and DNS
Network configuration, including Hostname, IP address, Gateway, and DNS
  • Choose the primary / management network interface (NIC)

  • Choose the fully qualified domain (host) name

  • Set a static IP address (and reserve it with your LAN DHCP server, using the MAC address).

  • Enter the upstream LAN gateway IP address.

  • Enter the upstream LAN DNS server IP address.

  • Finish the installation

  • Reboot

Login to the proxmox dashboard

  • Once the machine has rebooted, you will see the URL (and IP address) to access the dashboard printed on the console.
  • Load the URL in your web browser, login with the username root and the password you chose during installation.

Setup SSH keys and secure properly

SSH is enabled by default, and you can login with the username root and the password is the password you chose during install. Because passwords are less secure than SSH keys, that’s the next step: to install your SSH key, and disable password authentication.

Create an SSH host entry in your workstation’s $HOME/.ssh/config file:

Host proxmox
    Hostname 192.168.X.X
    User root

(Change the Hostname 192.168.X.X to be the IP address of your Proxmox virtual machine.)

If you have not created an SSH identity on this workstation, you will need to run ssh-keygen.

  • From your workstation, run ssh-copy-id proxmox, which will ask you to confirm the ssh key fingerprint, and for your remote password (chosen during install) to login to the Proxmox server via SSH. It will copy your SSH key to the server’s authorized_keys file, which will allow all future logins to be by key based authentication, instead of by password.
  • SSH to the Proxmox host, run ssh proxmox. Ensure that no password is required (except perhaps for unlocking your key file). You will now be in the root account of Proxmox, be careful!
  • You need to edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. The text editors nano and vi are installed by default, or you can install other editors, for example apt install emacs-nox.
  • Disable password authentication - search for the line that says PasswordAuthentication yes, which will be commented out with #. Remove the # to un-comment the line, and change the yes to a no.
  • Save /etc/ssh/sshd_config and close the editor.
  • Restart ssh, run: systemctl restart sshd
  • Exit the SSH session, and test logging in and out again still works, using your SSH key.
  • To test that PasswordAuthentication is really turned off, you can attempt to SSH again, with a bogus username, one that you know does not really exist:
$ ssh hunter1@proxmox-k3s-1
hunter1@ Permission denied (publickey).

The attempt should immediately fail and say Permission denied (publickey), and if it also does not ask you for a password, then you have successfully turned off password authentication.

Disable Enterprise features and enable Community repository (optional)

Nag screen which says No valid subscription
Nag screen which says No valid subscription

By default, Proxmox expects that you are an enterprise, and that you have an enterprise license for Proxmox. If you do, skip this section. However, you may also use the Proxmox community version, without a license (and it is the same .iso image installer and method for both versions.) To switch between these versions, you must use different apt package repositories. If you wish to use Proxmox exclusively with the Community, non-enterprise version, follow the rest of this section.

  • You will see a warning message No valid subscription, which will nag you on each login unless you purchase an enterprise edition of Proxmox. Click OK to freely use the community version.
  • On the left-hand side of the screen, find the Server View list, click the Proxmox host in the list.
  • Find the Updates and Repositories screen on the Node details screen.
  • Find the pve-enterprise repository in the list, and click it.
  • Click the Disable button at the top of the list.
  • You will see a message that says No Proxmox VE repository is enabled.
  • Click Add, it will nag you about the license again, just click OK.
  • Select No-Subscription in the Repository drop-down list, click Add.
  • You should now expect to to see this warning message: The no-subscription repository is not recommended for production use.
Setting up the No-Subscription repository
Setting up the No-Subscription repository

Setup Firewall

By default the proxmox instance has an open firewall, but this can be made more secure to only accept connections from specific sources, for example to lock down to only being accessed from your workstation. This is particularly important to do if you chose to use the bridge network selection, in virt-manager when you created the VM.

  • In the Server View list, click the line that says Datacenter.
  • On the datacenter screen, find the Firewall settings.
  • Click the Add button to add firewall rules.
  • There are default anti-lockout rules for port 22 and 8006, but only acessible from the same subnet. You should create your own rules for these ports so that you don’t lock yourself out.
Firewall explicit anti-lockout rules for SSH and the Dashboard
Firewall explicit anti-lockout rules for SSH and the Dashboard

The firewall is turned off by default. To enable the firewall, find the Firewall Options submenu page, on the new screen double-click Firewall (value No) at the top of the list. In the popup window, checkmark the box to enable the firewall, then click OK. (The Firewall value should now show Yes).

Turn on the Firewall in the Options
Turn on the Firewall in the Options

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This blog is copyright EnigmaCurry and dual-licensed CC-BY-SA and MIT. The source is on github: enigmacurry/ and PRs are welcome. ❤️