How to Get Debian Without Navigating the Debian Website

Debian is one of the oldest Linux distributions and definitely one of the biggest. Without Debian there wouldn't be Ubuntu.

The trouble is that for the average person, trying to get a raw base version of Debian installed on their computer can be a tricky affair.

Getting Debian

The website is a massive monolithic beast with more options than the average mind can handle. has just about everything Debian, which can be completely overwhelming.

On that page there is a heading called "Getting Debian". There are 4 links available:

  • network install
  • CD/USB ISO images
  • CD vendors
  • Pre-installed

Most people will probably go for the CD/USB image as that is what you would select for every other distribution. If you click on the CD/USB ISO images you will end up at their CD page.

You now have options to buy a CD, download with Jigdo, download via bittorrent, download via http/ftp or download live images via http/ftp.

If you go for the buy a CD option you are provided with a list of nations and click on a nation will provide a list of official Debian resellers. 

The Jigdo method requires downloading a piece of software which then lets you download Debian. The trouble is trying to get it working under Windows is very tricky and according to the website, this method is preferable to using HTTP and FTP.

Using the bittorrent is a potential option but requires a bittorrent client. You will end up at their torrent webpage if you select the bittorrent option.

You are now provided with a choice of CD or DVD images and there are links for every conceivable architecture. 

The average person you will need either the i386 image if you are on an older 32-bit computer or the AMD 64 image if you are using a 64-bit computer. 

If you click on the AMD link for CD images you will end up on this page. You now have a list of about 30 different files to choose from.

We're am not finished yet. If you prefer to use the traditional HTTP/FTP method (which is not the recommended option according to the Debian site) you will end up their http/ftp page.

You are again provided with a choice of CD or DVD images and a list of links for every conceivable architecture. If you scroll down you can also choose from a lost of mirror websites but be warned the images might be out of date on these sites.

There are even links on this page to choose between the stable image or the testing image. It really is all too much.  This is a quick and easy guide for getting Debian without negotiating that website alone and without a tour guide.

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Buy a Debian DVD or USB Drive the Easy Way

screenshot of OSDisc website


By far the easiest way to get Debian is to buy a DVD or USB drive.

You can, of course, use Debian's list of preferred providers or you can use which has a very easy to navigate site with a simple list of options.

Using you can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit DVDs and USB drives. You can also choose whether you want the full set of DVDs or a live DVD to try Debian out a minimal cost. You even have a choice of preferred live desktops.

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Download a Live ISO Image

Screenshot of a Download A Live Debian ISO


There are three versions of Debian available:

  • Stable
  • Testing
  • Unstable

The unstable is very cutting edge and has all the latest changes but will also be buggy. I would personally steer clear of this for everyday use.

The stable version is generally older but is, of course, less likely to turn your computer into a paperweight.

The testing version is the one many people choose as it provides a nice balance between newer features whilst not having too many bugs.

It is highly likely that you will want to test Debian before committing to it full time and so downloading a full 4.7 gigabytes is probably something you won't want to do.

Visit this page to see all the download options for the stable branch of Debian

Visit this page to see all the download options for the testing branch of Debian.

For 64-bit computers:

For 32-bit computers:

When you have the ISO image downloaded you can use a program such as Win32 Disk Imager to burn the image to a USB drive or you can burn the ISO to a DVD using disc burning software.

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The Network Install Option

Screenshot of the Debian Site


Another way to try Debian is to use virtualisation software such as Oracle's Virtualbox or if you are already using Fedora or openSUSE with the GNOME desktop then you might like to try Boxes.

The Network Install version of Debian can be downloaded directly from the Debian homepage.

There is a little box in the top right corner that says "download Debian 7.8". This is a link to the stable version of Debian. 

You can then use the virtualisation software to create a virtual version of Debian without messing up your current operating system.

If you want to install Debian over the top of your current operating system again use the Win32 Disk Imager to create a bootable USB drive.

The beauty of the network install is that you choose the features you want to have during the installation such as the desktop, whether you want a web server installed and the software features you require.

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Download One of These Great Debian Based Distributions

Makulu Linux


Using the base install of Debian might not be the best move for people new to Linux.

There are other Linux distributions which use Debian as a base but make the installation far easier.

The obvious starting point is Ubuntu and if that is not your thing try Linux Mint or Xubuntu.

Other great options are SolydXK (SolydX for XFCE or SolydK for KDE), Makulu Linux, SparkyLinux and Knoppix. 

There are literally dozens of distributions that use Debian as a base and as many again that use Ubuntu as a base which is itself based on Debian.

Closing Thoughts

Debian is a truly great distribution but the website just provides too many options. People who are new to Linux might find it easier to try a distribution based on Debian rather than Debian itself but for those who wish to remain with Debian can easily get hold of a copy by either buying a DVD or USB, downloading a live CD or trying out the network install.