Ubuntu – Apt-get update fails to fetch files, “Temporary failure resolving …” error

apt

Err http://archive.canonical.com natty InRelease    
Err http://security.ubuntu.com oneiric-security InRelease               
Err http://extras.ubuntu.com natty InRelease                            
Err http://security.ubuntu.com oneiric-security Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘security.ubuntu.com’
Err http://archive.canonical.com natty Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘archive.canonical.com’
Err http://extras.ubuntu.com natty Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘extras.ubuntu.com’
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com oneiric InRelease
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com oneiric-updates InRelease
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com natty-backports InRelease
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com oneiric Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com oneiric-updates Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’
Err http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com natty-backports Release.gpg
  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’

Reading package lists... Done
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric/InRelease      
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-updates/InRelease  
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/natty-backports/InRelease  
W: Failed to fetch http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-security/InRelease  
W: Failed to fetch http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/dists/natty/InRelease  
W: Failed to fetch http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/natty/InRelease  
W: Failed to fetch http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/dists/natty/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘archive.canonical.com’
W: Failed to fetch http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-security/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘security.ubuntu.com’
W: Failed to fetch http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/natty/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘extras.ubuntu.com’
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-updates/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’
W: Failed to fetch http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/natty-backports/Release.gpg  Temporary failure resolving ‘gb.archive.ubuntu.com’
W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

This is what I'm seeing when I try to run sudo apt-get update. I did an update on my instance yesterday and am now experiencing this.

Best Answer

  • overview

    There are two parts to your question:

    • fixing temporary resolve messages
    • fixing the package management issues

    Temporary resolve

    It is likely that this issue is either:

    • temporary due to your Internet Service Provider not correctly forwarding internet naming (DNS) to either its or external DNS servers, or
    • due to a change in your network has similarly blocked this naming - for example, new router/modem, reconfiguring a switch with a new configuration.

    Lets look at the possible DNS resolving issues.

    First, temporarily add a known DNS server to your system.

    echo "nameserver 8.8.8.8" | sudo tee /etc/resolv.conf > /dev/null
    

    Then run sudo apt-get update.

    If this fixes your temporary resolving messages then either wait for 24 hours to see if your ISP fixes the issue for you (or just contact your ISP) - or you can permanently add a DNS server to your system:

    echo "nameserver 8.8.8.8" | sudo tee /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/base > /dev/null
    

    8.8.8.8 is Google's own DNS server.

    source

    Another example DNS server you could use is OpenDNS - for example:

    echo "nameserver 208.67.222.222" | sudo tee /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d/base > /dev/null
    

    package-management issues

    In addition to the temporary resolve issues - you have a few package management issues that need to be corrected - I'm assuming you have tried recently to upgrade from one Ubuntu version to the next recommended version - in your case from Natty (11.04) to Oneiric (11.10)

    Open a terminal and type

    sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
    

    Look for lines that have your a different distribution name in the list than you were expecting - in your case - you have upgraded to oneiric but you have another release name natty

    For example, look for lines that look like deb http:/archive.canonical.com/ natty backports

    Add a # to the beginning of the line to comment it out - for example

    #deb http:/archive.canonical.com/ natty backports

    Save and re-run:

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
    

    You should not have any more release naming errors.

    At the time of writing this, possible common release names include lucid, maverick, natty, oneiric, precise, quantal, raring, saucy, trusty, utopic and vivid.