dnf Update Vs Upgrade [Which One Is Better]

dnf refers to the Dandified Yum which is an updated version of the yum package manager. This front-end package manager is used widely in Red-hat-based Linux distros such as Red-hat Linux, CentOS, Fedora, etc. With the dnf update, the packages can be updated to their latest versions available in the repository. Moreover, the dnf upgrade command not only updates the installed packages but also removes or replaces the old version by resolving dependency conflicts. To know more about dnf update vs upgrade, keep reading this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing about dnf package manager.
  • Knowing the differences between dnf update and upgrade.
  • Learning about how to use dnf update
  • Learning about how to use dnf upgrade


  • Must be a root user to avail of sudo privileges.
  • Must be registered in a Red-hat-based

What Is dnf?

dnf is the next-generation version of the Yum package manager used in Red-hat Linux derivatives. This popular package manager handles package operations such as install, uninstall, update, upgrade, and so on. It has an enhanced dependency resolution algorithm which offers better performance to resolve dependency conflicts. Moreover, it will save your disk space as it occupies less memory to synchronize the metadata of the packages. Automatic bug-fixing capacity also takes this package manager to another level.

What Does ‘dnf update’ Do?

dnf update checks the repositories containing the modern versions of software packages. It compares the version number of the packages stored in the repository with the installed packages. The main tasks of the dnf update command are as follows:

  1. Updates Packages: When you run the dnf update command, it will download the updates and install them on your Linux system keeping all the dependency and configuration files intact. Moreover, it ensures that you have all the modern features available to fix bugs and you have more secure packages by updating the package lists.
  2. Resolves Dependencies: It is a great dependency resolver. While updating, many dependency conflicts may occur. However, the dnf update command solves all the issues by removing or installing dependencies on your Linux system.
  3. Removes No Packages: While updating packages, it will not remove any packages from your system. It does not create any unwanted problems and ensures that it updates only the existing packages.

What Does ‘dnf upgrade’ Do?

This command is used to do a similar task as the dnf update does but it is more aggressive in nature. It updates packages to their latest version available in the repository. Sometimes, the OS system can be broken due to its aggressive behavior. To resolve dependency issues, it deletes the obsolete packages to install a newer one. Be cautious before using this command.

  1. Installs and Updates Packages: This command installs the new version packages and updates them by replacing the old ones. Also, it gives better security and updates by removing unnecessary packages.
  2. Resolves Dependencies: Dependency resolution is one of the most efficient tasks done by this command. It can install required dependencies like dnf update. Since upgrading the existing package list is mandatory before the upgrade operation, it installs the dnf update and updates the packages.
  3. Removes Packages: It can remove any obsolete package if the package is no longer required. Additionally, it can replace the existing packages. In this case, it shows different characteristics than dnf update.

dnf update Vs dnf upgrade

There are some significant differences between dnf update vs upgrade. Go through this section to know them:

dnf update dnf upgrade
This command is used to update installed packages. dnf upgrade is used to upgrade installed packages.
During an upgrade, it doesn’t remove older version packages. Ability to remove the older version package while upgrading.
It doesn’t alter package dependency. Package dependency can be altered with this command.
dnf update command does not break the system. This command may break the system sometimes.
Less powerful than the dnf upgrade. More powerful than the update command.

How Does ‘dnf update’ Work?

This command is used to update the packages in the Red-hat-based Linux distro. It has a modern codebase that can fix all the unwanted issues. Let’s know the process of updating packages.

Steps to Follow >

➊ Open the Red-hat terminal.

➋ Write the following command to update the package version:

sudo dnf update
  • sudo: Provides administrative privileges.
  • dnf: Advanced version of yum package manager, used to manage packages in Red-hat-based Linux.
  • update: Updates packages to their recent version.

updating packages using dnf update command

The old packages will be upgraded to the latest versions available after running this command.

typing y to complete the process

Now, type ‘y’ and press ENTER to complete the upgrading process.

How Does ‘dnf upgrade’ Work?

dnf upgrade basically upgrade packages by removing or replacing the existing packages. Here, I will explain the step-by-step process of this operation. Check the steps below:

Steps to Follow >

➊ Open the Red-hat terminal.

➋ Write this command to upgrade the package version using dnf upgrade:

sudo dnf upgrade
  • upgrade: Upgrades installed packages by replacing or removing the old ones.

upgrading packages using dnf upgrade

After that, type ‘y’ to the prompt and press ENTER to continue the procedure.

typing yes to continue the process

The packages will be upgraded as soon as you type y.

Choosing Between DNF Update and DNF Upgrade

If you are asked to choose one between these two commands, you can pick the dnf update command to update the installed packages to their newer versions. As dnf upgrade shows quite harsh behavior during the upgrade process like removing the existing packages or dependencies. In this case, to avoid any unwanted errors choosing dnf update is the best option I think. Otherwise, for upgrading packages by removing the unnecessary ones, or if you can take this much risk, you can go for the dnf upgrade command.

Comparative Analysis of dnf Update and Upgrade

In this comparative analysis section, I will list some benefits and drawbacks of using dnf update and upgrade.

Commands Pros Cons
dnf update
  • Updates security systems.
  • Fixes bugs and offers exciting features.
  • Improves performance.
  • May change configurations.
  • Occupies storage space.
  • Requires higher bandwidth.
dnf upgrade
  • Provides additional features.
  • Protects computers from security threats.
  • Susceptible to breakage.
  • Dependency changes.

I hope this table assists you in finding the best command according to your preferences. Hear me out if you are confused as they do almost similar tasks. If you don’t want to take a risk, choose dnf update command. Otherwise, go for dnf upgrade to upgrade a package ignoring all the dependency conflicts completely.


Here, I have explored two different commands of Red-hat-based derivatives such as red-hat Linux. Each command has some conditions and risks to apply for upgrading packages. Additionally, I have cleared the confusion of which one is better by presenting the pros and cons and a detailed analysis of each command. Read every step carefully to avoid any unwanted occurrences.

People Also Ask

How do I check for dnf updates?
You can check for updates on your Linux system by using the ‘dnf check-update’ command. The ‘check-update’ command searches for any updates for the predetermined packages.
Is DNF better than apt?
Actually, dnf package manager is the updated manager in red-hat Linux. On the other hand, apt it the Debian-based package manager. DNF is the modern version package manager so it is better than other managers in Red-hat.
What is the benefit of DNF?
Ii is better dependency resolver. Additionally, it shows good performance and better security system.

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Mitu Akter Mou

Hello, This is Mitu Akter Mou, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO for the Linuxsimply project. I hold a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET). Experiencing new stuff and gathering insights from them seems very happening to me. My goal here is to simplify the life of Linux users by making creative articles, blogs, and video content for all of them. Read Full Bio

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