How to install R on Ubuntu 20.04

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R is an open source programming language and free environment that specializes in statistical calculations and graphical representations. It is mainly used by statisticians and data miners to develop statistical software and perform data analysis.

This article describes the steps required to install R on Ubuntu 20.04.


Make sure you meet the following requirements before proceeding with this tutorial:

  • Your system has at least 1 GB of RAM. Otherwise, create a page file.
  • You are logged in as a user with sudo rights.

Install R on Ubuntu

The R packages contained in the standard Ubuntu repositories are often out of date. We install R from the CRANE

To install R on Ubuntu 20.04, do the following:

  1. Install the dependencies required to add a new repository over HTTPS:

    sudo apt install dirmngr gnupg apt-transport-https ca-certificates software-properties-common
  2. Add the CRAN repository to your list of system sources:

    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9sudo add-apt-repository 'deb focal-cran40/'
  3. Install R by typing:

    sudo apt install r-base
  4. The installation can take a few minutes. When you’re done, check it out by printing out the R version:

    R --version
    R version 4.0.1 (2020-06-06) -- "See Things Now"
    Copyright (C) 2020 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing
    Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit)

That’s it, R has been installed on your Ubuntu computer and you are ready to use it.

Compiling R packages

One of the main reasons R is so popular is because of the wide variety of packages available through the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

To be able to compile R packages, you must have the build-essential

sudo apt install build-essential

For demonstration purposes, we’ll install a package called stringr

, which provides quick, correct implementations of common string manipulations.

When starting as root, the packages are installed globally and are available to all system users. If you start R without sudo
, a personal library is set up for your user.

Open the R console:


Install that stringr Package by entering:


The installation will take some time and when done, load the library with:


Create a simple drawing vector called tutorial:

tutorial <- c("How", "to", "Install", "R", "on", "Ubuntu", "20.04")

Run the following function that returns the length of a string:

[1] 3 2 7 1 2 6 5

You can find more R packages at Available CRAN packages by name
and install it with install.packages().

Instead of compiling the R packages, you can install them as Debian packages from the cran2deb4ubuntu


We showed you how to install R on Ubuntu 20.04 and how to compile R packages.

If you run into any problem or have any feedback, please leave a comment below.