Ubuntu Advantage and ESM for the personal user

An Ubuntu release’s support cycle goes through three stages:


Long term support (standard support) -> Extended security maintenance -> End of life

Standard Support for the personal user

‘Standard support’ refers to the ‘business as usual’ period of an Ubuntu release when it is within its support window. Releases such as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS receive standard support for five years, this is known as ‘long term support’ (LTS), while interim releases, like Ubuntu 21.04, receive standard support for 9 months.

Standard support means the release receives all the patches, updates, and feature improvements you can expect from a supported Ubuntu release. It also means the release is considered to have ‘community support’. This is possible because the packages in the ‘universe’ repository receive fixes and updates directly from our contributors from the community. Furthermore, if personal users have issues, they are encouraged to raise their problems with the community in the Forums, Ask Ubuntu, on IRC, and in other various places where the community lives.

Note: this is different to commercial support which provides phone service and a ticketing system. ‘Community support’ is provided by volunteer members of the community out of their own good will. There is no guarantee that your issue or problem will be addressed.

ESM for the personal user

The ‘ESM’ stage means the release has reached the end of its standard support cycle and qualifies for ‘Extended Security Maintenance’ (ESM). Only LTS releases qualify for ESM. For the duration of the ESM stage users can continue to receive security updates for the Ubuntu base OS in the ‘main’ package repository by subscribing to ESM.

It is recommended that when your release reaches the end of its support cycle that you upgrade to the latest Ubuntu LTS release. Even if you get ESM most ‘new’ software won’t support old libraries. A helpful way to think of ESM is as an extension of time for you to upgrade to a newer release, or to keep legacy solutions running until a replacement is found.

Personal users can receive ESM for free for up to 3 systems (50 if you are an official Ubuntu member). To obtain commercial support with ESM or to receive ESM for more systems than you can get for free you must engage with Canonical and purchase Ubuntu Advantage.

To register as a personal user for ESM you must register for a subscription to Ubuntu Advantage Essential:

What's included


Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS & Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Learn more

Kernel Livepatch service to avoid reboots

FIPS 140-2 Level 1 certified crypto modules

Common Criteria EAL2

Ubuntu systems management with Landscape

Certified Windows drivers for KVM guests

Phone and ticket support



Security updates


Security updates


Security updates


Security updates

Once a release is in its ESM cycle, i.e it reaches the end of its standard support cycle, it is no longer considered to have ‘community support’. Personal users who want to continue using a release after the standard support time has ended are encouraged to use the free ESM options, a commercial option, or to upgrade to a newer Ubuntu LTS release which still has standard support and thus also community support.

Note: the same definitions apply to how ESM affects snaps and snap publishers but there is more information on how to migrate and manage snap bases reaching the end of standard support on the blog.

EOL for the personal user

‘End of life’ (EOL) means the ESM period has ended and the release no longer receives any patches or security updates even with the purchase of ESM. The ‘community support’ for EOL releases should have come to a close years before. If you are still using a release that is considered EOL you should upgrade your system to a later release. We recommend the most recent LTS release.


supportperiod (last edited 2021-05-05 20:40:15 by rhys-davies)