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How to add a Yum repository

There are a few different ways to add a Yum repository to your system, depending on what you need from the repository. Let's look at three different options.
Image
Yum respositories represented by clay pots of various shapes and sizes
Image by Queena Deng from Pixabay

In most scenarios, when you build out a new system, you want to keep the installation footprint as small as possible. As a result, not all repositories and packages are typically installed at that time. Fortunately, repositories can be enabled and disabled through yum at any time, and there are many different sources you can choose from.

In this example, we'll look specifically at Fedora, but the process is similar across other distributions utilizing yum.

It is always recommended you use a known repository, such as Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL), which is hosted at fedoraproject.org. Or, you might need a specific version of MySQL, which is hosted at mysql.com. There are also circumstances where you might need to add a lesser-known repository, such as remirepo.net for versions of PHP, or even host your own repository.

Once you determine which repository you need, there are several different ways to install and enable it.

Install a repository .rpm

The first is to install an .rpm with the repository information. The following command installs the EPEL repository for CentOS 8:

# yum install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm

Set up only a section of a repository

In the case of needing a specific repository, as in the case of PHP 7.2, you first need to install the repo and then disable and enable repositories using yum-config-manager as follows:

$ sudo yum -y install http://rpms.remirepo.net/enterprise/remi-release-7.rpm
$ sudo yum-config-manager --disable remi-php54
$ sudo yum-config-manager --enable remi-php72

Manually set up a repository

The last method of configuring a yum repository manually, where we create a .repo file within /etc/yum.repo.d using a text editor. In this example, we will create the repository file for MySQL 5.7:

$ nano /etc/yum.repo.d/mysql57-community.repo
[mysql57-community]
name=MySQL 5.7 Community Server
baseurl=http://repo.mysql.com/yum/mysql-5.7-community/el/7/$basearch/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-mysql

Now, let’s discuss the lines we configured. The first three lines contain the minimum information you need when creating a .repo file. The first line is the unique identifier for the section and is enclosed in []:

[mysql57-community]

Note: You can have more than section (repository) in a .repo file.

The second line in our file is the name we choose to describe the repository:

name=MySQL 5.7 Community Server

The third line is the location (baseurl) of the repository. In this case, we are using HTTP to access it:

baseurl=http://repo.mysql.com/yum/mysql-5.7-community/el/7/$basearch/

As we mentioned, the first three lines are mandatory to configure a repository. We have also configured three more options. In the first additional option, we configured the toggle enabled, where 0 is disabled and 1 is enabled:

enabled=1

In the last two lines, we configured our information related to GPG. The first of these lines is the toggle to check for GPG and the second is the location of the key you are checking against:

gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-mysql

To see a complete list of repository options, see the man page as follows:

$ man yum.conf

Now that you have your new repository configured using one of these methods, you should verify that it is configured properly using the yum-config-manager command from earlier to enable and disable PHP sections:

# yum-config-manager mysql57-community

This command returns the complete information for the repository:

[root@centos3 yum.repos.d]# yum-config-manager mysql57-community
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
================================================================================================= repo: mysql57-community ==================================================================================================
[mysql57-community]
async = True
bandwidth = 0
base_persistdir = /var/lib/yum/repos/x86_64/7
baseurl = http://repo.mysql.com/yum/mysql-5.7-community/el/7/x86_64/
cache = 0
cachedir = /var/cache/yum/x86_64/7/mysql57-community
check_config_file_age = True
compare_providers_priority = 80
cost = 1000
deltarpm_metadata_percentage = 100
deltarpm_percentage = 
enabled = True
enablegroups = True
exclude = 
failovermethod = priority
ftp_disable_epsv = False
gpgcadir = /var/lib/yum/repos/x86_64/7/mysql57-community/gpgcadir
gpgcakey = 
gpgcheck = True
gpgdir = /var/lib/yum/repos/x86_64/7/mysql57-community/gpgdir
gpgkey = file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-mysql
hdrdir = /var/cache/yum/x86_64/7/mysql57-community/headers
http_caching = all
includepkgs = 
ip_resolve = 
keepalive = True
keepcache = False
mddownloadpolicy = sqlite
mdpolicy = group:small
mediaid = 
metadata_expire = 21600
metadata_expire_filter = read-only:present
metalink = 
minrate = 0
mirrorlist = 
mirrorlist_expire = 86400
name = MySQL 5.7 Community Server
old_base_cache_dir = 
password = 
persistdir = /var/lib/yum/repos/x86_64/7/mysql57-community
pkgdir = /var/cache/yum/x86_64/7/mysql57-community/packages
proxy = False
proxy_dict = 
proxy_password = 
proxy_username = 
repo_gpgcheck = False
retries = 10
skip_if_unavailable = False
ssl_check_cert_permissions = True
sslcacert = 
sslclientcert = 
sslclientkey = 
sslverify = True
throttle = 0
timeout = 30.0
ui_id = mysql57-community/x86_64
ui_repoid_vars = releasever,
   basearch
username =

With your repository installed, you are ready to use yum to install the packages located there!

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Topics:   Linux  
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Amy Marrich

Amy Marrich is the Open Source Community and Global Training Manager at O.A.T and previously was the OpenStack Instructor at Linux Academy, a Linux System Engineer on the Platform Engineering Cloud Operations team at Rackspace. More about me

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