How to install Asterisk on Debian

How to install Asterisk on Debian

Asterisk is a free and open source framework for building communications applications.
Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a communications server. Asterisk powers IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers and is used by small businesses, large businesses, call centers, carriers and governments worldwide.
Today we will install Asterisk on Debian. All required packages will be installed via apt, but Asterisk will be installed from source. Let’s see how to install Asterisk on Debian 🙂

First let’s change directory to /usr/src

# cd /usr/src/

Let’s install the software dependencies for a basic Asterisk installation:

# apt-get install libxml2-dev libsqlite3-dev libncurses5-dev libssl-dev openssl-dev newt-dev uuid-dev

It’s the time to grab Asterisk, and then unpack it to /usr/src

# wget

# tar xfv asterisk-11-current.tar.gz

# cd asterisk-11.5.0

We will just install with the default settings, let’s run this command:

# ./configure

If you would like to change the default settings, please run this command:

# make menuconfig

Now it’s the time to run make and make install:

make && make install

Let’s create the config files:

make samples

Now it’s the time to start Asterisk:

# /usr/sbin/safe_asterisk

Check if it’s running:

# pidof asterisk


Enter Asterisk through CLI:

# /usr/sbin/asterisk -rvvv

Asterisk 11.5.0, Copyright (C) 1999 – 2012 Digium, Inc. and others.

Created by Mark Spencer

Asterisk comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; type ‘core show warranty’ for details.

This is free software, with components licensed under the GNU General Public

License version 2 and other licenses; you are welcome to redistribute it under

certain conditions. Type ‘core show license’ for details.


Connected to Asterisk 11.5.0 currently running on luna728 (pid = 19036)


If you need any help about the list of availble commands, just run this:

luna728*CLI> core show help

You can find the configuration files under /etc/asterisk, just use your favourite text editor to change Asterisk’s settings. Make sure you reload Asterisk to changes take effect. This is how you can do it:

# /usr/sbin/asterisk -rx”reload”

It was a very easy thing, right? Congratulations, now you have a working Asterisk installation. And welcome to the world of Asterisk users 🙂

Here you can find an essential book for reading: Asterisk: The Definitive Guide

Your suggestions are always welcome!

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  1. Asterisk 11.5.1 is now available both in unstable and wheezy-backports, so things are now as simple as:

    apt-get install asterisk

    • Thanks for your reply Jeremy! You are right, that command can be used to install Asterisk and it’s dependencies. Personally I prefer to install most of the softares from source, that way I can customize everything before I install the software.
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