How to Enable RHEL Subscription in RHEL 8?


Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 is a popular and widely used operating system in the enterprise world. It is known for its stability, security, and performance. RHEL 8 was released in May 2019 and brought many new features and improvements to the table.

It is built on top of a modular architecture that allows users to pick and choose which components they want to use. One important aspect of RHEL 8 is its subscription model.

In order to use RHEL 8, users must have a valid subscription that provides access to software updates, security patches, technical support, and other resources. The subscription model ensures that Red Hat can continue to invest in the development of RHEL 8 and provide customers with high-quality products.

Importance of enabling RHEL subscription

Enabling your RHEL subscription is crucial if you want to keep your system up-to-date with the latest software updates, security patches, and bug fixes. Without a valid subscription, you will not be able to access these resources from Red Hat or receive technical support from their team. Moreover, using an unregistered or expired version of RHEL can expose your system to potential security risks that may harm your data or cause downtime for your organization.

In short, enabling your RHEL subscription ensures that you are receiving the full benefits of using this enterprise-grade operating system while maintaining the highest level of security for your infrastructure. In the next section, we will discuss different types of subscriptions available for RHEL 8 along with their benefits so you can make an informed decision about which one suits your needs best.

Understanding RHEL Subscription

Types of Subscriptions Available for RHEL 8

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a premium Linux distribution that offers several subscription options to its users. There are two types of subscriptions available for RHEL 8: self-support and standard. The self-support subscription is a no-cost option that provides access to the base software packages, updates, and errata via the Red Hat Customer Portal.

However, there is no technical support or access to additional software packages with this subscription. The standard subscription is a fee-based option that includes technical support and access to all available software packages and updates.

Benefits of Having a Valid Subscription

Having a valid RHEL subscription has several benefits, including −

  • Access to software updates − Subscribers can download patches, bug fixes, security updates, and other critical software components as soon as they become available.

  • Better security − With an active subscription, users have access to Red Hat's security team who provide comprehensive protection from various cyber threats.

  • Technical support − Users with valid subscriptions receive assistance from Red Hat's technical experts who help resolve issues related to installation, configuration, or usage.

  • Certification programs − With valid subscriptions, users gain access to training programs offered by Red Hat that can help them acquire new skills and advance their careers.

How to Check the Current Subscription Status?

Before proceeding with any operation on your RHEL 8 system or subscribing it for the first time, it's essential to check the current subscription status. You can follow either of these commands on your terminal −

$ sudo subscription-manager status 


$ sudo yum repolist all --disablerepo='*' --enablerepo='rhel-8-for-x86_64-baseos-rpms'  

These commands display the current subscription status of your RHEL 8 system, including the subscription type, expiry date, and the associated Red Hat account. If your subscription has expired or is not valid, you will need to renew or purchase a new one to continue using RHEL 8.

Enabling RHEL Subscription

In order to enable RHEL subscription, you will need to use one of two methods: the Red Hat Subscription Manager (RHSM) or the command-line interface (CLI). Both methods are equally effective, but it is recommended that you use RHSM if you are not familiar with command-line interfaces.

RHSM provides a graphical user interface that makes it easy to register and manage your subscriptions. On the other hand, CLI requires some technical expertise and may be more suitable for experienced users who prefer using the command line.

Using the Red Hat Subscription Manager (RHSM)

The first step in enabling RHEL subscription is to register your system with RHSM. This can be done by running the following command −

# subscription-manager register 

This will prompt you to enter your Red Hat account credentials so that RHSM can authenticate your system and associate it with your account. Once registration is complete, you can attach a subscription to your system using either of two methods: graphical or command line.

To attach a subscription graphically using RHSM, follow these steps −

  • Open the Terminal application on your system.

  • Type subscription-manager-gui in the terminal window to start the gui tool.

  • Select "Attach a Subscriptions" from the "Subscriptions" menu in the GUI tool.

  • This will open a window where you can attach a valid subscription by entering an activation key or selecting an available pool from your account.

Using the Command-Line Interface (CLI)

To register your system using CLI, run this command −

# subscription-manager register --username=your_redhat_account_username --password=your_redhat_account_password 

After registering your system, you can attach a subscription using this command −

# subscription-manager attach --pool=pool_id 

You can also verify the subscription status using the following command −

# subscription-manager status 

This command will display information about your system's subscriptions, including the date of last check-in and any available entitlements.

Securing Your Subscription

It is important to secure your subscription by keeping your Red Hat account credentials confidential. This ensures that only authorized users can access your subscriptions. Additionally, it is recommended that you periodically verify that your system has an active and valid subscription to avoid service interruptions or licensing issues.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Invalid Credentials or Activation Key

One of the most common issues faced while enabling RHEL subscription is the use of incorrect credentials or an invalid activation key. This can happen if the user has mistyped their login credentials or has entered an activation key that is no longer valid. In such cases, users must ensure that they are entering the correct login credentials and activation key.

If required, users can reset their password or generate a new activation key. Another possible cause of invalid credentials is an expired subscription.

If a subscription has expired, users will not be able to register their system with RHSM until they renew the subscription. In this case, users must log in to their Red Hat account and renew their subscription to continue using RHEL 8.

Network Connectivity Issues

Another common issue faced while enabling RHEL Subscription is network connectivity problems. RHSM requires a stable internet connection for registration and attaching a subscription to your system.

Users must ensure that their system is connected to the internet and there are no firewall restrictions blocking access to RHSM servers.

Conflicting Subscriptions

Conflicting subscriptions occur when multiple subscriptions are attached to a single system which may result in error messages during registration or while attaching a new subscription. The conflicts may arise due to overlapping subscriptions from different sources like Red Hat Network Classic Hosted, Red Hat Satellite Server, etc.

To resolve this issue, users must remove all conflicting subscriptions attached to the system and then reattach only one valid subscription which best suits their requirements. Users can do this by running command-line tools like `subscription-manager` utility or by accessing the RHSM web console.


In this article, we have discussed the importance of enabling RHEL subscription in RHEL 8. We started by understanding different types of subscriptions available for RHEL 8 and their benefits.

We also covered how to check the current subscription status using different methods such as Red Hat Subscription Manager (RHSM) and command-line interface (CLI). Next, we delved into setting up and enabling RHEL subscription using RHSM and CLI.

Updated on: 08-Jun-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started