How to install Nano on FreeBSD

I just thought I’d quickly post up a post on how to install Nano (a really simple to use CLI text editor) on FreeBSD, Although I’ve tested on FreeBSD 9.0 it should work with other versions of FreeBSD too…

You will find that by default FreeBSD does not come with this installed, having mainly used Linux in the past I have mainly used Nano and vi, Nano however is my favourite, as its dead easy to use ūüôā

So here goes, firstly make sure your logged into the server as ‘root’ then make sure your ports tree is up to date like so:-

portsnap fetch update

If you don’t have the ports tree installed on your server (maybe you are using an Amazon cloud image etc. or simply did not install the ports tree during the¬†set-up¬†process). you’ll need ¬†to install the ports tree like so:-

portsnap fetch extract update

If you are unsure if you do or don’t have the ports tree installed just try this command:-

cd /usr/ports

If the above doesn’t work (ie. the folder doesn’t exsits then this means you don’t appear to have the ports installed… therefore run the above command to download and extract so we can continue on with this tutorial)

Now we are ready to actually install (compile) Nano on our FreeBSD server, we do it like so:-

cd /usr/ports/editors/nano
make install clean
ln -s /usr/local/bin/nano /usr/bin/nano

Now you should be able to use Nano ūüôā – If when you execute the command:-


doesn’t work, then type:


Then try again, this is because you are using ‘csh’ which requires you to reload the list of binarys¬†available¬†to execute from /usr/bin/X…¬†Alternatively¬†just logout and back in again and you should then have ‘nano’ fully added into the¬†environmental¬†variables path ūüôā

If you wanted too, you can also set Nano as the servers default text editor, to do this, whilst being logged in as ‘root’, run this command (assuming you use the Corn Shell which is the¬†default¬†on FreeBSD as opposed to bash,sh etc.):-

nano .cshrc

Then change this line:-

setenv  EDITOR ee


setenv  EDITOR nano

Save the changes (CTRL+O) and logout of your session and back in again, now running:-

crontab -e

will now open and enable you to edit your crontab entries using Nano instead of ee.