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Fixing ClamAV Freshclam Download Errors on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 20

ClamAV is a popular open-source antivirus engine used to detect trojans, viruses, malware, and other malicious threats. One of its components, Freshclam, is responsible for keeping the virus databases updated. However, users may sometimes face issues with Freshclam downloads on Ubuntu. This article will guide you through various methods to fix these errors.

Quick Answer

To fix ClamAV Freshclam download errors on Ubuntu, you can try increasing the ReceiveTimeout value in the freshclam.conf file, checking network connectivity, using a different mirror, or manually downloading the main.cvd file. If you are using an unsupported ClamAV version, consider upgrading to a newer version.

Understanding the Error

The Freshclam download error typically manifests as a “Timeout was reached” message. This indicates that Freshclam is unable to download the main.cvd file from the ClamAV database server. This could be due to network issues, server problems, or configuration settings.

Method 1: Increase the ReceiveTimeout Value

The first method to resolve this issue involves increasing the ReceiveTimeout value in the freshclam.conf file. This value determines the time the system will wait for a response when trying to download the database files.

  1. Open the terminal and type the following command to open the freshclam.conf file in a text editor (like nano) with administrative privileges:
    sudo nano /etc/clamav/freshclam.conf
  2. Look for the line that specifies the ReceiveTimeout value. Increase it to a larger value, such as 60.
  3. Save the file and exit the editor. On nano, you can do this by pressing Ctrl + X, then Y to confirm saving changes, and finally Enter to exit.
  4. Try running Freshclam again with the command sudo freshclam.

If the download succeeds, then the problem was with the timeout value. If not, proceed to the next method.

Method 2: Check Network Connectivity

Network issues can often cause Freshclam download errors. To check your network connectivity:

  1. Try pinging the ClamAV database server with the following command:
  2. If the ping command does not return any responses, it means your system is unable to reach the ClamAV server. In this case, check your internet connection or contact your network administrator.

Method 3: Use a Different Mirror

Freshclam uses the ClamAV database server located at by default. If this server is down or unreachable, you can switch to a different mirror.

  1. Open the freshclam.conf file as described in Method 1.
  2. Change the DatabaseMirror value to a different server. For example:
  3. Save the changes and exit the editor. Then, try running Freshclam again.

Method 4: Manually Download the main.cvd File

If Freshclam continues to fail, you can manually download the main.cvd file from the ClamAV database server.

  1. Use a web browser or a command-line tool like wget to download the file. For example:
  2. Once downloaded, move the main.cvd file to the appropriate directory with the command:
    sudo mv main.cvd /var/lib/clamav/
  3. Run Freshclam again.

Note on ClamAV Versions

ClamAV versions 0.99 and older are no longer supported and are blocked from downloading new updates. If you are using an unsupported version, consider upgrading to a newer version of ClamAV. You can check your ClamAV version with the command clamscan --version.


By following these methods, you should be able to resolve most Freshclam download errors on your Ubuntu system. If you continue to face issues, consider seeking help from the ClamAV community or your system administrator.

How do I check my ClamAV version?

You can check your ClamAV version by running the command clamscan --version in the terminal.

Can I use these methods on other Linux distributions?

Yes, you can use these methods on other Linux distributions as well, as long as you have ClamAV installed and the file paths mentioned in the methods are applicable to your distribution.

Is it necessary to have an internet connection for Freshclam to work?

Yes, an internet connection is required for Freshclam to download the latest virus databases from the ClamAV database server.

What should I do if none of the methods work?

If none of the methods mentioned in this article work, it is recommended to seek help from the ClamAV community or your system administrator for further assistance.

Can I schedule automatic updates for Freshclam?

Yes, you can schedule automatic updates for Freshclam by configuring the cron daemon. You can refer to the ClamAV documentation or search for tutorials on how to set up scheduled updates for Freshclam on your specific Linux distribution.

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