Looking for a lightweight Raspberry Pi distribution with no desktop burden? You think Raspbian Lite right? Well, don’t. There is an alternative you need to try: DietPi.

Designed to be lightweight, with superior and hardware customization options, DietPi also comes with pre-configured software ready to install. Basically, if you haven’t tried DietPi yet, now is the time.

Here’s how to install DietPi on Raspberry Pi and why it can turn into your favorite Raspbian alternative.

Why use a lightweight distribution?

Most Raspberry Pi users rely on the latest version of Raspbian. There is nothing wrong. After all, this is the original operating system and is designed specifically for the Pi.

However, things started to get a little out of hand. At the time of writing, there are three versions of Raspbian available:

  • Raspbian Light
  • Raspbian from desktop
  • Raspbian with desktop and recommended software

The more choice, the more software. For a basic experience that allows you to ditch desktop PCs in favor of more processing power, you can opt for Raspbian Lite. But why do you need a lightweight Raspberry Pi OS? Some possible answers:

  • No desktop needed
  • Focus Pi on specific tasks
  • Make the most of equipment

Raspbian Lite is not the lightest Raspberry Pi OS these days. In fact, it’s not even the second easiest.

Enter DietPi.

DietPi or Raspbian Lite: which one to use?

The comparisons are unfair. However, while Raspbian Lite is basically Raspbian without a desktop or additional software, DietPi is much more than that.

If you’re happy with using Raspbian, then Raspbian Lite is probably great for you. However, if you’re looking for more configuration options (akin to a more mature Linux OS), then DietPi is a stronger OS.

With detailed configuration options, DietPi can be configured to perform most tasks from the command line. This means you can set up your Pi to run at the optimal settings for any purpose. Worried about losing GPIO access? Don’t — DietPi supports Raspberry Pi I/O pins.

If you’re not looking for an operating system with a desktop environment, DietPi is potentially the best Raspberry Pi OS out there. Don’t just take our word for it — find out for yourself!

Install DietPi on your Raspberry Pi

DietPi requires a standard method for installing an operating system on a Raspberry Pi. Download the IMG file, use a PC to burn it to an SD card, then upload it to the Pi.

While various proprietary and third-party disc burners are available for this, the best option is Etcher. This cross-platform tool greatly simplifies the process.

Download : Etcher

Download : DietPi for Raspberry Pi

Start by unzipping the downloaded DietPi disk image. Then download and install Etcher, then insert the microSD card into your PC’s card reader.

Launch Etcher and click » Select Image», to find the DietPi IMG file. With this selected, the SD card should be detected. Make sure it’s a recording device, then click Flash . Burning a disc image usually takes about five minutes.

Use Etcher to Install DietPi on Raspberry Pi

Etcher will let you know when it’s done. Close the software, then open File Explorer. Find the file with named dietpi.txt, then find AUTO_SETUP_NET_WIFI_ENABLED and set a value for it 1


Then add the following lines:


Be sure to fill them in with the network name (SSID) and password of your local wireless network. Note that you can just use ethernet if you like.

By doing this, save changes. Then remove the SD card from the PC, insert the Raspberry Pi and turn it on. It’s time to use DietPi!

Set up DietPi on Raspberry Pi

The first DietPi boot may be slower than you expect. However, when it fully loads, you will see the DietPi login. Default credentials

 username: root password: dietpi 

Logging in will launch the license details. Using the arrow keys, accept this, then move on to selecting the DietPi-Config tool. It is recommended to change the default login information. Use 6: Security options, to choose a new password.

DietPi configuration menu options

With this setup, take a moment to look at 4: Additional Options . Here you will see the settings to enable USB boot support turn on Bluetooth and more. Also, check 3: performance, to access the option overclocking, if you want to squeeze as much juice out of your Raspberry Pi as possible.

If you are overclocking, you can run tests before and after. You will find Tests in 10: Tools along with the Stress Test utility.

Diet Pi test results

If desired, you can upload the results to DietPi-Survey.

Great Software Features with DietPi

Several software options are included with DietPi. They are preconfigured and ready to install. Team


will open the in-epth configuration options menu, where you will see DietPi-Software .

DietPi launch options

Select this to find a list of optimized, ready-to-run software. This includes Kodi, Emby, RetroPie, even kiosk mode, which installs the Chromium browser without a desktop.

Once installed, some of them can be configured via 9: Autorun options . Here you can choose whether an installed application or service will automatically load when the Pi is turned on.

Autostart options for DietPi

With DietPi running, you can use the Pi just like any other time. It’s a Linux-based operating system, so pretty much every Raspberry Pi terminal command you already know will work.

Elsewhere in DietPi-Launcher, look out for DietPi-Update for installing updates, DietPi-Cleaner and DietPi-Backup for backup and restore. You’ll also find options for LetsEncrypt SSL and NordVPN certificates.

In the meantime, if you run into problems, the excellent support docs and user community forum can help. Find them at dietpi.com.

DietPi: not just for Raspberry Pi

Various boards can work with DietPi

Perhaps the great thing about DietPi is that it’s not a Raspberry Pi at all. Of course, this helps keep the device’s hardware performance high, but if that’s not enough, alternatives are available.

More importantly, DietPi can go with you for the ride. Operating system builds are available for a range of devices including NanoPi, Odroid, Pine and other boards. There are even builds for desktops and VMware, Virtualbox, and Hyper-V virtual machines.

In short, a low performance, high performance operating system is available wherever you need a fast and lightweight Linux OS.

DietPi — should there be a Raspbian Lite operating system?

Easy to set up and full of configuration options, DietPi put Raspbian Lite to shame in many ways. Three times lighter than Raspbian Lite, DietPi is also easily backed up. The choice of other features makes this stand out as the Raspberry Pi OS you should consider for most projects.

However, DietPi is not the only alternative to Raspbian Lite. Several other lightweight Raspberry Pi operating systems also available. Check them out!

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