Raspbian: How to add a printer on your Raspberry Pi? (CUPS)

Adding additional drivers on Linux has always been difficult. And particularly to install printers
As our Raspberry Pi is running on Raspbian (Debian-like), it’s almost the same
You’re lucky if you plug your printer and it’s working directly 🙂

So, how to add printers on Raspbian?
The easiest way is to turn your Raspberry Pi into a print server
You can install CUPS that allows you to install printers and share them on the network
This works for almost all printers

I’ll show you how to do this in this post


Raspberry Pi

You’ll need a Raspberry Pi to follow this tutorial, but the procedure is almost the same on any Debian-like distribution
Try to prepare it with the following steps:

  • Install Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi
    Choose the version you prefer, you can follow this tutorial with both versions
    The full version allows you to access CUPS in local, so it may be faster
  • Update your system
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt upgrade
  • Enable SSH if you want to follow this tutorial from your computer
    sudo service ssh start

That should be enough for the Raspberry Pi preparation

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Printer information

We’ll install your printer on your Raspberry Pi, so collect all the needed information and prepare it for the installation

  • For an USB Printer:
    • Turn the printer ON
    • Plug it into your Raspberry Pi
  • For a Network Printer:
    • Turn the printer ON
    • Make sure the printer is available on the network
    • You can check this on your computer
  • Note the manufacturer and the exact model, to install the driver later

CUPS installation

What is CUPS?

CUPS stands for Common Unix Printing Standard
Developed by Apple for macOS, it brings support for printers in the Linux world

CUPS use IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) to manage local and network printers
It’s the main way, maybe the only one, to install a printer on Linux systems

So we want to install it on the Raspberry Pi to help us to configure our printer

CUPS Installation

The installation process is straightforward as the package is available in the Raspbian repository

sudo apt install cups

Type Y when asked to continue the install process
There are a lot of dependencies, so it can take a few minutes on the Raspberry Pi

At this step, with the Raspbian Desktop version, you should already have access to the CUPS web interface at http://localhost:631
But for a remote access we need to edit the configuration file

CUPS Configuration

The main configuration file is available at /etc/cups/cupsd.conf
Follow these steps to adjust the configuration:

  • Open the configuration file
    sudo nano /etc/cups/cupsd.conf
  • Find this line
    Listen localhost:631
  • Replace by this one
    Port 631

    This asks CUPS to listen on the port 631 no matter which IP address
    But it’s not enough as there are other securities

  • We need to allow access from any computer on the network
    To do this, find these groups and add the Allow @local directive inside:


    <Location />
      Order allow,deny
      Allow @local
    # Restrict access to the admin pages...
    <Location /admin>
      Order allow,deny
      Allow @local
    # Restrict access to configuration files...
    <Location /admin/conf>
      AuthType Default
      Require user @SYSTEM
      Order allow,deny
      Allow @local
  • Save and exit (CTRL+O, CTRL+X)
  • The last step is to restart the CUPS service to apply changes:
    sudo service cups restart

You can now access the web interface from any computer on the network:

cups interface on raspberry pi

If you have a firewall on your Raspberry Pi (iptables or ufw for example), you need to allow access on the port 631

Add your printer

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Allow pi user to add a printer

To install a printer, we need an administrative right on CUPS
To do this, we need to login with a user in the lpadmin group

So, we’ll add the pi user in this group, like this:

sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi

That’s all we need, pi is now in the lpadmin group


To add a printer, CUPS may ask you to use HTTPS instead of HTTP (as there is an authentication step)
So switch right now on the HTTPS URL: https://<IP>:631

You’ll get a security warning from your browser
We don’t have a certificate, so accept this warning and continue to the CUPS web interface

Add the printer

We can now add the printer using the CUPS interface

  • Open the CUPS web interface: https://<IP>:631
  • In the top bar menu, click on the “Administration” menu
  • Then click on Add printer
    cups add printer
  • CUPS will ask you for a login and password
    Use the pi credentials: pi /raspberry by default


    • Once logged, you see a list of printers like this
      cups printer list
      CUPS should have already found your printer on the network, or if plugged
      Select the printer you want to install and click “Continue”
  • In the next step, CUPS asks you to set the printer properties, like name and description:

    Don’t forget to check the “Sharing” box to share this printer on the network for others computers
  • Then you need to select the corresponding driver for your printer

    If the specific driver is not available, take a close one, or upload a PPD file from the manufacturer if you have one
    Finally, click on “Add Printer”
  • In the last steps, it asks you to configure the printers settings
    You may have several tabs to fill

    Leave this all by default and come back later if you need to make some changes
    Click on “Set Default Options” and that’s it, the printer is installed in CUPS

Test page


Directly in CUPS, in the printer page (you should be there), you can print a test page and see if everything works well

In the “Maintenance” drop down, choose “Print Test Page”

You printer will print the CUPS test page, so you can check that everything seems OK

From another app

Now that you installed the printer in the CUPS interface, you can use it from any application on your Raspberry Pi

For example, in the LibreOffice Writer application, I now have my printer in the Print menu:

So I can choose it, and print a test page from here too

Print from another computer

CUPS is not only a way to install printers easily but also a print server to share printers on the network
If you check the box “Share this printer” during the installation, you can print from another computer, using CUPS

To do this, you need to install samba
Follow these steps:

  • Install the samba package
    sudo apt install samba

    Samba is a service to share files on Linux, and it’s also useful to share printers

  • Access the default share on your Raspberry Pi
    For Windows users, type this address in your file explorer:
  • You should see your printer in this folder
  • Double click on it to install it on your computer

While there is no point on doing that on a windows computer for a network printer, it can be useful to turn your old USB printer into a network printer
Once configured in CUPS, you can use it from any device on the network, even if it’s not a network printer

It can also be faster with several Linux/Mac on the same network
Install CUPS and the printer on the first, and just link the shared printer to the others


Easy way to install a printer on Raspberry Pi


You now know how to install any printer on your Raspberry Pi

There are some funny projects where you’ll need a printer so this guide might be handy
I remember a cool photo booth for example. You take a photo and the Raspberry Pi prints it automatically
I think it’s in my list of 20 projects for your kids if you want to check it

This tutorial doesn't work anymore? Report the issue here, so that I can update it!

Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

21 thoughts on “Raspbian: How to add a printer on your Raspberry Pi? (CUPS)

  1. Have the same issue – the test page inside CUPS works perfectly but the printer is not visible inside the print dialogues on leafpad/geany/libre*.

  2. Hi Jeremy and Antonello,

    Sorry for the late answer, but I needed to check this as you both have the same issue

    And after a new test I got the same result
    There is nothing to do after the add printer success message

    I tested LibreOffice 30s after (no reboot, no reload, nothing), and the printer is here

    Double check the tutorial to see if you didn’t forget something
    Maybe the “usermod” command to allow pi to access CUPS

    Good luck

  3. Same sort of thing here. I installed a network printer using VNC. This is listed and works perfectly with Leaf and Firefox, but is not listed in L.office. Your set up text was most helpful and works fine. I suspect a ‘funny’ with L.O. but have not yet found a solution!

  4. Works for me on Buster. As for other programs not seeing the device, i had a similar issue. I chose “LPD/LPR Host or Printer” to add mine. After hitting next I changed the connection method to socket://:9100. Test page worked but nothing else was able to see the device. I did a reboot. Made some modifications but still no luck.

    Later I thought maybe i should configure it using “AppSocket/HP JetDirect” instead. After doing that it showed up in my applications.

    My mistake was assuming it didn’t matter which one I chose as long as i put in the appropriate connection information, but it seems there is more going on under the hood based on that initial selection. Hopefully this helps someone else.

  5. Hi everything is working but one thing I don’t know how to name the Computer that wan to print.when ever I print! on the print job monitor it shows unknown!.can anyone help me pls .

  6. Everything seems to work fine for me up to the point where I should be seeing it in my browser at http://:631. When I enter this into my browser as “” I get the “Site can’t be reached” error page. I tried restarting the service several times with no luck. Any ideas what I’ve done wrong? Should I have added the “Allow @local” code to other areas? Here is a copy of my cupsd.conf file after the changes. Not included, but i also did complete the Port 631 change.

    # Web interface setting…
    WebInterface Yes

    # Restrict access to the server…

    Order allow,deny
    Allow @local

    # Restrict access to the admin pages…

    Order allow,deny
    Allow @local

    # Restrict access to configuration files…

    AuthType Default
    Require user @SYSTEM
    Order allow,deny
    Allow @local

    # Restrict access to log files…

    AuthType Default
    Require user @SYSTEM
    Order allow,deny

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. i feel foolish but i seem to have a gap 9in my instructions. Everything was fine up to “Use HTTPS”. I feel like I dropped off the boat in the middle of the ocean. Am i still in the terminal or in a browser? Am I on the Pi or another computer in Windows? Can someone throw me a life preserver?
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Bill 🙂

      In the first part, I give you the web interface address like this: http://:631 (is this working for you?)

      But when you want to add a printer, you need to switch to HTTPS (so https://:631)

      Both from your computer

  8. I can’t find any ppd file for my Brother MFC-7320.
    I tried the similar printers mentioned in the manual and a few MFC types directly in cups.
    I also searched in the deb file for my printer for some ppd files, but didn’t find any.

    Everytime I try to print the testpage, the printer goes from receiving data directly to energy saving mode.

    Is there some hope left or is my printer just not compatibly?

    1. Hi,

      Did you try this one : https://github.com/illwieckz/debian_copyist_brother/blob/master/material/abstract/printers/generated_content/ppd/MFC7320.ppd ?


  9. As soon as I go to the administration tab in CUPS in the browser it says forbidden. No reason. No clue as to why. I have UWF installed and have allowed access to port 631. I have SSH enabled. What is the deal?

    1. Hi Anthony,

      You probably miss the Apache configuration step
      You need to allow your computer to access this tab


  10. I followed this tutorial and everything worked perfectly but I have a doubt. If I want to print from another raspberry pi to the network printer configured with CUPS, do I have to install CUPS on the new raspberry PI and install the printer drivers or being on the network I can do it directly without installing or configuring anything?

    1. Hi Sergio,

      If you shared the printer on the first Raspberry Pi, you should be able to access it from the other
      Check the last paragraph, it’s explained for Windows, but it’s the same principle (use smb://IP instead of \\IP)

    1. Try a model similar in the list, or try to find the ppd file for this model online (Epson website > Drivers > Linux for example) and import it

  11. Thanks for the detailed manual.
    i have an issue I went over all the steps and did what you showed and I was able to set it up but when i sent a print or a print test page from cups itself it takes a few seconds and then the print moves to jobs completed but the printer didn’t print anything the only way i can print is via windows by the URL in the printer setup.
    i want to be able to print from my raspberry pi and from my phone but i can’t at the moment.

    my printer is a brother mfc j430w if that helps
    do you have any suggestions?

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