This article explains how to provision a Raspberry Pi (3B+ in my case) with Raspbian Buster Lite. In principle, this should be easy but gets quite challenging when you don’t have a keyboard or a monitor. All I have is a laptop with an SD card reader and the Wi-Fi at home. The task is to copy the Raspbian image to the SD card, activate SSH, and set up Wi-Fi.

When you extract the Raspbian Buster Lite image and copy it to the SD card, you will notice two partitions: boot and rootfs.

Setup Wi-Fi

Create a file called wpa_supplicant.conf in the boot partition with the following content:

country=US  # Change if not in the US
ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
  ssid="WIFI_NAME"  # Your Wi-Fi name
  psk="PASSWORD"  # The password of your Wi-Fi

Enable SSH

With the most recent version of Raspbian, the SSH daemon is not enabled automatically. To start make the daemon start automatically at startup, simply create a file called ssh in the boot partition without any content.

$ touch ssh


With these two files in place on the boot partition, you can put the SD card into the Raspberry Pi and boot it. You can find the IP address of the Raspberry Pi with nmap. The default user is pi, the password is raspberry.