I’ve been running the free version of ESXi in my basement for years, and have been well served by it. One of the things that is always somewhat of a pain is patching. I was always under the impression that to patch the free version of ESXi you needed to download the patches, and transfer them to a VMFS volume, then patch that bundle. A great blog VMware Front Experience posted an article about manually patching your ESXi 5.5 host which is just fantastic.
They have also posted a blog about how to patch the latest 5.5u1 bundle.
This command can be modified for any new bundles, the KB lists the package name.
When you go to run this set of commands on a system, it will sit there for several minutes. Keep in mind the patch bundle is 300+MB, downloading it, installing it, etc. This all takes time. Especially on a slower internet connection. Using this command recently, on newly deployed VM hosts, saved several reboots (and much time) later on.