centos 8 ssh connection refused

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Unlocking the Mystery of CentOS 8 SSH Connection Refusal

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a critical service for managing servers and systems remotely. However, encountering a “Connection Refused” error can be a frustrating roadblock for system administrators and developers alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the common causes and solutions to the SSH connection refusal in CentOS 8, ensuring that you can regain control of your remote connections with confidence.

Understanding SSH Connection Refusal in CentOS 8

Before diving into troubleshooting, it’s essential to understand what the “Connection Refused” message signifies. This error occurs when your SSH client attempts to connect to the server’s SSH port, but the connection is rejected. It could stem from various issues ranging from network problems to server configuration errors. Let’s explore these possibilities and how to address them effectively.

Common Causes of SSH Connection Refusal

  • SSH Service Not Running: The most straightforward reason could be that the SSH daemon (sshd) isn’t running on your CentOS 8 server.
  • Firewall Restrictions: Firewalls are designed to protect systems from unauthorized access, but they can also block legitimate SSH traffic if not configured correctly.
  • Incorrect SSH Configuration: Misconfiguration in the

    file can prevent successful connections.

  • Network Issues: Problems with networking, such as incorrect IP addresses or routing issues, can lead to connection refusals.
  • SELinux Policies: Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) might enforce policies that restrict SSH access.

Troubleshooting Steps

To resolve the “Connection Refused” error, follow these troubleshooting steps methodically:

  1. Verify that the SSH service is running on your CentOS 8 server.
  2. Check the firewall settings to ensure that SSH traffic is allowed.
  3. Review the SSH configuration file for any incorrect settings.
  4. Examine network configurations and connectivity.
  5. Assess SELinux policies and adjust them if necessary.

Diving Deeper: Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

When basic troubleshooting doesn’t yield results, it’s time to dig deeper. Advanced techniques involve analyzing logs, testing with alternative clients, and even temporarily disabling security features for diagnostic purposes.

Analyzing System and SSH Logs

Logs provide invaluable insights into what’s happening behind the scenes. Check the following logs for clues:

  • System Logs: Use the

    command to review system logs for any SSH-related messages.

  • SSH Debugging: Run the SSH client in verbose mode using
    ssh -vvv user@host

    to get more detailed error information.

Testing Network Connectivity

Use tools like




to test basic network connectivity to your CentOS 8 server. If these fail, the issue may lie with the network rather than SSH itself.

Disabling SELinux Temporarily

As a last resort, you can temporarily disable SELinux to determine if it’s causing the SSH refusal. Remember to re-enable it after testing, as it’s crucial for system security.

Case Studies and Real-World Examples

Let’s look at some real-world scenarios where users faced SSH connection refusals and how they resolved them.

Case Study 1: Firewall Misconfiguration

A system administrator discovered that their new CentOS 8 installation had its firewall default policy set to reject all incoming connections, including SSH. They resolved the issue by updating the firewall rules to allow SSH traffic.

Case Study 2: Incorrect SSH Port

Another user found that their SSH service was listening on a non-standard port due to a misconfigured


file. Correcting the port number in the configuration and restarting the SSH service fixed the problem.

FAQ Section

What should I check first when facing an SSH connection refusal?

First, ensure that the SSH service is running on your CentOS 8 server and that your firewall allows SSH traffic.

How can I tell if my firewall is blocking SSH traffic?

You can use the

firewall-cmd --list-all

command to list current firewall rules and verify if SSH is allowed.

Can SELinux block SSH connections?

Yes, SELinux can block SSH connections if its policies are configured to do so. Check the SELinux status with


and consult the audit logs for denied actions.


Troubleshooting a “Connection Refused” error in CentOS 8 requires patience and a systematic approach. By understanding the common causes and following the outlined steps, you can swiftly restore your SSH connectivity and maintain secure remote access to your servers.


For further reading and advanced troubleshooting techniques, consider consulting the following resources:

  • The official CentOS documentation for SSH configuration and firewall management.
  • Online forums and communities where system administrators share their experiences and solutions.
  • Technical blogs that offer case studies and in-depth analysis of SSH-related issues.

Remember, while CentOS 8 has reached its end-of-life, many of the principles discussed here apply to other versions and distributions of Linux as well. Always keep your systems updated and seek out community support when needed.

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