how to enable ssh server in ubuntu

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Unlocking the Power of Remote Management: Enabling SSH Server on Ubuntu

how to enable ssh server in ubuntu

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on enabling an SSH (Secure Shell) server in Ubuntu. In this digital era, where remote work and system administration have become commonplace, understanding how to securely access your systems from afar is a critical skill. This article will delve into the depths of setting up an SSH server on Ubuntu, ensuring that you can manage your servers with ease and security.

Understanding SSH and Its Importance

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a network protocol that provides administrators with a secure way to access a remote computer. It is widely used by system administrators for managing systems and applications remotely, allowing them to log into another computer over a network, execute commands in a remote machine, and move files from one machine to another. It provides strong authentication and encrypted data communications between two computers connecting over an open network such as the internet.

Prerequisites for Enabling SSH on Ubuntu

Before we dive into the steps to enable SSH on Ubuntu, ensure that you have the following:

  • A machine running Ubuntu
  • Sudo privileges or access to the root user account
  • An active internet connection to download necessary packages
  • Basic knowledge of the command line interface (CLI)

Step-by-Step Guide to Enabling SSH on Ubuntu

Installing the OpenSSH Server Software

The first step in enabling an SSH server on your Ubuntu machine is to install the OpenSSH server software package. OpenSSH is the most popular tool for this purpose and comes pre-installed on many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. If it’s not already installed, you can easily add it using the following steps:

  1. Open your terminal.
  2. Update your package list with the command:
    sudo apt update
  3. Install the OpenSSH Server package with the command:
    sudo apt install openssh-server
  4. Once the installation is complete, the SSH service should start automatically. To verify that the service is running, use the command:
    sudo systemctl status ssh

If the service is not running, you can start it with:

sudo systemctl start ssh

Configuring SSH Server Settings

After installing the SSH server, you might want to configure it to suit your needs. The configuration file for the SSH server is located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config. You can edit this file with a text editor of your choice; for example, using nano:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

In this file, you can set various options like changing the default port, disabling root login, and defining which users are allowed to connect. Here’s an example of how to change the default SSH port:

  1. Find the line that says #Port 22.
  2. Remove the # symbol to uncomment the line and change 22 to your desired port number.
  3. Save the file and exit the editor.
  4. Restart the SSH service to apply the changes:
    sudo systemctl restart ssh

Connecting to Your Ubuntu Machine via SSH

With the SSH server now up and running, you can connect to your Ubuntu machine from any computer that has an SSH client installed. The basic syntax for making an SSH connection is:

ssh username@host

Where username is your user on the Ubuntu machine, and host is the IP address or hostname of the Ubuntu machine.

Enhancing Security for Your SSH Server

While SSH itself is a secure protocol, there are additional steps you can take to enhance the security of your SSH server:

  • Use key-based authentication instead of passwords.
  • Disable root login over SSH.
  • Change the default SSH port to reduce the risk of automated attacks.
  • Limit the users who can log in via SSH.
  • Use fail2ban to ban IPs that show malicious signs.

FAQ Section

What is SSH?

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a protocol used to securely connect to a remote server or computer over an unsecured network.

Why should I change the default SSH port?

Changing the default SSH port can help reduce the risk of automated attacks or scans from bots that target the default port (22).

How do I transfer files using SSH?

You can transfer files using the SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol), both of which use SSH for secure file transfer.

Can I use SSH with a graphical user interface?

Yes, you can forward X11 sessions over SSH, allowing you to run graphical applications on the remote server and display them on your local machine.

Is it safe to disable password authentication for SSH?

Disabling password authentication and using key-based authentication can significantly improve the security of your SSH server, as long as you keep your private keys secure.


Enabling an SSH server on your Ubuntu machine is a straightforward process that unlocks powerful capabilities for remote management. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up, configure, and secure your SSH server, providing a robust foundation for administering your systems from anywhere in the world. Remember to prioritize security measures to protect your server against unauthorized access. With SSH, the power of remote system administration is at your fingertips.


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