how to start ssh server in ubuntu

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Mastering SSH Server Setup on Ubuntu: A Comprehensive Guide

how to start ssh server in ubuntu

Welcome to the definitive guide on starting an SSH server in Ubuntu. Secure Shell (SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol used for secure connection between a client and a server. In this article, we will delve deep into the process of setting up an SSH server on Ubuntu, ensuring that you can remotely manage your systems with confidence and security.

Understanding SSH and Its Importance

Before we jump into the technicalities, it’s crucial to understand what SSH is and why it’s so important in today’s digital landscape. SSH allows for encrypted communication over unsecured networks, making it an essential tool for remote system administration, file transfers, and more. It’s the go-to method for securely accessing servers, be it for development, maintenance, or deployment tasks.

Prerequisites for Setting Up an SSH Server

To start an SSH server in Ubuntu, you’ll need the following:

  • An Ubuntu server or desktop edition installed
  • A user account with sudo privileges
  • Access to a terminal/command line interface
  • An internet connection to download necessary packages

Step-by-Step Installation of OpenSSH Server

Ubuntu comes with support for SSH connections out of the box, but to accept SSH connections, you must install the OpenSSH server package. Here’s how:

Installing OpenSSH Server Package

Open your terminal and run the following command to update your package list and install the OpenSSH server:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install openssh-server

Once the installation is complete, the SSH service should start automatically. You can verify this by running:

sudo systemctl status ssh

If it’s not running, you can start it with:

sudo systemctl start ssh

Configuring the SSH Server

After installation, you might want to configure the SSH server to enhance security or change default options. The main configuration file for the SSH server is /etc/ssh/sshd_config. To edit it, use your preferred text editor:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Here are some common configurations you might consider:

  • Changing the default SSH port (Port 22)
  • Disabling root login (PermitRootLogin no)
  • Allowing only specific users (AllowUsers username)

After making changes, save the file and restart the SSH service to apply them:

sudo systemctl restart ssh

Connecting to Your SSH Server

With the SSH server running, you can connect from any client that supports SSH. From another Linux machine or macOS, use the terminal:

ssh username@your_server_ip

For Windows users, PuTTY is a popular SSH client. Download and install PuTTY, then enter your server’s IP address and connect using your Ubuntu username and password.

Securing Your SSH Server

Security is paramount when setting up an SSH server. Here are some best practices:

  • Use key-based authentication instead of passwords
  • Disable SSH version 1 which is less secure
  • Limit user access with AllowUsers or DenyUsers directives
  • Implement fail2ban to prevent brute force attacks

Troubleshooting Common SSH Issues

If you encounter issues while starting your SSH server, check the following:

  • Ensure the sshd service is running
  • Verify that your firewall allows traffic on the SSH port (default is 22)
  • Check the SSH server logs for errors (/var/log/auth.log)

FAQ Section

How do I change the default SSH port?

Edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and change the ‘Port’ directive to your desired port number. Remember to update your firewall settings accordingly.

Can I use SSH without a password?

Yes, by setting up key-based authentication, you can securely log in without a password.

What if I’m locked out of my server after changing SSH settings?

If you have physical access to the server or console access through a control panel provided by your hosting provider, you can log in directly and revert the changes.


Starting an SSH server in Ubuntu is a straightforward process that unlocks powerful capabilities for managing your systems remotely. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a secure and efficient setup. Always remember to prioritize security and keep your server updated to protect against vulnerabilities.


For further reading and advanced topics on SSH and Ubuntu server management, consult the official Ubuntu documentation and OpenSSH resources:

By mastering the art of SSH server setup and embracing best practices, you’re well on your way to becoming a proficient Ubuntu administrator. Happy secure shell-ing!

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