how to start ssh server ubuntu

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Unlocking the Power of SSH on Ubuntu: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Secure Server

how to start ssh server ubuntu

Welcome to the world of secure, remote server management! If you’re looking to harness the power of SSH (Secure Shell) on your Ubuntu system, you’ve come to the right place. This article is designed to guide you through the process of starting an SSH server on Ubuntu, ensuring that you can manage your server securely from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned sysadmin or a curious newcomer, this guide will provide you with all the knowledge and tools you need to get started.

Understanding SSH and Its Importance

Before we dive into the technicalities, let’s understand what SSH is and why it’s crucial for secure communication. SSH is a network protocol that enables secure remote login and other secure network services over an insecure network. It provides a secure channel over an unsecured network by using a client-server architecture, connecting an SSH client application with an SSH server.

The importance of SSH lies in its ability to encrypt data transmitted over the network, preventing unauthorized access and ensuring confidentiality and integrity. This makes it an essential tool for administrators who need to remotely manage servers, especially when dealing with sensitive information or critical operations.

Prerequisites for Starting an SSH Server on Ubuntu

  • An Ubuntu server or desktop version 16.04 LTS or later
  • A user account with sudo privileges
  • Access to a terminal window/command line (Ctrl-Alt-T)
  • An internet connection to download necessary packages

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing and Configuring SSH on Ubuntu

Installing the OpenSSH Server Package

To start an SSH server on Ubuntu, you first need to install the OpenSSH server software package. Here’s how:

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

Configuring SSH for Enhanced Security

After installation, it’s advisable to configure your SSH server for better security:

  1. Edit the SSH configuration file using a text editor like nano:
    sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  2. Make changes such as:
    • Changing the default port (Port 22) to a non-standard port.
    • Disabling root login (PermitRootLogin no).
    • Allowing only specific users (AllowUsers your_username).
  3. Save and close the file (Ctrl-X, Y, Enter in nano).
  4. Apply the changes by restarting the SSH service:
    sudo systemctl restart ssh

Connecting to Your SSH Server

With SSH installed and configured, you can now connect to your server from a remote machine:

  1. On another Linux machine, open the terminal and type:
    ssh your_username@your_server_ip -p port_number
  2. If you’re using Windows, you can use an SSH client like PuTTY.
  3. Enter your password when prompted, and you should be logged in to your Ubuntu server.

Enhancing Your SSH Experience: Tips and Tricks

Beyond basic setup, there are ways to enhance your SSH experience:

  • Use SSH keys instead of passwords for authentication.
  • Set up an SSH agent to manage your keys and passphrases.
  • Utilize SSH tunneling to secure other network protocols.
  • Employ SSHFS to mount remote directories on your local machine.

Troubleshooting Common SSH Issues

Encountering issues is part of any technical process. Here are some common SSH problems and their solutions:

  • Connection refused: Ensure that the SSH server is running and listening on the correct port.
  • Permission denied: Verify that your username and password are correct, and that your user has SSH access.
  • Timeouts: Check your network connection and firewall settings.

FAQ Section

How do I change the SSH port on my Ubuntu server?

Edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and modify the ‘Port’ directive to your desired port number. Don’t forget to restart the SSH service afterward.

Can I use SSH without a password?

Yes, by setting up SSH key-based authentication, you can log in without a password while enhancing security.

Is it safe to enable root login over SSH?

It’s generally recommended to disable root login over SSH to prevent potential security risks. Instead, use a regular user with sudo privileges.


Starting an SSH server on Ubuntu is a straightforward process that unlocks powerful capabilities for managing your server remotely and securely. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to set up, configure, and troubleshoot your SSH server. Remember to prioritize security in every step, and you’ll enjoy the convenience and flexibility that SSH brings to server administration.


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