ssh on ubuntu 20.04

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Mastering SSH on Ubuntu 20.04: A Comprehensive Guide

ssh on ubuntu 20.04

Welcome to the definitive guide on utilizing Secure Shell (SSH) on Ubuntu 20.04. This article is crafted for developers, system administrators, and IT professionals who seek to harness the full potential of remote server management. We will delve into the intricacies of SSH, providing you with a robust understanding of its mechanisms, configurations, and best practices. By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to securely manage your servers from anywhere in the world.

Understanding SSH and Its Importance

Secure Shell, or SSH, is an essential protocol used for secure communication over unsecured networks. It’s the backbone of remote server administration, allowing users to execute commands, manage files, and perform software installations remotely. The importance of SSH lies in its ability to provide encrypted connections between two parties, ensuring that sensitive data remains confidential and protected against cyber threats.

Setting Up SSH on Ubuntu 20.04

Installing the SSH Server

To begin using SSH on Ubuntu 20.04, you must first install the OpenSSH server package. Here’s how:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install openssh-server

Once installed, the SSH service will start automatically. You can verify the status of the service with:

sudo systemctl status ssh

Configuring SSH

After installation, it’s crucial to configure SSH to enhance security. The main configuration file for SSH is located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config. To edit this file, use your preferred text editor:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Here are some recommended configurations:

  • Change the default SSH port to reduce the risk of automated attacks.
  • Disable root login to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Use public key authentication instead of passwords for added security.

Managing SSH Keys

SSH keys offer a more secure way of logging into a server than using passwords alone. To generate a new SSH key pair, use the following command:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

This creates a private key, which should be kept secret, and a public key, which can be shared.

Connecting to a Remote Server via SSH

To connect to a remote server, use the following command:

ssh username@server_ip_address

If you’ve changed the default SSH port, specify it with the -p option:

ssh -p port_number username@server_ip_address

Advanced SSH Features

Using SSH Config Files

Create an SSH config file for easier connection management:

nano ~/.ssh/config

Add entries for each host you connect to frequently:

Host myserver
    HostName server_ip_address
    User username
    Port port_number
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/my_private_key

SSH Tunneling and Port Forwarding

SSH tunneling allows you to forward ports securely. For example, to forward a local port to a remote server:

ssh -L local_port:localhost:remote_port username@server_ip_address

Automating Tasks with SSH

You can automate tasks by running commands directly:

ssh username@server_ip_address "command_to_run"

Troubleshooting Common SSH Issues

Encountering issues with SSH is common. Here are some troubleshooting steps:

  • Ensure the SSH service is running on the server.
  • Check if the server firewall allows SSH connections.
  • Verify that your client’s IP address is not blocked by the server.

Securing Your SSH Environment

Implementing Key-Based Authentication

Passwords can be vulnerable to brute-force attacks. Switching to key-based authentication adds an extra layer of security. To do so, copy your public key to the server:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ username@server_ip_address

Hardening SSH Configuration

Beyond basic configurations, consider these advanced security measures:

  • Use fail2ban to protect against brute-force attacks.
  • Limit user access with AllowUsers or AllowGroups directives.
  • Regularly update your SSH packages to patch vulnerabilities.

FAQ Section

How do I restart the SSH service on Ubuntu 20.04?

To restart the SSH service, use:

sudo systemctl restart ssh

Can I use SSH without a password?

Yes, by setting up key-based authentication, you can connect to SSH without a password.

What is the default port for SSH?

The default port for SSH is 22.

How do I change the SSH port on Ubuntu 20.04?

Edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and modify the Port directive.

Is SSH secure over public Wi-Fi?

SSH provides encryption, making it secure even over public Wi-Fi networks.


In conclusion, mastering SSH on Ubuntu 20.04 is a valuable skill for anyone managing servers. By following the guidelines provided in this article, you can ensure secure and efficient remote server administration. Remember to stay updated on security practices and continuously monitor your SSH environment for any suspicious activity.


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