ubuntu 20.04 install sshd

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Mastering SSHD Installation on Ubuntu 20.04: A Comprehensive Guide

ubuntu 20.04 install sshd

Welcome to the definitive guide on installing and configuring SSHD (Secure Shell Daemon) on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa). Whether you’re a system administrator, developer, or IT enthusiast, mastering SSHD is crucial for secure remote access and management of Linux servers. This article will walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring that by the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to set up SSHD like a pro.

Introduction to SSHD on Ubuntu 20.04

Ubuntu 20.04, also known as Focal Fossa, is a long-term support release from Canonical, offering users stability and security for their systems. One key component in maintaining a secure server environment is the ability to remotely manage your machine using SSH (Secure Shell). SSH provides a secure channel over an unsecured network, allowing for encrypted communication between devices.

SSHD refers to the daemon program that runs on the server and listens for incoming SSH connections. Installing and configuring SSHD on your Ubuntu 20.04 server is not only about enabling remote access but also about securing it against unauthorized use. Let’s dive into the intricacies of setting up SSHD and explore how to make your server both accessible and secure.

Prerequisites for Installing SSHD on Ubuntu 20.04

Before we begin the installation process, ensure that you have:

  • An instance of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installed on your server or virtual machine.
  • A user account with sudo privileges to execute administrative commands.
  • Access to a terminal window/command line interface (CLI).
  • An active internet connection to download necessary packages.

Step-by-Step Installation of SSHD on Ubuntu 20.04

Updating System Packages

Firstly, it’s good practice to update your package list and upgrade existing packages to their latest versions. Run the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Installing OpenSSH Server Package

With your system updated, proceed to install the OpenSSH server package by executing:

sudo apt install openssh-server -y

This command installs the SSHD service along with other required components.

Verifying SSHD Service Status

After installation, SSHD should start automatically. To verify this, use the systemctl command:

sudo systemctl status ssh

You should see an output indicating that the service is active (running).

Configuring SSHD on Ubuntu 20.04

With SSHD installed, the next step is to configure it for security and efficiency.

Editing the SSHD Configuration File

The main configuration file for SSHD is located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Use your preferred text editor to modify it:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Here are some recommended changes:

  • Change the default SSH port (22) to a non-standard port to reduce the risk of automated attacks.
  • Disable root login over SSH by setting PermitRootLogin no.
  • Allow only specific users to connect by adding AllowUsers your_username.

After making changes, save the file and restart the SSHD service:

sudo systemctl restart ssh

Securing SSH with Key-Based Authentication

Password-based authentication can be vulnerable to brute-force attacks. A more secure alternative is key-based authentication. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Generate an SSH key pair on your local machine using ssh-keygen.
  2. Copy the public key to your Ubuntu server using ssh-copy-id.
  3. Once copied, disable password authentication in the sshd_config file by setting PasswordAuthentication no.
  4. Restart the SSHD service to apply changes.

Troubleshooting Common SSHD Issues

Even with proper setup, you might encounter issues. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • If you cannot connect, check your firewall settings to ensure the SSH port is open.
  • Verify that the SSHD service is running on your server.
  • Ensure your client’s IP address is not blocked by any fail2ban rules or similar software.

Advanced SSHD Configurations and Tips

Beyond basic setup, consider these advanced configurations for enhanced performance and security:

  • Use Match blocks in sshd_config to apply different rules for specific users or addresses.
  • Implement two-factor authentication for an additional layer of security.
  • Regularly review and rotate SSH keys to maintain key hygiene.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the SSH port on Ubuntu 20.04?

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 install SSHD without sudo privileges?

No, installing system services like SSHD requires administrative privileges. You must have access to a user account with sudo rights.

Is it safe to disable password authentication for SSH?

Yes, as long as you’ve set up key-based authentication correctly, disabling password authentication can significantly improve security.

What should I do if I’m locked out of my server after changing the SSH configuration?

If you have physical access to the server or console access through a virtual machine manager, you can log in directly and revert the changes. Always test new configurations before logging out of an active session.


Installing and configuring SSHD on Ubuntu 20.04 is a straightforward process that can greatly enhance the security and manageability of your server. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to set up a robust SSHD installation tailored to your needs. Remember to keep your server updated, regularly audit your SSH configurations, and stay informed about best practices to ensure ongoing security.


Note: The code snippets provided in this article are intended for educational purposes and may require modification to work in specific environments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments Rules :

Breaking News