ubuntu server raspberry pi ssh

admin3 April 2024Last Update :

Unleashing the Power of Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi: A Guide to Remote Management via SSH

ubuntu server raspberry pi ssh

Welcome to the world where compact computing meets robust server capabilities. The Raspberry Pi, a tiny yet powerful device, has revolutionized the DIY tech space and educational environments alike. When combined with Ubuntu Server, an open-source Linux distribution, it becomes a powerhouse for learning, experimentation, and deployment of real-world server applications. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into setting up and managing an Ubuntu Server on a Raspberry Pi using Secure Shell (SSH), a protocol essential for secure remote access and administration.

Understanding the Basics: Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu Server

The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed to promote teaching basic computer science in schools and developing countries. Its low cost, modularity, and open design make it accessible and versatile for various projects. Ubuntu Server, on the other hand, is a free and open-source operating system that offers enterprise-class power for servers. It’s lightweight, efficient, and equipped with the latest technologies, making it ideal for scale-out computing.

Why Combine Ubuntu Server with Raspberry Pi?

Combining Ubuntu Server with Raspberry Pi creates a cost-effective, energy-efficient server suitable for tasks ranging from file serving to hosting web applications. This setup is perfect for hobbyists, developers, and small businesses looking to build a server without investing in expensive hardware.

Prerequisites for Setting Up Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi

  • A Raspberry Pi model with network capability (e.g., Raspberry Pi 3/4)
  • A microSD card (16GB or larger recommended)
  • Access to a monitor and keyboard for initial setup (optional if using headless setup)
  • An internet connection
  • Another computer to prepare the SD card and access the Raspberry Pi remotely

Step-by-Step Installation of Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi

Before diving into SSH, let’s walk through the process of installing Ubuntu Server on your Raspberry Pi.

Downloading and Flashing Ubuntu Server

Firstly, download the appropriate Ubuntu Server image for your Raspberry Pi model from the official Ubuntu website. Use software like balenaEtcher to flash the image onto your microSD card. Once flashed, insert the card into your Raspberry Pi and power it up.

Initial Configuration

If you have a monitor and keyboard connected, you’ll be greeted by a setup screen. Follow the prompts to configure your username, password, network settings, and any additional setup steps. If you’re going headless, you’ll need to enable SSH by placing an empty file named ‘ssh’ onto the boot partition of the SD card before starting your Pi.

Enabling and Securing SSH Access

With Ubuntu Server running on your Raspberry Pi, it’s time to enable and secure SSH access for remote management.

Enabling SSH on Ubuntu Server

SSH is enabled by default on Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS and later. However, if you need to enable or disable it manually, you can do so using the following command:

sudo systemctl enable ssh
sudo systemctl start ssh

Securing Your SSH Connection

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

  • Change the default port from 22 to a non-standard port.
  • Use key-based authentication instead of passwords.
  • Disable root login over SSH.
  • Implement a firewall using UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall).

To change the default SSH port and disable root login, edit the SSH configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Locate the lines Port 22 and PermitRootLogin yes, change them accordingly, and then restart the SSH service:

sudo systemctl restart ssh

Connecting to Ubuntu Server via SSH

From another computer, use an SSH client to connect to your Raspberry Pi. For example, on a Unix-like system, you would use:

ssh username@raspberrypi.local

Replace “username” with your actual username and “raspberrypi.local” with the IP address or hostname of your Raspberry Pi.

Managing Your Ubuntu Server Remotely

Once connected via SSH, you have full control over your Ubuntu Server. You can install software, update packages, configure services, and much more—all from the comfort of your primary workstation.

Advanced SSH Tips and Tricks

Beyond basic connectivity, SSH offers advanced features such as SSH tunneling, mounting remote filesystems with SSHFS, and automating tasks with SSH keys.

FAQ Section

Can I run a graphical user interface (GUI) on Ubuntu Server via SSH?

Yes, you can use X11 forwarding to run GUI applications over SSH, although Ubuntu Server is typically managed via the command line.

How do I transfer files to my Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi?

You can use SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) to securely transfer files over SSH.

Is it safe to expose my Raspberry Pi to the internet?

Exposing any device directly to the internet comes with risks. Ensure you’ve implemented strong security measures and consider using a VPN or reverse proxy for additional protection.


Setting up Ubuntu Server on a Raspberry Pi and managing it via SSH is a rewarding project that teaches valuable skills. With this guide, you’re well-equipped to embark on your journey of remote server administration, leveraging the power of SSH for a secure and efficient workflow.


For further reading and resources, please consult the following:

By harnessing the synergy between Ubuntu Server and Raspberry Pi, you unlock a realm of possibilities for personal projects, education, or even small business solutions. As you continue to explore and expand your knowledge, remember that the community is rich with resources and fellow enthusiasts eager to support your endeavors. Happy computing!

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