How to use SSH to connect to a remote server

To establish a connection with a remote machine depending on the operation system you are running, there are two most commonly used protocols:

  • Secure Shell (SSH) for Linux based machine.
  • Remote desktop protocal (RDP) for Windows based machine.

This protocols use client and server applications to establish a remote connection. It allows you to gain access and remotely manage other machines. Today’s topic focuses on Linux based machine and I am using Ubuntu 16.04.

How to install an OpenSSH Client

For Linux Ubuntu, you can install the openssh-server to enable the SSH on Ubuntu client machine. For Windows machine, you can install PuTTY or any other client of your choice.

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

OpenSSH defaults

  • TCP port: 22
  • OpenSSH server config file is called sshd_config which is located at /etc/ssh/

How to install an OpenSSH Server

In order to accept SSH connections, a machine needs to have a server-side part of the SSH. First, you can check if OpenSSH server is available on the Ubuntu server machine of the remote computer that needs to accept SSH connections, you can try to connect to the localhost.

ssh localhost

Ubuntu machine that without the SSH server installed, the screen may shows:

username@host:~$ ssh localhost
ssh: connect to host localhost port 22: Connection refused username@host:~$

The port 22 is not established, therefore the connection is refused. Then, you can install the SSH server,

sudo apt-get install openssh-server ii

You can check if SSH server is running after the installation is completed on the Ubuntu machine by using command below:

sudo service ssh status

The screenshot above show the status is active and running currently. Then, we can move back to the client machine which can be our local machine to try the command ssh to the remote server machine.

How to connect via SSH

Open the terminal from your machine and run command: ssh username@host_ip_address

Key in the password and start connecting. If you are connected for the first time, an ECDSA key fingerprint is required, so just follow the instruction on the terminal and then, you are connected to the remote server. If the default port has changed, you can specify the port behind the ip address with -p 9876

Firewall rules

Next you may want to look at the firewall setting in the server machine to ensure the port is listening, not blocked by firewall and forwarded incorrectly.