Quick Guide to Enabling SSH on Ubuntu 24.04

Secure Shell (SSH) is an essential protocol for securely accessing networked machines remotely. SSH offers a secure channel over an unsecured network, providing strong authentication and encrypted data communications between two computers connecting over an open network such as the internet. Ubuntu 24.04, like its predecessors, supports SSH for remote administration, file transfer, and more. This guide will walk you through the process of enabling SSH on your Ubuntu 24.04 system, ensuring secure and remote management capabilities.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to install the OpenSSH server on Ubuntu 24.04
  • How to check the SSH service status and enable it if necessary
  • How to allow SSH through the UFW firewall
  • Best practices for connecting to your machine via SSH
Enabling SSH on Ubuntu 24.04
Enabling SSH on Ubuntu 24.04

Getting Started

Before diving into the SSH setup process, ensure your Ubuntu system is updated to minimize security risks and improve system stability. This preparation involves updating the package lists for upgrades of packages that need updating as well as new packages that have just come to the repositories.

  1. Update Your System: Before installing any new software, it’s a good practice to update your system’s package list and upgrade the existing packages to their latest versions.
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt upgrade

    This ensures that you have all the latest security patches and software updates, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.

  2. Install OpenSSH Server: With your system updated, the next step is to install the OpenSSH server package. This package contains the necessary software to run an SSH server.
    $ sudo apt install ssh

    Once installed, the SSH service will start automatically. However, it’s always a good idea to verify that the service is running properly.

  3. Enable SSH Service to Start on Boot: To ensure that the SSH service automatically starts after a reboot, you need to enable it using systemctl.
    $ sudo systemctl enable ssh

    This command configures the system to start the SSH server automatically whenever the system boots up, ensuring that remote access is available after restarts without manual intervention.

  4. Verify SSH Service Status: To check the SSH service’s status and confirm that it’s active and running, use the systemctl command.
    $ sudo systemctl status ssh
    Verify SSH Service Status
    Verify SSH Service Status

    If the service is not running, you can start it with the command:

    $ sudo systemctl start ssh

    This step ensures that the SSH server is operational and ready to accept connections.

  5. Configure Firewall: If you are using the UFW firewall, it’s necessary to configure it to allow SSH connections. This step is crucial for remote access, especially if you’re operating in a protected network environment.
    $ sudo ufw allow ssh
    $ sudo ufw enable

    This command configures UFW to allow inbound SSH connections, ensuring that remote attempts to connect to the server via SSH are not blocked by the firewall.

  6. Connect to Your Ubuntu Machine via SSH: With SSH enabled and the firewall configured, you can now connect to your Ubuntu machine from another computer using SSH.
    $ ssh username@your_server_ip_OR_hostname

    Replace username with your actual username on the Ubuntu system, and your_server_ip with the IP address of your Ubuntu machine. This allows for secure remote access to your system.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have successfully enabled SSH on your Ubuntu 24.04 system, allowing for secure, encrypted connections for remote administration. Regularly updating your system and SSH configuration, along with practicing secure SSH protocols, will help maintain the security and integrity of your remote connections. SSH offers a robust set of features for secure communication and is a critical tool for system administrators and anyone needing secure access to remote systems.


1. What is SSH?
SSH, or Secure Shell, is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. It provides a secure channel over an unsecured network in a client-server architecture, enabling users to connect to a remote server securely.
2. Why should I use SSH for remote access?
SSH is preferred for remote access due to its encryption capabilities, which secure data communications from eavesdropping, connection hijacking, and other network-level attacks. It allows for secure file transfers, command execution, and network services over an insecure network.
3. Can I use SSH without a password?
Yes, you can configure SSH to use key-based authentication, which allows you to connect to a remote server without entering a password. This method uses a pair of cryptographic keys to authenticate to the SSH server, enhancing security.
4. How do I generate SSH keys?
You can generate SSH keys using the `ssh-keygen` command. This command creates a private key and a corresponding public key. The private key is kept secret and secure by the user, while the public key can be shared with any SSH server you wish to connect to.
5. How do I copy my SSH public key to a remote server?
You can copy your SSH public key to a remote server using the `ssh-copy-id` command followed by the username and IP address of the server. This command appends the public key to the remote user’s `~/.ssh/authorized_keys` file, allowing key-based authentication.
6. What is the default SSH port, and should I change it?
The default SSH port is 22. Changing the SSH port can be a simple measure to reduce the risk of automated attacks. However, remember to update firewall rules accordingly and ensure the new port is not used by another service.
7. How do I change the SSH port on my Ubuntu server?
To change the SSH port, edit the `/etc/ssh/sshd_config` file, find the line that says `Port 22`, and change `22` to your desired port number. After making the change, restart the SSH service for the changes to take effect.
8. How can I disable SSH root login?
Disabling SSH root login enhances security. Edit the `/etc/ssh/sshd_config` file, find the line `PermitRootLogin` and set it to `no`. Then, restart the SSH service to apply the changes.
9. How do I troubleshoot connection issues to my SSH server?
Troubleshooting SSH connection issues can involve checking the SSH service status, verifying firewall settings, ensuring the correct port is used, and checking the server’s SSH configuration for any restrictions or errors.
10. Can I use SSH to tunnel other protocols for secure communication?
Yes, SSH can be used to create secure tunnels for other protocols, enabling secure browsing, secure access to internal network services, and more. This is achieved by forwarding ports over an established SSH connection.
11. What is SSH agent forwarding and how does it work?
SSH agent forwarding allows you to use your local SSH keys on a remote server without physically copying them to the server. It works by forwarding requests from the SSH client on the server back to your local machine’s SSH agent.
12. How do I enable SSH agent forwarding?
To enable SSH agent forwarding, you can use the `-A` option with the `ssh` command when connecting to your remote server, or configure it permanently in your `~/.ssh/config` file by adding `ForwardAgent yes` under the host entry.
13. What is the difference between SSH and Telnet?
The primary difference between SSH and Telnet is security. SSH provides a secure channel with encryption and authentication, whereas Telnet transmits data in plaintext, making it susceptible to interception and eavesdropping.
14. Can SSH be used for file transfers?
Yes, SSH provides a secure method for file transfer via SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol), both of which use SSH’s secure channel to encrypt data during transfer.

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