How to Install SSHD service on Ubuntu Linux in Seconds

The Secure Shell Daemon (SSHD) is a critical service for Linux users and administrators, providing a secure method to access remote machines over an insecure network. This service encrypts the connection between the client and the server, ensuring that sensitive information, such as passwords and user data, is transmitted securely. This comprehensive guide will walk you through enabling and installing the SSHD service on Ubuntu Linux, covering the basics for beginners and diving into more advanced options for seasoned users.

What is SSHD?

SSHD, the daemon for the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, listens for incoming connections from clients, offering a secure channel over an unsecured network. It’s widely used for remote system management, file transfers, and even for running graphical applications on a remote host. Before diving into the installation process, it’s essential to understand the importance of SSHD in maintaining the security and integrity of your communications.

Step 1: Checking for Existing SSHD Installation

Most Linux distributions come with SSHD installed and, in some cases, even enabled by default. To check if SSHD is already installed on your Ubuntu system, you can use the following command in the terminal:

sshd -v

or

systemctl status sshd

If you see an output indicating the version of SSHD or that the service is active, you do not need to install SSHD. If it’s not installed, follow the steps below to install it.

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Step 2: Installing SSHD on Ubuntu

Debian, Ubuntu, and other Debian-based distributions use the apt package management system. To install SSHD, run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install openssh-server

Installing SSH On Red Hat-based Distributions (Including Fedora and CentOS)

For Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, and other derivatives, yum or dnf package managers are used. Install SSHD by running:

sudo yum install openssh-server

or, if you’re using dnf:

sudo dnf install openssh-server

On Arch Linux

Arch Linux and its derivatives use the pacman package manager. To install SSHD, execute:

sudo pacman -S openssh

Step 3: Enabling and Starting SSHD Service

After installing SSHD, you need to enable and start the service to begin accepting connections. Use the systemctl command as follows:

sudo systemctl enable sshd
sudo systemctl start sshd

This command ensures that SSHD starts automatically at boot time and is currently running on your system.

Step 4: Configuring SSHD (Optional)

The default configuration of SSHD is generally secure for most users. However, you might want to tweak some settings to suit your specific needs, such as changing the default port, disabling root login, or limiting user access. These configurations can be made in the SSHD configuration file, typically found at /etc/ssh/sshd_config.

For example, to change the default port and disable root login, you would add or modify the following lines in sshd_config:

Port 2222
PermitRootLogin no

After making changes, remember to restart the SSHD service to apply them:

sudo systemctl restart sshd

Step 5: Adjusting the Firewall Settings

If your Linux distribution uses a firewall, you’ll need to adjust the settings to allow SSH connections. For example, on systems using UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall), you can allow SSH by running:

sudo ufw allow ssh

Or, if you’ve changed the default SSH port:

sudo ufw allow 2222/tcp

Conclusion

SSHD is a cornerstone for secure remote access in the Linux ecosystem. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your system is set up to use SSHD effectively, providing a secure channel for remote administration. Remember, while the default settings are suitable for most users, periodically reviewing and adjusting your SSHD configuration can help maintain the security of your systems in the face of evolving threats.

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