Using SSH to connect to a remote server is as simple as remembering the details: username, host, and password, plus any connection-specific quirks, like non-standard port.
That said, the more remote servers to which you need to connect on a regular basis—each with its own access configuration—the more complicated a task it can become to keep all these details straight.
Fortunately you can create shorthand for each of these connections in your SSH config file, located in the
.ssh subdirectory inside your home directory (
If either the subdirectory or the file don’t exist, create them:
## create ".ssh" subdirectory mkdir -p ~/.ssh ## create "config" file and assign permissions touch ~/.ssh/config && chmod 0600 ~/.ssh/config
Then, create a new
Host entry in this file for each connection, including in it all of the access parameters for that connection. Generally this includes:
The “alias” for the connection. Make it something memorable, short, and easy to type.
Not to be confused with Host, this is the domain or IP address for the server to which you want to connect.
The username for the connection.
SSH will use port 22 by default. This only needs to be included if you’re connecting on a different port.
If you’ve configured a public / private key pair for this connection (bravo) this is the path to the private key. If you’re using one default public / private key pair for all connections (yikes) this can be omitted.
[Want more options? Click here for the full list.]
Let’s assume we,
t_anderson, want to make a connection to
metacortex.com on port
2222, using a private key located at
~/.ssh/metacortex. Here’s the old-fashioned way of doing it:
# first we associate the private key with the connection ssh -i ~/.ssh/metacortex firstname.lastname@example.org # then we create the connection ssh email@example.com -p 2222
And now the SSH config way. We add a
Host entry to
~/.ssh/config, using “mc” for our connection shorthand:
Host mc HostName metacortex.com User t_anderson Port 2222 IdentityFile ~/.ssh/metacortex
And now all we need to do to make the connection is type:
Followed by saying “I’m in“, of course.