SSHD(8)                   BSD System Manager's Manual                  SSHD(8)

     sshd -- OpenSSH daemon

     sshd [-46DdeiqTt] [-C connection_spec] [-c host_certificate_file]
          [-E log_file] [-f config_file] [-g login_grace_time]
          [-h host_key_file] [-o option] [-p port] [-u len]

     sshd (OpenSSH Daemon) is the daemon program for ssh(1).  Together these
     programs replace rlogin and rsh, and provide secure encrypted communica-
     tions between two untrusted hosts over an insecure network.

     sshd listens for connections from clients.  It is normally started at
     boot from /etc/init.d/ssh.  It forks a new daemon for each incoming con-
     nection.  The forked daemons handle key exchange, encryption, authentica-
     tion, command execution, and data exchange.

     sshd can be configured using command-line options or a configuration file
     (by default sshd_config(5)); command-line options override values speci-
     fied in the configuration file.  sshd rereads its configuration file when
     it receives a hangup signal, SIGHUP, by executing itself with the name
     and options it was started with, e.g. /usr/sbin/sshd.

     The options are as follows:

     -4      Forces sshd to use IPv4 addresses only.

     -6      Forces sshd to use IPv6 addresses only.

     -C connection_spec
             Specify the connection parameters to use for the -T extended test
             mode.  If provided, any Match directives in the configuration
             file that would apply are applied before the configuration is
             written to standard output.  The connection parameters are sup-
             plied as keyword=value pairs and may be supplied in any order,
             either with multiple -C options or as a comma-separated list.
             The keywords are "addr," "user", "host", "laddr", "lport", and
             "rdomain" and correspond to source address, user, resolved source
             host name, local address, local port number and routing domain

     -c host_certificate_file
             Specifies a path to a certificate file to identify sshd during
             key exchange.  The certificate file must match a host key file
             specified using the -h option or the HostKey configuration direc-

     -D      When this option is specified, sshd will not detach and does not
             become a daemon.  This allows easy monitoring of sshd.

     -d      Debug mode.  The server sends verbose debug output to standard
             error, and does not put itself in the background.  The server
             also will not fork and will only process one connection.  This
             option is only intended for debugging for the server.  Multiple
             -d options increase the debugging level.  Maximum is 3.

     -E log_file
             Append debug logs to log_file instead of the system log.

     -e      Write debug logs to standard error instead of the system log.

     -f config_file
             Specifies the name of the configuration file.  The default is
             /etc/ssh/sshd_config.  sshd refuses to start if there is no con-
             figuration file.

     -g login_grace_time
             Gives the grace time for clients to authenticate themselves (de-
             fault 120 seconds).  If the client fails to authenticate the user
             within this many seconds, the server disconnects and exits.  A
             value of zero indicates no limit.

     -h host_key_file
             Specifies a file from which a host key is read.  This option must
             be given if sshd is not run as root (as the normal host key files
             are normally not readable by anyone but root).  The default is
             /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key, /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key and
             /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key.  It is possible to have multiple host
             key files for the different host key algorithms.

     -i      Specifies that sshd is being run from inetd(8).

     -o option
             Can be used to give options in the format used in the configura-
             tion file.  This is useful for specifying options for which there
             is no separate command-line flag.  For full details of the op-
             tions, and their values, see sshd_config(5).

     -p port
             Specifies the port on which the server listens for connections
             (default 22).  Multiple port options are permitted.  Ports speci-
             fied in the configuration file with the Port option are ignored
             when a command-line port is specified.  Ports specified using the
             ListenAddress option override command-line ports.

     -q      Quiet mode.  Nothing is sent to the system log.  Normally the be-
             ginning, authentication, and termination of each connection is

     -T      Extended test mode.  Check the validity of the configuration
             file, output the effective configuration to stdout and then exit.
             Optionally, Match rules may be applied by specifying the connec-
             tion parameters using one or more -C options.

     -t      Test mode.  Only check the validity of the configuration file and
             sanity of the keys.  This is useful for updating sshd reliably as
             configuration options may change.

     -u len  This option is used to specify the size of the field in the utmp
             structure that holds the remote host name.  If the resolved host
             name is longer than len, the dotted decimal value will be used
             instead.  This allows hosts with very long host names that over-
             flow this field to still be uniquely identified.  Specifying -u0
             indicates that only dotted decimal addresses should be put into
             the utmp file.  -u0 may also be used to prevent sshd from making
             DNS requests unless the authentication mechanism or configuration
             requires it.  Authentication mechanisms that may require DNS in-
             clude HostbasedAuthentication and using a from="pattern-list" op-
             tion in a key file.  Configuration options that require DNS in-
             clude using a USER@HOST pattern in AllowUsers or DenyUsers.

     The OpenSSH SSH daemon supports SSH protocol 2 only.  Each host has a
     host-specific key, used to identify the host.  Whenever a client con-
     nects, the daemon responds with its public host key.  The client compares
     the host key against its own database to verify that it has not changed.
     Forward secrecy is provided through a Diffie-Hellman key agreement.  This
     key agreement results in a shared session key.  The rest of the session
     is encrypted using a symmetric cipher.  The client selects the encryption
     algorithm to use from those offered by the server.  Additionally, session
     integrity is provided through a cryptographic message authentication code

     Finally, the server and the client enter an authentication dialog.  The
     client tries to authenticate itself using host-based authentication, pub-
     lic key authentication, challenge-response authentication, or password

     Regardless of the authentication type, the account is checked to ensure
     that it is accessible.  An account is not accessible if it is locked,
     listed in DenyUsers or its group is listed in DenyGroups .  The defini-
     tion of a locked account is system dependent. Some platforms have their
     own account database (eg AIX) and some modify the passwd field ( '*LK*'
     on Solaris and UnixWare, '*' on HP-UX, containing 'Nologin' on Tru64, a
     leading '*LOCKED*' on FreeBSD and a leading '!' on most Linuxes).  If
     there is a requirement to disable password authentication for the account
     while allowing still public-key, then the passwd field should be set to
     something other than these values (eg 'NP' or '*NP*' ).

     If the client successfully authenticates itself, a dialog for preparing
     the session is entered.  At this time the client may request things like
     allocating a pseudo-tty, forwarding X11 connections, forwarding TCP con-
     nections, or forwarding the authentication agent connection over the se-
     cure channel.

     After this, the client either requests a shell or execution of a command.
     The sides then enter session mode.  In this mode, either side may send
     data at any time, and such data is forwarded to/from the shell or command
     on the server side, and the user terminal in the client side.

     When the user program terminates and all forwarded X11 and other connec-
     tions have been closed, the server sends command exit status to the
     client, and both sides exit.

     When a user successfully logs in, sshd does the following:

           1.   If the login is on a tty, and no command has been specified,
                prints last login time and /etc/motd (unless prevented in the
                configuration file or by ~/.hushlogin; see the FILES section).

           2.   If the login is on a tty, records login time.

           3.   Checks /etc/nologin; if it exists, prints contents and quits
                (unless root).

           4.   Changes to run with normal user privileges.

           5.   Sets up basic environment.

           6.   Reads the file ~/.ssh/environment, if it exists, and users are
                allowed to change their environment.  See the
                PermitUserEnvironment option in sshd_config(5).

           7.   Changes to user's home directory.

           8.   If ~/.ssh/rc exists and the sshd_config(5) PermitUserRC option
                is set, runs it; else if /etc/ssh/sshrc exists, runs it; oth-
                erwise runs xauth.  The "rc" files are given the X11 authenti-
                cation protocol and cookie in standard input.  See SSHRC, be-

           9.   Runs user's shell or command.  All commands are run under the
                user's login shell as specified in the system password data-

     If the file ~/.ssh/rc exists, sh(1) runs it after reading the environment
     files but before starting the user's shell or command.  It must not pro-
     duce any output on stdout; stderr must be used instead.  If X11 forward-
     ing is in use, it will receive the "proto cookie" pair in its standard
     input (and DISPLAY in its environment).  The script must call xauth(1)
     because sshd will not run xauth automatically to add X11 cookies.

     The primary purpose of this file is to run any initialization routines
     which may be needed before the user's home directory becomes accessible;
     AFS is a particular example of such an environment.

     This file will probably contain some initialization code followed by
     something similar to:

        if read proto cookie && [ -n "$DISPLAY" ]; then
                if [ `echo $DISPLAY | cut -c1-10` = 'localhost:' ]; then
                        # X11UseLocalhost=yes
                        echo add unix:`echo $DISPLAY |
                            cut -c11-` $proto $cookie
                        # X11UseLocalhost=no
                        echo add $DISPLAY $proto $cookie
                fi | xauth -q -

     If this file does not exist, /etc/ssh/sshrc is run, and if that does not
     exist either, xauth is used to add the cookie.

     AuthorizedKeysFile specifies the files containing public keys for public
     key authentication; if this option is not specified, the default is
     ~/.ssh/authorized_keys and ~/.ssh/authorized_keys2.  Each line of the
     file contains one key (empty lines and lines starting with a '#' are ig-
     nored as comments).  Public keys consist of the following space-separated
     fields: options, keytype, base64-encoded key, comment.  The options field
     is optional.  The supported key types are:


     The comment field is not used for anything (but may be convenient for the
     user to identify the key).

     Note that lines in this file can be several hundred bytes long (because
     of the size of the public key encoding) up to a limit of 8 kilobytes,
     which permits RSA keys up to 16 kilobits.  You don't want to type them
     in; instead, copy the,,,,, or the file and edit it.

     sshd enforces a minimum RSA key modulus size of 1024 bits.

     The options (if present) consist of comma-separated option specifica-
     tions.  No spaces are permitted, except within double quotes.  The fol-
     lowing option specifications are supported (note that option keywords are

             Enable authentication agent forwarding previously disabled by the
             restrict option.

             Specifies that the listed key is a certification authority (CA)
             that is trusted to validate signed certificates for user authen-

             Certificates may encode access restrictions similar to these key
             options.  If both certificate restrictions and key options are
             present, the most restrictive union of the two is applied.

             Specifies that the command is executed whenever this key is used
             for authentication.  The command supplied by the user (if any) is
             ignored.  The command is run on a pty if the client requests a
             pty; otherwise it is run without a tty.  If an 8-bit clean chan-
             nel is required, one must not request a pty or should specify
             no-pty.  A quote may be included in the command by quoting it
             with a backslash.

             This option might be useful to restrict certain public keys to
             perform just a specific operation.  An example might be a key
             that permits remote backups but nothing else.  Note that the
             client may specify TCP and/or X11 forwarding unless they are ex-
             plicitly prohibited, e.g. using the restrict key option.

             The command originally supplied by the client is available in the
             SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND environment variable.  Note that this option
             applies to shell, command or subsystem execution.  Also note that
             this command may be superseded by a sshd_config(5) ForceCommand

             If a command is specified and a forced-command is embedded in a
             certificate used for authentication, then the certificate will be
             accepted only if the two commands are identical.

             Specifies that the string is to be added to the environment when
             logging in using this key.  Environment variables set this way
             override other default environment values.  Multiple options of
             this type are permitted.  Environment processing is disabled by
             default and is controlled via the PermitUserEnvironment option.

             Specifies a time after which the key will not be accepted.  The
             time may be specified as a YYYYMMDD date or a YYYYMMDDHHMM[SS]
             time in the system time-zone.

             Specifies that in addition to public key authentication, either
             the canonical name of the remote host or its IP address must be
             present in the comma-separated list of patterns.  See PATTERNS in
             ssh_config(5) for more information on patterns.

             In addition to the wildcard matching that may be applied to host-
             names or addresses, a from stanza may match IP addresses using
             CIDR address/masklen notation.

             The purpose of this option is to optionally increase security:
             public key authentication by itself does not trust the network or
             name servers or anything (but the key); however, if somebody
             somehow steals the key, the key permits an intruder to log in
             from anywhere in the world.  This additional option makes using a
             stolen key more difficult (name servers and/or routers would have
             to be compromised in addition to just the key).

             Forbids authentication agent forwarding when this key is used for

             Forbids TCP forwarding when this key is used for authentication.
             Any port forward requests by the client will return an error.
             This might be used, e.g. in connection with the command option.

     no-pty  Prevents tty allocation (a request to allocate a pty will fail).

             Disables execution of ~/.ssh/rc.

             Forbids X11 forwarding when this key is used for authentication.
             Any X11 forward requests by the client will return an error.

             Limit remote port forwarding with the ssh(1) -R option such that
             it may only listen on the specified host (optional) and port.
             IPv6 addresses can be specified by enclosing the address in
             square brackets.  Multiple permitlisten options may be applied
             separated by commas.  Hostnames may include wildcards as de-
             scribed in the PATTERNS section in ssh_config(5).  A port speci-
             fication of * matches any port.  Note that the setting of
             GatewayPorts may further restrict listen addresses.  Note that
             ssh(1) will send a hostname of "localhost" if a listen host was
             not specified when the forwarding was requested, and that this
             name is treated differently to the explicit localhost addresses
             "" and "::1".

             Limit local port forwarding with the ssh(1) -L option such that
             it may only connect to the specified host and port.  IPv6 ad-
             dresses can be specified by enclosing the address in square
             brackets.  Multiple permitopen options may be applied separated
             by commas.  No pattern matching or name lookup is performed on
             the specified hostnames, they must be literal host names and/or
             addresses.  A port specification of * matches any port.

             Enable port forwarding previously disabled by the restrict op-

             On a cert-authority line, specifies allowed principals for cer-
             tificate authentication as a comma-separated list.  At least one
             name from the list must appear in the certificate's list of prin-
             cipals for the certificate to be accepted.  This option is ig-
             nored for keys that are not marked as trusted certificate signers
             using the cert-authority option.

     pty     Permits tty allocation previously disabled by the restrict op-

             Do not require demonstration of user presence for signatures made
             using this key.  This option only makes sense for the FIDO au-
             thenticator algorithms ecdsa-sk and ed25519-sk.

             Enable all restrictions, i.e. disable port, agent and X11 for-
             warding, as well as disabling PTY allocation and execution of
             ~/.ssh/rc.  If any future restriction capabilities are added to
             authorized_keys files they will be included in this set.

             Force a tun(4) device on the server.  Without this option, the
             next available device will be used if the client requests a tun-

             Enables execution of ~/.ssh/rc previously disabled by the
             restrict option.

             Permits X11 forwarding previously disabled by the restrict op-

     An example authorized_keys file:

        # Comments allowed at start of line
        ssh-rsa AAAAB3Nza...LiPk==
        from="*,!" ssh-rsa
        command="dump /home",no-pty,no-port-forwarding ssh-rsa
        permitopen="",permitopen="" ssh-rsa
        permitlisten="localhost:8080",permitopen="localhost:22000" ssh-rsa
        tunnel="0",command="sh /etc/netstart tun0" ssh-rsa AAAA...==
        restrict,command="uptime" ssh-rsa AAAA1C8...32Tv==
        restrict,pty,command="nethack" ssh-rsa AAAA1f8...IrrC5==
        no-touch-required AAAAInN...Ko==

     The /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts and ~/.ssh/known_hosts files contain host
     public keys for all known hosts.  The global file should be prepared by
     the administrator (optional), and the per-user file is maintained auto-
     matically: whenever the user connects to an unknown host, its key is
     added to the per-user file.

     Each line in these files contains the following fields: markers (op-
     tional), hostnames, keytype, base64-encoded key, comment.  The fields are
     separated by spaces.

     The marker is optional, but if it is present then it must be one of
     "@cert-authority", to indicate that the line contains a certification au-
     thority (CA) key, or "@revoked", to indicate that the key contained on
     the line is revoked and must not ever be accepted.  Only one marker
     should be used on a key line.

     Hostnames is a comma-separated list of patterns ('*' and '?' act as wild-
     cards); each pattern in turn is matched against the host name.  When sshd
     is authenticating a client, such as when using HostbasedAuthentication,
     this will be the canonical client host name.  When ssh(1) is authenticat-
     ing a server, this will be the host name given by the user, the value of
     the ssh(1) HostkeyAlias if it was specified, or the canonical server
     hostname if the ssh(1) CanonicalizeHostname option was used.

     A pattern may also be preceded by '!' to indicate negation: if the host
     name matches a negated pattern, it is not accepted (by that line) even if
     it matched another pattern on the line.  A hostname or address may op-
     tionally be enclosed within '[' and ']' brackets then followed by ':' and
     a non-standard port number.

     Alternately, hostnames may be stored in a hashed form which hides host
     names and addresses should the file's contents be disclosed.  Hashed
     hostnames start with a '|' character.  Only one hashed hostname may ap-
     pear on a single line and none of the above negation or wildcard opera-
     tors may be applied.

     The keytype and base64-encoded key are taken directly from the host key;
     they can be obtained, for example, from /etc/ssh/
     The optional comment field continues to the end of the line, and is not

     Lines starting with '#' and empty lines are ignored as comments.

     When performing host authentication, authentication is accepted if any
     matching line has the proper key; either one that matches exactly or, if
     the server has presented a certificate for authentication, the key of the
     certification authority that signed the certificate.  For a key to be
     trusted as a certification authority, it must use the "@cert-authority"
     marker described above.

     The known hosts file also provides a facility to mark keys as revoked,
     for example when it is known that the associated private key has been
     stolen.  Revoked keys are specified by including the "@revoked" marker at
     the beginning of the key line, and are never accepted for authentication
     or as certification authorities, but instead will produce a warning from
     ssh(1) when they are encountered.

     It is permissible (but not recommended) to have several lines or differ-
     ent host keys for the same names.  This will inevitably happen when short
     forms of host names from different domains are put in the file.  It is
     possible that the files contain conflicting information; authentication
     is accepted if valid information can be found from either file.

     Note that the lines in these files are typically hundreds of characters
     long, and you definitely don't want to type in the host keys by hand.
     Rather, generate them by a script, ssh-keyscan(1) or by taking, for exam-
     ple, /etc/ssh/ and adding the host names at the
     front.  ssh-keygen(1) also offers some basic automated editing for
     ~/.ssh/known_hosts including removing hosts matching a host name and con-
     verting all host names to their hashed representations.

     An example ssh_known_hosts file:

        # Comments allowed at start of line
        closenet,..., 1024 37 159...93, ssh-rsa AAAA1234.....=
        # A hashed hostname
        |1|JfKTdBh7rNbXkVAQCRp4OQoPfmI=|USECr3SWf1JUPsms5AqfD5QfxkM= ssh-rsa
        # A revoked key
        @revoked * ssh-rsa AAAAB5W...
        # A CA key, accepted for any host in * or *
        @cert-authority *,* ssh-rsa AAAAB5W...

             This file is used to suppress printing the last login time and
             /etc/motd, if PrintLastLog and PrintMotd, respectively, are en-
             abled.  It does not suppress printing of the banner specified by

             This file is used for host-based authentication (see ssh(1) for
             more information).  On some machines this file may need to be
             world-readable if the user's home directory is on an NFS parti-
             tion, because sshd reads it as root.  Additionally, this file
             must be owned by the user, and must not have write permissions
             for anyone else.  The recommended permission for most machines is
             read/write for the user, and not accessible by others.

             This file is used in exactly the same way as .rhosts, but allows
             host-based authentication without permitting login with

             This directory is the default location for all user-specific con-
             figuration and authentication information.  There is no general
             requirement to keep the entire contents of this directory secret,
             but the recommended permissions are read/write/execute for the
             user, and not accessible by others.

             Lists the public keys (DSA, ECDSA, Ed25519, RSA) that can be used
             for logging in as this user.  The format of this file is de-
             scribed above.  The content of the file is not highly sensitive,
             but the recommended permissions are read/write for the user, and
             not accessible by others.

             If this file, the ~/.ssh directory, or the user's home directory
             are writable by other users, then the file could be modified or
             replaced by unauthorized users.  In this case, sshd will not al-
             low it to be used unless the StrictModes option has been set to

             This file is read into the environment at login (if it exists).
             It can only contain empty lines, comment lines (that start with
             '#'), and assignment lines of the form name=value.  The file
             should be writable only by the user; it need not be readable by
             anyone else.  Environment processing is disabled by default and
             is controlled via the PermitUserEnvironment option.

             Contains a list of host keys for all hosts the user has logged
             into that are not already in the systemwide list of known host
             keys.  The format of this file is described above.  This file
             should be writable only by root/the owner and can, but need not
             be, world-readable.

             Contains initialization routines to be run before the user's home
             directory becomes accessible.  This file should be writable only
             by the user, and need not be readable by anyone else.

             Access controls that should be enforced by tcp-wrappers are de-
             fined here.  Further details are described in hosts_access(5).

             This file is for host-based authentication (see ssh(1)).  It
             should only be writable by root.

             Contains Diffie-Hellman groups used for the "Diffie-Hellman Group
             Exchange" key exchange method.  The file format is described in
             moduli(5).  If no usable groups are found in this file then fixed
             internal groups will be used.

             See motd(5).

             If this file exists, sshd refuses to let anyone except root log
             in.  The contents of the file are displayed to anyone trying to
             log in, and non-root connections are refused.  The file should be

             This file is used in exactly the same way as hosts.equiv, but al-
             lows host-based authentication without permitting login with

             These files contain the private parts of the host keys.  These
             files should only be owned by root, readable only by root, and
             not accessible to others.  Note that sshd does not start if these
             files are group/world-accessible.

             These files contain the public parts of the host keys.  These
             files should be world-readable but writable only by root.  Their
             contents should match the respective private parts.  These files
             are not really used for anything; they are provided for the con-
             venience of the user so their contents can be copied to known
             hosts files.  These files are created using ssh-keygen(1).

             Systemwide list of known host keys.  This file should be prepared
             by the system administrator to contain the public host keys of
             all machines in the organization.  The format of this file is de-
             scribed above.  This file should be writable only by root/the
             owner and should be world-readable.

             Contains configuration data for sshd.  The file format and con-
             figuration options are described in sshd_config(5).

             Similar to ~/.ssh/rc, it can be used to specify machine-specific
             login-time initializations globally.  This file should be
             writable only by root, and should be world-readable.

             chroot(2) directory used by sshd during privilege separation in
             the pre-authentication phase.  The directory should not contain
             any files and must be owned by root and not group or world-

             Contains the process ID of the sshd listening for connections (if
             there are several daemons running concurrently for different
             ports, this contains the process ID of the one started last).
             The content of this file is not sensitive; it can be world-read-

     scp(1), sftp(1), ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1),
     ssh-keyscan(1), chroot(2), hosts_access(5), moduli(5), sshd_config(5),
     inetd(8), sftp-server(8)

     OpenSSH is a derivative of the original and free ssh 1.2.12 release by
     Tatu Ylonen.  Aaron Campbell, Bob Beck, Markus Friedl, Niels Provos, Theo
     de Raadt and Dug Song removed many bugs, re-added newer features and cre-
     ated OpenSSH.  Markus Friedl contributed the support for SSH protocol
     versions 1.5 and 2.0.  Niels Provos and Markus Friedl contributed support
     for privilege separation.

BSD                            January 25, 2020                            BSD
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