Securing your Linux server is of paramount importance, and one effective step is to modify the default port used by SSH (Secure Shell) for remote access. Changing the default port adds an extra layer of security by making it less predictable for potential attackers. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of changing the default SSH port on a Linux system.
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Connect to Your Server
- Step 2: Backup SSH Configuration
- Step 3: Edit SSH Configuration
- Step 4: Change the Port Number
- Step 5: Save and Exit
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- Step 6: Restart SSH Service
- Step 7: Adjust Firewall Rules
- Step 8: Test the New Configuration
- Step 9: Disable Root Login (Optional)
Step 1: Connect to Your Server
Before making any changes, ensure you are logged in to your Linux server with administrative privileges. You can use the
ssh command to access your server:
username with your actual username and
server_ip with the IP address of your server.
Step 2: Backup SSH Configuration
It’s always a good practice to create a backup of configuration files before making changes. Create a backup of the SSH configuration file:
sudo cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config_backup
Step 3: Edit SSH Configuration
Use a text editor to modify the SSH configuration file. We’ll use the
nano editor, but you can use any text editor you’re comfortable with:
sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Locate the line that specifies the default SSH port. By default, it is:
Step 4: Change the Port Number
Change the port number to your desired value. Choose a number that is not commonly used and not reserved for other services. For example, you can use
Step 5: Save and Exit
After making the change, save the file by pressing
O, then press
Enter. To exit the editor, press
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Step 6: Restart SSH Service
To apply the changes, restart the SSH service:
sudo service ssh restart
Step 7: Adjust Firewall Rules
If you are using a firewall, you’ll need to allow traffic on the new SSH port. For example, using
iptables, you can run:
sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 2222 -j ACCEPT
Make sure to replace
2222 with the port you’ve chosen. If you’re using a different firewall management tool, adjust the rule accordingly.
Step 8: Test the New Configuration
Before closing your current SSH session, open a new terminal window and attempt to connect to the server using the new port:
ssh -p 2222 username@server_ip
2222 with the port you’ve set,
username with your username, and
server_ip with your server’s IP address. If the connection is successful, you’ve configured the new SSH port correctly.
Step 9: Disable Root Login (Optional)
For added security, consider disabling root login via SSH. Locate the following line in the SSH configuration file:
Changing the default SSH port is a valuable security measure to protect your Linux server from unauthorized access. By following these steps, you can modify the default port to enhance your server’s security posture. Always exercise caution while making changes to system configurations, and remember to update your firewall settings to allow traffic on the new port.