Change the permissions of files or directories. For example, changing permissions on a ssh key file for the current user.

chmod 400 ~/.ssh/id_rsa
  • If you’re not logged in as root, use sudo when permissions denied. more info

+x is used to make a file executable.

chmod +x


Copy files and folders over ssh. For example, download home directory for user gilfoyle from machine into the current directory.

scp -r gilfoyle@ .

Upload folder and its files recursively. For example, with the root account, upload extracted Drupal devel module to /var/www/modules using port 8022.

scp -P 8022 -r devel root@

Download folder and its files recursively. For example, with the root account, download the devel module into the devel folder within the current directory using port 8022.

scp -P 8022 -r root@ devel

ssh server

Install openssh server

apt-get install openssh-server

Unlocking the root account

usermod root -p password

# enter new password to unlock root
sudo passwd root

Check status

service ssh status

Configure openssh server

Using Nano

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Allow root password login

# change
PermitRootLogin prohibit-password

# to
PermitRootLogin yes

Disallow root password login

# change
PermitRootLogin yes

# to
PermitRootLogin prohibit-password

Restart the service for any config changes to take affect

service ssh restart


Allows a user to run a command as another user, usually root. For a user to do this, they need to be added to the sudo group.

usermod -aG sudo gilfoyle

Logout Ctrl + D and test new user sudo access. Substitute with the server IP address.

ssh gilfoyle@

# list files in the /root directory
sudo ls -la /root

After sudo is enabled for the new user account, root password login can be turned off in the sshd_config file.

To prevent unable to resolve host message when using sudo, update the hosts file to contain the hostname for For example, what is after @ in the command line prompt. e.g., gilfoyle@vpshostname.

sudo nano /etc/hosts localhost vpshostname


Download package lists from repositories and update them to get information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies.

apt-get update


Fetch new versions of packages existing on the machine if APT knows about these new versions by way of apt-get update.

apt-get upgrade

Does the same job as apt-get upgrade, plus it will also intelligently handle the dependencies, so it might remove obsolete packages or add new ones.

apt-get dist-upgrade


These examples use gilfoyle for the username.

Add a new user.

adduser gilfoyle