Enable Root Login via SSH

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By default SSH comes configured in a way that disables root user logins. This is done as a security precaution and means that you cannot directly login as the root user over SSH. However you can usually get around the need for root ssh login by using the sudo command. In some cases though it’s just more convenient to get directly logged in as root.

Enable root login over SSH

  1. As the root user, edit the sshd_config file found in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:
    vim /etc/ssh/sshd_configFor details on working with Vim check out our article here!
  2. Add the following line to the file, you can add it anywhere but it’s good practice to find the block about authentication and add it there.
    PermitRootLogin yes
  3. Save and exit the file.
  4. Restart the SSH server:
    systemctl restart sshdOr:
    service sshd restart

And that’s it! With the new line added and the SSH server restarted you can now connect via the root user. In this instance you’re gonna be able to login with the root user with either the password or an ssh key.

For extra security you can set the value to `without-password` instead of  yes. So you would paste in the following in step 2 instead:
PermitRootLogin without-password
This process should work on pretty much any Linux based server with the ssh server installed. If you are using a cPanel server though you can easily control this setting from the WHM interface. In these cases it’s recommended to control this setting from your control panel interface.

Author Bio

About the Author: Dan Pock

Dan Pock does Technical Writing & Marketing at Liquid Web with a background in System Administration, Public Relations, and Customer Service.

His favorite things include: his cats, Oscar Boots and Dash Nouget; experimenting with PHP; and making up recipes (or at least attempting to). You can find his coding hijinks on GitHub, where he shares most of his projects and open source work.

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