In this article, we will walk you through the process of enabling SSH in a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) system. SSH, or Secure Shell, is a protocol that allows secure remote login from one computer to another. By enabling SSH in your WSL system, you can securely access your WSL instance from another machine.
To enable SSH in a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) system, you need to start the SSH service by running the command "sudo service ssh start" in the WSL terminal. However, connecting to the WSL instance from a remote machine requires additional steps, such as installing an OpenSSH server in Windows.
Understanding WSL and SSH
Before we dive into the steps, let’s briefly understand what WSL and SSH are.
WSL is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10. It allows developers to use a GNU/Linux environment â€” including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications â€” directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a traditional virtual machine or dual-boot setup.
SSH, on the other hand, is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. It allows you to control a remote machine securely, as if you were sitting right in front of it.
Starting the SSH Service
To start with, you need to open a terminal in your Ubuntu WSL instance. You can do this by simply typing
wsl in your Windows command prompt or PowerShell.
Once you have the terminal open, you can start the SSH service by running the following command:
sudo service ssh start
sudo is a command that allows you to run programs with the security privileges of another user (by default, as the superuser).
service is a command used to run a System V init script in as predictable an environment as possible, removing most environment variables and with the current working directory set to /.
ssh is the name of the service you want to start.
This command will launch the SSH service and allow you to connect to your WSL instance using SSH.
Checking the Status of the SSH Service
To ensure that the SSH service has started successfully, you can check its status by running:
sudo service ssh status
This command will display whether the SSH service is running or not.
Connecting to WSL Instance
It’s important to note that WSL2 runs in a virtual machine with a virtual network interface that is NAT’d. By default, you won’t be able to SSH into the WSL instance from other machines on the network. However, you can connect to the WSL instance from Windows on the same machine or from another WSL instance on the same machine using the localhost forwarding feature provided by WSL.
If you need to connect to your WSL instance from a remote machine, you can consider installing OpenSSH server in Windows and accessing your WSL instance remotely using the
ssh -t windows_user@windows_host wsl command. This allows you to establish a terminal session with your WSL instance from a remote machine.
Enabling SSH in a WSL system is a straightforward process that involves starting the SSH service and checking its status. However, due to the virtualized nature of WSL, connecting to the WSL instance from a remote machine requires additional steps, such as installing an OpenSSH server in Windows.
We hope this article has provided you with a clear understanding of how to enable SSH in a WSL system. If you have any questions or run into any issues, feel free to leave a comment below.
Yes, you can enable SSH in WSL1 by following the same steps mentioned in this article.
To find the IP address of your WSL instance, you can run the command
ip addr show eth0 in the WSL terminal. Look for the line that starts with "inet" followed by the IP address.
Yes, you can configure SSH to use a different port for your WSL instance. You can edit the SSH server configuration file located at
/etc/ssh/sshd_config and change the
Port directive to your desired port number.
To generate SSH keys for WSL, you can use the
ssh-keygen command in the WSL terminal. By default, it will generate the keys in the
Yes, you can use SSH key authentication to connect to your WSL instance. You need to copy the public key from your local machine to the
~/.ssh/authorized_keys file in your WSL instance. Make sure to set the correct permissions for the
authorized_keys file using the
You can edit the SSH server configuration file located at
/etc/ssh/sshd_config in your WSL instance to change various SSH settings. Remember to restart the SSH service after making any changes for them to take effect.
Yes, you can use the
scp command to securely transfer files between your WSL instance and another machine over SSH. The syntax is
scp <source_file> <destination_file>.
Yes, you can disable SSH in WSL by stopping the SSH service using the command
sudo service ssh stop. Additionally, you can prevent the SSH service from starting automatically at boot by running
sudo update-rc.d ssh disable.
Yes, you can use SSH to connect to your WSL instance from a mobile device. You will need an SSH client app installed on your mobile device and the IP address of your WSL instance.
To secure your SSH connection to the WSL instance, you can enforce key-based authentication, disable password authentication, and configure a firewall to allow only trusted IP addresses to connect. Additionally, you can use tools like Fail2Ban to protect against brute-force attacks.