Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Fix Connection Timed Out Error on SSH Server

Ubuntu 15

When you’re trying to connect to your SSH server and encounter the dreaded “Connection Timed Out” error, it can be frustrating. This error is often due to network connectivity issues, firewall restrictions, or incorrect SSH configuration. In this article, we will walk you through some troubleshooting steps to help you resolve this issue.

Check Your SSH Server Status

The first step in troubleshooting is to ensure that your SSH server is running. You can do this by executing the following command in your terminal:

sudo service ssh status

This command checks the status of the SSH service. If the service is not active, you can start it by running:

sudo service ssh start

The sudo command allows you to run commands with administrative privileges, while service is a utility to start, stop, and manage services. The ssh parameter specifies the service you want to manage, and status or start are the actions you want to perform.

Verify Network Connectivity

The next step is to verify that your network is stable. You can do this by pinging the server’s IP address using the ping command:

ping -c 4 server_ip_address

The -c option specifies the number of packets to send, in this case, 4. Replace server_ip_address with the IP address of your server.

If the ping command returns a series of replies, it means your network is stable. If not, you may need to troubleshoot your network connection.

Inspect SSH Configuration

If your SSH server is running and your network is stable, the next step is to inspect your SSH configuration. The configuration file is usually located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config.

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

This command opens the SSH configuration file in the nano text editor. Look for the AllowUsers or AllowGroups directive. If your username or group is not listed, add it and save the changes.

Check Firewall Settings

Firewall settings can also cause a “Connection Timed Out” error. If you’re using the Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW), you can check its status with:

sudo ufw status

If UFW is active, there should be a rule allowing SSH connections. If not, you can enable SSH access with:

sudo ufw allow ssh

This command tells UFW to allow incoming SSH connections.

Verify X11 Forwarding Settings

If you’re trying to use X11 forwarding (which allows you to run graphical applications over SSH), ensure it’s enabled in your SSH client configuration file (/etc/ssh/ssh_config).

sudo nano /etc/ssh/ssh_config

Ensure that the lines ForwardX11 yes and ForwardX11Trusted yes are uncommented. If necessary, you can also try disabling trusted mode by setting ForwardX11Trusted no.

Check Port Forwarding Issues

If you’re connecting from within a network with port forwarding restrictions, such as a university network, you may need to contact your network administrator for assistance.


Troubleshooting a “Connection Timed Out” error on an SSH server can be a complex task, but with these steps, you should be able to diagnose and fix the issue. If you’re still experiencing problems, it may be helpful to consult with a network professional or your hosting provider’s support team.

Remember, always be cautious when modifying system files or firewall settings. Always back up your data and configuration files before making changes. Happy troubleshooting!

What is SSH and why is it used?

SSH stands for Secure Shell and it is a network protocol that allows secure remote access to a computer or server. It is commonly used for remote administration, file transfers, and tunneling encrypted traffic between two devices.

How can I check if SSH is installed on my server?

You can check if SSH is installed by running the following command in your terminal: ssh -V. This command will display the version of SSH installed on your system. If you see a version number, SSH is installed.

Can I use SSH on Windows?

Yes, you can use SSH on Windows. There are several SSH clients available for Windows, such as PuTTY and OpenSSH. These clients allow you to connect to SSH servers and perform remote operations.

How can I change the default SSH port?

To change the default SSH port, you need to modify the SSH configuration file. Open the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config using a text editor and locate the line that says #Port 22. Uncomment the line by removing the # symbol and change the port number to your desired value. Save the file and restart the SSH service for the changes to take effect.

Can I use SSH without a password?

Yes, you can use SSH without a password by setting up SSH key-based authentication. This involves generating a public-private key pair on your client machine and adding the public key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the server. Once set up, you can log in to the server without entering a password.

What should I do if I forgot my SSH password?

If you have forgotten your SSH password, you can reset it by accessing the server through another method, such as console access or physical access. Once logged in, you can change the password using the passwd command.

How can I improve SSH security?

To improve SSH security, you can take several measures. These include using strong passwords or SSH keys for authentication, disabling root login, limiting SSH access to specific IP addresses, and regularly updating the SSH software to the latest version to patch any security vulnerabilities.

Can I use SSH to transfer files between servers?

Yes, SSH can be used to transfer files between servers using the scp command. The scp command allows you to securely copy files and directories between remote hosts. The basic syntax is scp [source] [destination].

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