Enable Debugging Mode in SSH to Troubleshoot Connectivity Issues

In this article, we will show you how to turn on debugging mode while running SSH in Linux. This will enable you to see what actually unfolds when you execute an ssh command to connect to a remote Linux server using the verbose mode or debugging mode.

Read Also: 4 Ways to Speed Up SSH Connections in Linux

The ssh client’s -v switch allows you to run ssh in verbose mode, that prints debugging information about SSH connection progress, which is really useful for debugging connections, authentication, and any configuration problems. There are different levels of verbosity; using multiple -v flags increases the verbosity (maximum verbosity level is 3).

The following command will run SSH in first level of verbosity, which gives us lots of debugging information as shown.

[email protected] ~ $ ssh -v [email protected]
Sample Output
OpenSSH_7.2p2 Ubuntu-4ubuntu2.2, OpenSSL 1.0.2g-fips  1 Mar 2016
debug1: Reading configuration data /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/config
debug1: /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/config line 18: Applying options for *
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to [] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_rsa type 1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_ed25519 type -1
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_ed25519-cert type -1
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_7.2p2 Ubuntu-4ubuntu2.2
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_7.4
debug1: match: OpenSSH_7.4 pat OpenSSH* compat 0x04000000
debug1: Authenticating to as 'tecmint'
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: algorithm: [email protected]
debug1: kex: host key algorithm: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256
debug1: kex: server->client cipher: [email protected] MAC:  compression: [email protected]
debug1: kex: client->server cipher: [email protected] MAC:  compression: [email protected]
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 SHA256:1778erqyug4tHJa7D6y/Ep4UWsUtNEOBSMaj32k9oO8
debug1: Host '' is known and matches the ECDSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/known_hosts:8
debug1: rekey after 134217728 blocks
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: rekey after 134217728 blocks
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: SSH2_MSG_EXT_INFO received
debug1: kex_input_ext_info: server-sig-algs=<rsa-sha2-256,rsa-sha2-512>
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic,password
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering RSA public key: /home/aaronkilik/.ssh/id_rsa
debug1: Server accepts key: pkalg rsa-sha2-512 blen 279
debug1: Enabling compression at level 6.
debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).
Authenticated to ([]:22).
debug1: channel 0: new [client-session]
debug1: Requesting [email protected]
debug1: Entering interactive session.
debug1: pledge: network
debug1: client_input_global_request: rtype [email protected] want_reply 0
debug1: Sending environment.
debug1: Sending env LC_PAPER = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_ADDRESS = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_MONETARY = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_NUMERIC = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_TELEPHONE = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_IDENTIFICATION = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LANG = en_US.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_MEASUREMENT = lg_UG.UTF-8
debug1: Sending env LC_NAME = lg_UG.UTF-8
Last login: Sat Jan  6 16:20:11 2018 from

When try to logout or exit the session, you will also see debugging messages as shown.

[[email protected] ~]$ exit

debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype exit-status reply 0
debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype [email protected] reply 0
debug1: channel 0: free: client-session, nchannels 1
Connection to closed.
Transferred: sent 3392, received 3120 bytes, in 118.1 seconds
Bytes per second: sent 28.7, received 26.4
debug1: Exit status 0
debug1: compress outgoing: raw data 1159, compressed 573, factor 0.49
debug1: compress incoming: raw data 573, compressed 1159, factor 2.02

Next, you can enable additional (level 2 and 3) verbosity for even more debugging messages as shown.

$ ssh -vv [email protected]
$ ssh -vvv [email protected]

That’s It! For more usage of SSH, read these following related articles.

  1. How to Find All Failed SSH login Attempts in Linux
  2. How to Disable SSH Root Login in Linux
  3. SSH Passwordless Login Using SSH Keygen in 5 Easy Steps
  4. How to Disconnect Inactive or Idle SSH Connections in Linux

We hope you find this article helpful. You can ask any questions or share thoughts via the comment form below.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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4 Responses

  1. Michael Mast says:

    If there is a way to debug SSH connections from the server side, it would have been helpful if the article discussed that. I can reliably SSH to my Linux machine, but Oracle’s MySQL Workbench, a DB client, cannot connect via TCP/IP over SSH. I am experiencing some sort of connection problem, but cannot put Oracle’s MySQL Workbench into debug modes similar to those of the SSH client. Monitoring SSH connections attempts from the server would be very helpful.

  2. Kimungui says:

    Awesome article

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