How-To: Customise your SSH Config

I am someone who feels more comfortable using the command-line than many GUI set-ups and who is often SSH-ing between servers; many of these servers have lengthy host names and require various different usernames; luckily the SSH developers thought ahead and came up with a way of pre-setting most options per-host.

Here’s an example that will configure “” with the user “example” and the port “222”. I’ll set this all up as “ex1”. Just drop the following in to ~/.ssh/config:

Host ex1
User example
Port 222

Now if I call ssh ex1 it’s just like calling ssh -l example -p 222. You can set-up defaults by using the Host “*”, I often default the User where I can’t have my preferred name…

Host *
User example

There are a lot of things you can configure in this way, for a full list check out the man page for ssh_config (5).