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I recently had to change the root password to one of our servers due to personnel reasons. The root login was being used both for ftp access, as well as SSH to maintain the server. I changed the password using the standard "passwd root" while logged in as root. The server is being hosted remotely, so I don't have physical access to it.

The new password allows access to ftp, but SSH no longer works (access denied). Neither password works for SSH. So my question is, how can I gain access to SSH? Also, why would the password change have worked for ftp, but not SSH?

I'm a complete and total Linux newb, so please go easy on me. I do know that enough to know that I should be using sudo, and give everyone their own login, and also separate out ftp access from root. I inherited this setup, and have been working on fixing the configuration without breaking anything.


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I have no idea what explains your problem, but I do have one piece of advice: If you make any change to the credentials or applications you need to access a machine in the first place, do not log out until you 100% confirm that the new credentials and applications actually let you log in! – David Schwartz Nov 6 '12 at 18:25
Can you still log in (via ssh) as a normal user? – Hennes Nov 6 '12 at 18:26
@David - Good Advice. Thanks. – mcmurphy Nov 7 '12 at 19:43
@Hennes - Nope. Only FTP. Do you suspect it's something to do with SSH? – mcmurphy Nov 7 '12 at 19:46
It can be a ssh authentication problem, or something else. Whatever it is can usually be fixed by logging in (which is/should never done as root) and than sudo or su-ing to an admin account when you do maintenance. That way a clean log is kept of who did what when you have multiple admins. In this case I was hoping there was a rMcmurphy or a toor account with a different password. – Hennes Nov 7 '12 at 19:54

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