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I have a remote linux host that moves around the world on a boat. When the boat docks in a port the boat's network connects to (essentially) public wi-fi. I need to be able to administer the remote host when it is able to phone home.

I think what I need to do is set up the remote host to connect to a central VPN when it can. I then should be able to connect to the same VPN and see it and then SSH to it.

Is that right?

What's the best/easiest/most reliable way of doing this?

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+1 "I have a remote linux host that moves around the world on a boat." :) – mpy Mar 8 '13 at 16:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you don't have a VPN set up already, it would be simpler to SSH from the boat back into your local system, and leave a reverse port-forward in place:

ssh popeye@dryland -R 2222: -N

Then ssh to localhost:2222 on your local system will connect you to the boat, as long as the ssh session is open. Restart the ssh as required, though sleep if you have a way to detect that there is no network. Use RSA/DSA keys, and/or chrooted user to limit exposure to your system if required.

If you need more than that you could set up a Tunnel using a tun device, which gives you something closer to a VPN using just SSH:

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Thanks that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for! – TiGz Mar 11 '13 at 16:33

If you don't want to set a DynDNS I think that your approach is reasonable.

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