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I now have SSH daemon on a remote server and SSH client my PC, both running Debian Linux.

Currently it uses password authentication.

The trouble is that it takes about 5-6 secs (I have not measured exactly) from starting SSH client to password request. I want it to work faster.

What should I change in setting (either client or server) in order to login quickly?

From SSH output it seems that much time is taken by authentication data exchange.

Can I switch from password authentication to an other kind of authentication? If yes, which authentication is optimal?

$ ssh -vvv root@63.251.30.51 
OpenSSH_6.0p1 Debian-4, OpenSSL 1.0.1e 11 Feb 2013
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug2: ssh_connect: needpriv 0
debug1: Connecting to 63.251.30.51 [63.251.30.51] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug3: Incorrect RSA1 identifier
debug3: Could not load "/home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa" as a RSA1 public key
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa type 1
debug1: Checking blacklist file /usr/share/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: Checking blacklist file /etc/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug3: Incorrect RSA1 identifier
debug3: Could not load "/home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa" as a RSA1 public key
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa type 2
debug1: Checking blacklist file /usr/share/ssh/blacklist.DSA-1024
debug1: Checking blacklist file /etc/ssh/blacklist.DSA-1024
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_5.5p1 Debian-6+squeeze3
debug1: match: OpenSSH_5.5p1 Debian-6+squeeze3 pat OpenSSH_5*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.0p1 Debian-4
debug2: fd 3 setting O_NONBLOCK
debug3: load_hostkeys: loading entries for host "63.251.30.51" from file "/home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts"
debug3: load_hostkeys: found key type RSA in file /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug3: load_hostkeys: loaded 1 keys
debug3: order_hostkeyalgs: prefer hostkeyalgs: ssh-rsa-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-rsa-cert-v00@openssh.com,ssh-rsa
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ecdh-sha2-nistp256,ecdh-sha2-nistp384,ecdh-sha2-nistp521,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1,diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ssh-rsa-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-rsa-cert-v00@openssh.com,ssh-rsa,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-dss-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-dss-cert-v00@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-256-96,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha2-512-96,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-256-96,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha2-512-96,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1,diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ssh-rsa,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0 
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-md5
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-md5
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REQUEST(1024<1024<8192) sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_GROUP
debug2: dh_gen_key: priv key bits set: 130/256
debug2: bits set: 524/1024
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_INIT sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: RSA cc:c8:a6:e1:60:4e:a7:ae:3b:17:b2:7b:fa:89:26:08
debug3: load_hostkeys: loading entries for host "63.251.30.51" from file "/home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts"
debug3: load_hostkeys: found key type RSA in file /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug3: load_hostkeys: loaded 1 keys
debug1: Host '63.251.30.51' is known and matches the RSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug2: bits set: 511/1024
debug1: ssh_rsa_verify: signature correct
debug2: kex_derive_keys
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 0
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: Roaming not allowed by server
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_REQUEST sent
debug2: service_accept: ssh-userauth
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa (0xb8a8fb08)
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa (0xb8a957d0)
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa ((nil))
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password
debug3: start over, passed a different list publickey,password
debug3: preferred gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic,publickey,keyboard-interactive,password
debug3: authmethod_lookup publickey
debug3: remaining preferred: keyboard-interactive,password
debug3: authmethod_is_enabled publickey
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering RSA public key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa
debug3: send_pubkey_test
debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password
debug1: Offering DSA public key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa
debug3: send_pubkey_test
debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password
debug1: Trying private key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug3: no such identity: /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug2: we did not send a packet, disable method
debug3: authmethod_lookup password
debug3: remaining preferred: ,password
debug3: authmethod_is_enabled password
debug1: Next authentication method: password
root@63.251.30.51's password:

Compare with output when -o 'PreferredAuthentications password' is set:

$ ssh -vvv -o 'PreferredAuthentications password' root@63.251.30.51 
OpenSSH_6.0p1 Debian-4, OpenSSL 1.0.1e 11 Feb 2013
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug2: ssh_connect: needpriv 0
debug1: Connecting to 63.251.30.51 [63.251.30.51] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug3: Incorrect RSA1 identifier
debug3: Could not load "/home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa" as a RSA1 public key
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa type 1
debug1: Checking blacklist file /usr/share/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: Checking blacklist file /etc/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug3: Incorrect RSA1 identifier
debug3: Could not load "/home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa" as a RSA1 public key
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa type 2
debug1: Checking blacklist file /usr/share/ssh/blacklist.DSA-1024
debug1: Checking blacklist file /etc/ssh/blacklist.DSA-1024
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_5.5p1 Debian-6+squeeze3
debug1: match: OpenSSH_5.5p1 Debian-6+squeeze3 pat OpenSSH_5*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.0p1 Debian-4
debug2: fd 3 setting O_NONBLOCK
debug3: load_hostkeys: loading entries for host "63.251.30.51" from file "/home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts"
debug3: load_hostkeys: found key type RSA in file /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug3: load_hostkeys: loaded 1 keys
debug3: order_hostkeyalgs: prefer hostkeyalgs: ssh-rsa-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-rsa-cert-v00@openssh.com,ssh-rsa
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ecdh-sha2-nistp256,ecdh-sha2-nistp384,ecdh-sha2-nistp521,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1,diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ssh-rsa-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-rsa-cert-v00@openssh.com,ssh-rsa,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-dss-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-dss-cert-v00@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-256-96,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha2-512-96,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-256-96,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha2-512-96,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1,diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ssh-rsa,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,arcfour256,arcfour128,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,arcfour,rijndael-cbc@lysator.liu.se
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com,hmac-ripemd160,hmac-ripemd160@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-96,hmac-md5-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0 
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0 
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-md5
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-md5
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REQUEST(1024<1024<8192) sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_GROUP
debug2: dh_gen_key: priv key bits set: 120/256
debug2: bits set: 483/1024
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_INIT sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: RSA cc:c8:a6:e1:60:4e:a7:ae:3b:17:b2:7b:fa:89:26:08
debug3: load_hostkeys: loading entries for host "63.251.30.51" from file "/home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts"
debug3: load_hostkeys: found key type RSA in file /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug3: load_hostkeys: loaded 1 keys
debug1: Host '63.251.30.51' is known and matches the RSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/porton/.ssh/known_hosts:11
debug2: bits set: 503/1024
debug1: ssh_rsa_verify: signature correct
debug2: kex_derive_keys
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 0
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: Roaming not allowed by server
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_REQUEST sent
debug2: service_accept: ssh-userauth
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_rsa (0xb84edb58)
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_dsa (0xb84f3820)
debug2: key: /home/porton/.ssh/id_ecdsa ((nil))
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password
debug3: start over, passed a different list publickey,password
debug3: preferred password
debug3: authmethod_lookup password
debug3: remaining preferred: 
debug3: authmethod_is_enabled password
debug1: Next authentication method: password
root@63.251.30.51's password:
share|improve this question
    
Try setting UseDNS no in the sshd configuration. And restart sshd. – Dan D. Mar 8 '13 at 19:27
    
ssh -o 'PreferredAuthentications password' will probably skip all the offering of key files that just get rejected. – Daniel Beck Mar 8 '13 at 19:28
    
@DanD.: I've already set UseDNS no. This does not help – porton Mar 8 '13 at 19:32
    
@DanielBeck: It seems that ssh -o 'PreferredAuthentications passwordspeeds it from 5secs to 4secs (but I haven't measured it with an exact clock). Or is it an illusion? Anyway it is too slow even with this option – porton Mar 8 '13 at 19:36
    
Could you compare the debug outputs to see what's left? – Daniel Beck Mar 8 '13 at 19:36

You could try using a ssh key which would skip the password authentication altogether. I remember this speeding things up a bit when I was in a similar situation. See this guide here

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks, now I no more need to enter the password every time I connect. But login remains slow. – porton Mar 8 '13 at 20:59
    
time ssh root@63.251.30.51 'exit' now says about 3 secs. I would like to speed it up yet a little if possible – porton Mar 8 '13 at 21:31

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