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I am having problems logging into a machine remotely using ssh. It allows me to enter the user name, but when I enter the password I get "Access denied." I can login using the same user/pw locally and I have successfully logged in to the same machine remotely before using the same username/pw. It is not the caps lock key.

How can I debug this problem and find the cause of the rejection? I have root on the box and can access it locally.


I found the page OpenSSH logging wiki to be extremely helpful and led to solving the problem.

The problem was that I had changed the sshd port to a different number and forgotten that I had done it. Oddly enough sshd was still listening on 22, but just rejecting any login attempts on that port. Not sure why that is.

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Did you check logs? /var/log/messages /var/log/syslog /var/log/security - typical log destinations. Also enable debug mode for sshd by specifying LogLevel DEBUG in sshd_config. Also, DEBUG and DEBUG1 are equivalent. DEBUG2 and DEBUG3 each specify higher levels of debugging output. – VL-80 May 11 '14 at 1:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Have you tried:

ssh -v <host>
ssh -vv <host>
ssh -vvv <host>

That's where I'd start to debug the issue.

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Client-side debugging:

ssh -vvv

Server-side debugging:

tail -f /var/log/secure
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Expanding on what these commands do and how they perform might help others that are looking for a solution but confused by these commands. – Raystafarian May 13 '14 at 15:50

By default SSH root access is disabled on most distros. For security purposes I recommend keeping this setting unchanged and simply using a different account for SSH that you temporarily give root access. However, if you do want access with the root account over SSH, first open /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

# vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Next, comment out PermitRootLogin:

# PermitRootLogin no

Finally, restart ssh:

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart
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I am not trying to login as root over ssh. The account is a normal user account which has always worked before, and now it is giving me access denied, only when attempting to login remotely. I mentioned that I had root on the box just to make clear that I have full access to it for debugging purposes. – Tyler Durden May 11 '14 at 0:53
Try checking sshd_config if your account is allowed SSH access. – nanogru May 11 '14 at 1:11

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