I need to display a message before any login on a Linux box, either locally and for remote login via SSH.

How can I achieve this?


Thanks for your answers. I had to pick one accepted answer, but both are correct and complement each other.

"issue" and "Banner" are the two concepts I need to use to provide a message for every user before they log into the system.

2 Answers 2


For local login (or telnet) you need to modify:


For display a message before login you edit instead


see http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/howto-change-login-message/

  • 2
    +1 (motd being the abbreviation of "message of the day"). May 30, 2011 at 0:16
  • is the motd displayed before the user is asked for a password ?
    – ascobol
    Jun 2, 2011 at 11:18
  • The contents of /etc/motd are displayed by login(1) after a successful login but just before it executes the login shell.
    – DrNoone
    Jun 2, 2011 at 19:45

For SSH, you need to change the Banner config option in sshd_config:


  • 1
    sure, but that will only display a message after a login name was given through ssh-connection. Any ideas displaying a banner / message before 'login: ' ? Aug 1, 2013 at 9:31
  • It does "display a banner / message before 'login: '". This is the most direct answer. Banner does not have a default value.
    – RWDJ
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:25

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