Is there a way to bypass or prevent the execution of ~/.profile when logging into a remote Linux server using either ssh or putty?

  • Why would you want to do this? Why not just edit the values in the file? (It's your profile, after all.)
    – Telemachus
    Sep 28, 2009 at 19:52
  • 8
    This is usefull for instance if someone screwed up the .profile file and you don't have direct access to the system :)
    – monkey_p
    Sep 28, 2009 at 20:14
  • That's exactly the situation I found myself in monkey_p Sep 29, 2009 at 18:57

5 Answers 5


For bash:

$ ssh hostname "bash --noprofile"
  • 6
    You'll also need the -t option, I think.
    – user1686
    Sep 29, 2009 at 13:22
  • 2
    ssh -t hostname "bash --noprofile" .If -t wasn't there I was getting the error "standard in must be a tty".
    – nitins
    Jun 25, 2013 at 12:01

If you are looking to disable all login scripts, you can use the --noprofile flag to disable /etc/profile, ~/.profile, etc. and --norc to disable ~/.bashrc like so:

$ ssh "bash --noprofile --norc"

Keep in mind you can also launch an alternative shell if one is available. I've had to use this after messing up in chsh:

$ ssh sh

This will most likely drop you to a blank shell (no prompt) so give it an ls to make sure it is working.


If your target machine is in a bash shell:

user@host:/$ ssh hostname "bash --noprofile"

Alternatively, if there's another profile you wish to use

user@host:/$ ssh hostname "bash --noprofile; source ~/.other_profile"

Also, try using a FTP program like WinSCP to delete the mistaken login file. This will discard it, but at least you should be able to login to the default shell

  • or perhaps just rename it.
    – jezmck
    May 15, 2013 at 14:32

As others have mentioned, running with the --noprofile flag when you initiate the connection will work, although if you're using a different shell this may or may not be an option.

One alternative would be to have the profile script detect an SSH connection itself and behave accordingly. Since SSH connections will normally set a number of environment variables, this can easily be checked. Adding something like the following lines to the start of your profile should suffice:

if [ "$SSH_CONNECTION" != "" ]; then
  echo Logging in with ssh
  echo Logging in with something that is not ssh

# rest of your profile goes here

The return will skip the rest of the script if the $SSH_CONNECTION environment variable is set, which would normally be created whenever an SSH connection is initiated. Otherwise the profile will be run like normal.

Note that this will only skip the affected profile script. All other profile scripts (e.g.: /etc/profile) would still be processed unless you modify them similarly.

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