I recently ran into an issue with a VPS where the SSH service crashed, leaving me unable to connect to the machine. The other services were up and running; only the SSH service died.
I managed to resolve the situation with a reboot from the VPS control panel, but the incident got me thinking:


  1. I don't have physical access to the machine
  2. I have no server control panel access or means of rebooting the server
  3. All other system services are still functioning

Then how could I recover from the SSH service dying?

  • you will have to contact support. if you can't access the server and ssh was your only system level access, you will have to ask them for help. – Frank Thomas Jun 12 '14 at 15:58
  • @FrankThomas - But that's so un-MacGyver! No savvy solutions like using FTP to edit the crontab? – Mr. Llama Jun 12 '14 at 16:25
  • 2
    I hear ya, but by calling you don't risk spending 30 years in prison due to misunderstandings. the CFAA is very unforgiving and prosecutors will do very unethical things to show a record of cyber-savvy convictions. RIP Aaron Swartz.... – Frank Thomas Jun 12 '14 at 16:27

The usual solution is by making sure it doesn't stay dead. E.g. you'd often find it set to respawn in /etc/inittab. If init dies, your system will reboot anyway, and otherwise init can restart sshd.

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