How to use SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access?

What is SSH and why use it for Raspberry Pi?

how to use SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access

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You can access Raspberry Pi remotely in more than one way. But deciding which way to use depends on your Raspberry Pi project requirements. If remote access via SSH is your choice to go ahead with, this blog is for you! In this read, we’ll discuss how you can use Secure Shell to remotely access Raspberry Pi.

How to use SSH for remote access to your Raspberry Pi

Remotely accessing your Raspberry Pi not only provides strong data encryption but also offers the convenience of controlling it from anywhere. Whether you’re using a Mac, Windows, or Linux operating system, SSH (Secure Shell) makes it easy to manage your Pi.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started with SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access.



Enable SSH on your Raspberry Pi

First, open the terminal window on your Raspberry Pi’s desktop.

  • Type sudo raspi-config and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

This command opens the Raspberry Pi configuration menu.

Use your keyboard to navigate to “Interfacing Options” and then select “SSH” to enable it. Confirm your choice, and SSH will be activated.




Find your Raspberry Pi’s IP Address

After enabling SSH, you’ll need to find your Raspberry Pi’s IP address for the remote desktop connection.

  • Open the terminal window again and type hostname -I.

This command will display your Pi’s IP address.



Choose an SSH Client for Remote Access

For Android Users

If you’re using an Android device, you can download and install ConnectBot from the Google Play Store.

For Windows Users

Windows users can opt for PuTTY. Simply download the installation file and follow the on-screen instructions.

For macOS and Linux Users

If you’re on a Mac or Linux machine, you can use the built-in terminal application for SSH access. Just open the terminal and type ssh pi@<Your Raspberry Pi's IP Address>.



Establish the Connection

Once your SSH client is ready, open it and enter your Raspberry Pi’s IP address along with your username and password.

Going passwordless

For added security and convenience, you can set up an SSH key. This allows you to connect without needing to enter your password each time.

Additional Preferences and Settings

OpenSSH Server

If you’re looking for more advanced features, you can install an OpenSSH server on your Raspberry Pi. This provides additional configuration options and security settings.

Router and Hosts

Ensure that your router allows SSH traffic and that you’ve added your Raspberry Pi to the list of known hosts for a smooth connection.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the benefits of SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access. Whether it’s for a personal project or managing a more complex system, SSH provides the secure, remote access you need.

What are the probable security threats of using SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access?

While SSH (Secure Shell) is a secure network protocol that provides an encrypted channel for logging into a remote server, it’s essential to be aware of the potential security risks when using SSH for remotely accessing your Raspberry Pi.

Here are some of the security threats you should be aware of:

1. Unnecessary SSH server access

Limiting access to your home directory

By default, SSH allows access to your entire Raspberry Pi, including the home directory. This could be a potential security risk if you don’t limit access to specific directories. Make sure to configure your SSH settings to restrict access to only the necessary parts of your Raspberry Pi’s file system.

2. Vulnerable SSH configuration

Secure boot and SD card setup

When you boot your Raspberry Pi, the SSH settings are loaded from the SD card. If your SD card or boot configuration is compromised, it could lead to a vulnerable SSH setup. Always ensure that your boot settings and SD card are secure.

Navigating the interfaces tab

To further secure your SSH configuration, navigate to the interfaces tab in the Raspberry Pi configuration menu. Here, you can disable unnecessary services and ports, reducing the potential attack surface.

3. SSH key breach

Connection type and key management

SSH keys are more secure than passwords, but can be a significant risk if they are not managed correctly. If someone gains access to your private SSH keys, they can access your Raspberry Pi. Always store your SSH keys securely and consider using advanced key management solutions.

Using VNC as an alternative

If SSH seems too risky for your setup, you can opt for VNC (Virtual Network Computing) as an alternative connection type. While VNC also has its risks, some users find it easier to secure.

Additional tips

Tutorial and iOS options

For a more in-depth tutorial on securing your SSH connection, there are various resources available, including iOS apps that guide you through the process. These tutorials often include additional tips and tricks to secure your connection further.

Quick access icons and buttons

For those who are new to Raspberry Pi and SSH, the interface frequently includes quick-access icons and buttons that automate many functions. However, be cautious when using these, as they might bypass some security measures.


Understanding how to use SSH for Raspberry Pi remote access is only half the battle; ensuring the security of that connection is equally crucial. While SSH is generally a secure method for remote access, no system is entirely immune to potential threats.

Therefore, it’s vital to adhere to SSH security best practices. These include monitoring your SSH server access logs, opting for password-less login via public key authentication, keeping your SSH software up-to-date, and rotating your SSH keys regularly.

Quick tips for enhanced security

  • Mouse over logs: Make it a habit to mouse over your SSH server access logs regularly. This will help you spot any unauthorized access attempts.
  • Txt files for configuration: Store your SSH configurations in txt files, making it easier to keep track of your settings and changes.
  • Public key over passwords: Utilize public key authentication for a more secure connection, reducing the risk associated with password breaches.
  • VNC as an alternative: If you find SSH too complex, you can opt for a VNC server and VNC viewer as alternative methods for remote access. However, make sure to secure your VNC connection as diligently as you would with SSH.
  • Hostname and IP: Always double-check the hostname and your Raspberry Pi’s IP address before initiating an SSH connection to avoid connecting to an unintended device.
  • Icons for quick settings: Use the icons in the Raspberry Pi OS for quick access to SSH settings, but ensure these shortcuts don’t bypass essential security measures.

By diligently following these steps and security best practices, you can maintain a secure environment for remote access to your Raspberry Pi via SSH.


How do I find my Raspberry Pi’s IP address?

To find your Raspberry Pi’s IP address, open the terminal and type hostname -I. This command will display the IP address on the screen.

What is a host name, and how do I find it?

A host name is a label that identifies your Raspberry Pi on a network. You can find it by typing hostname in the terminal. It’s usually set to raspberrypi by default unless you’ve changed it.

Can I monitor SSH activity on my system?

Yes, you can monitor SSH activity on your system using options such as SSH log and SSHMon, monitoring SSH running processes, utilizing command line tools, and changing configuration to SSHD configuration. 

What are the ways to prevent unauthorized server access?

You can prevent unauthorized server access by using the following tips:

  • Set up two-factor authentication 
  • Provide access to limited users
  • Educate people involved about potential threats

Maria is a full-stack digital marketing strategist interested in productivity and AI tools.