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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Allowing sftp access but not ssh

How you set up a UNIX account to allow remote access via sftp but not by ssh seems to be a common question judging by the number of Google hits. Unfortunately there are a plethora of suggested solutions, some of which seem quite complex. Here is what worked for me (on Ubuntu):

1: Create a regular user account and home directory for your user
# /usr/sbin/adduser jones

2: Add the user to the AllowedUsers in your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file
AllowUsers jones smith

3: Restart sshd
# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

4: Check that you can login remotely as that user - ssh and sftp should both work
% ssh jones@yourhost
% sftp jones@yourhost

5: Figure out where you sftp-server executable lives - look in /etc/ssh/sshd_config for this line:
Subsystem sftp /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server

6: Edit /etc/passwd and replace the default shell for your user with this path
jones:x:1004:1004:Rob Jones,,,:/home/jones:/bin/bash
jones:x:1004:1004:Rob Jones,,,:/home/jones:/usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server

7: Connecting with sftp should now work normally but if you try ssh you will get prompted for the password at which point nothing will happen.



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