Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can I tell SSH to send the data only after pressing enter or tab, and not after each individual keypress?

share|improve this question
I'm very interested where you have such a typing delay that you can't work with it. I used ssh in the modem age and never faced these issues. –  mailq Aug 18 '11 at 13:52
I'm accessing a SliceHost VPS (USA) from Belgium. The delay is noticable enough to make me confused. However, I've noticed that other people seem to be less bothered by this than I am.. –  StackedCrooked Aug 18 '11 at 15:26
mosh.mit.edu –  alfC Oct 2 '14 at 21:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

No, because SSH has no way of knowing whether what you're typing would require an enter or tab to action -- if you're trying to go through your command history, for instance, the ^R or up arrows wouldn't be sent by themselves, and that would be... unpleasant.

You don't have to wait between each character for it to appear on the screen, though; if you know what you have to type, bash away at it as quick as you like, and the terminal will catch up in about one round-trip time from when you stopped typing, which is about as good as you'll get out of a line-buffered setup anyway (packet loss is different, but it introduces it's own interesting quirks).

share|improve this answer

PuTTY offers two features that may be of use: "local echo" and "local line editing". Local line editing buffers everything and only sends it to the server after a line return. That can make the command line much easier to deal with, but it may also make using a text editor hell.

PuTTY also has some other options for enabling / disable certain things (Nagle's algorithm) that may affect perceived connection latency. As I see it, the OpenSSH client doesn't offer all the features that PuTTY does in this regard, and I don't know of a Linux alternative that compares.

Otherwise, womble has it right.

share|improve this answer

Open the ssh session with ssh host.example.org bash (or whatever shell you want to use).

You will get line-buffered mode to the remote shell, which means that you will not get a prompt and line-editing but you will get local echo and "one line at a time" mode. It is sometimes useful when working with a very bad connection. Not all programs will run properly because you will not have a pseudo-tty but most UNIX utilities work just fine.


When using the above trick you can get normal line editing (readline) at the local end by using a convenient wrapper program called rlfe. Just run rlfe ssh host.example.org bash.

share|improve this answer
I tried and didn't find it very workable. But it's cool to know, thanks. –  StackedCrooked Aug 18 '11 at 17:27

Mosh was designed to address this exact issue.

share|improve this answer

You can emulate that behaviour if you're just running commands by doing,

ssh user@targetmachine 'my commands in a string'


  1. this adds an additional delay in creating the connection (can be mitigated using master / shared ssh connections)
  2. if you don't have a passwordless private key you're going to have to use ssh-agent or type the password in
  3. clearly it doesn't work if you're interacting with menus or editing files, etc.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.