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I deployed a new VPS from DigitalOcean. It has SSH installed, however, the /etc/ssh/ssh_config file does not exist. Indeed /etc/ssh/ is completely empty.

Can I just go ahead and create that file and put in the directives I want, or does this indicate something is wrong? Should I reinstall SSH?

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Those files are for client-side config e.g. ssh not sshd. I'm surprised nothing was put in but it should work fine without, just check if you can ssh to anywhere from the box. Unless you need system-wide ssh client config you don't have to worry. – Dave Mar 12 '13 at 13:12
Have you examined the man page for ssh (1) and ssh_config (5)? – Lukas Mar 12 '13 at 13:13
up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • OpenSSH client can work fine without a configuration file,
  • OpenSSH server cannot work without its configuration file as the man says: sshd refuses to start if there is no configuration file.

Note that (on Debian at least) /etc/ssh/sshd_config is for the server, and /etc/ssh/ssh_config is for the client.

Now, I would recommend you to check your installation because it looks like a mess...

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The /etc/ssh/ssh_config file is the SSH client configuration file. If it doesn't exit it may prevent some SSH client features from working properly. Regarding your question, you can simply create it and it will work if you only know how to configure it and what permissions to assign into it. Anyway, empty /etc/ssh/ directory is sth. odd and I would suggest to re-install SSH in such a case.

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ssh_config is a configuration file for SSH client. You might want to create sshd_config - SSH server's config. However, if /etc/ssh is empty, you need to make sure that openssh-server packet is really installed. In RHEL-like: yum list installed openssh-server. If there is no output, install it.

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