I want to leave the root user enabled on my servers for convenience, and the only reason people are against the idea (that I know of) is brute-force attacks on SSH.

So, is there is a way in SSH to enable password access for all users except root, but allow ssh-key access for root?

OS: Ubuntu Server Edition 10.04 x86

SSH Version: OpenSSH_5.3p1 Debian-3ubuntu7, OpenSSL 0.9.8k 25 Mar 2009


From the sshd_config(5) man page:


        If this option is set to “without-password”, password authentica-
        tion is disabled for root.
  • Thank you! I usually read the manual before asking, but this seemed sufficiently complicated enough not to be in the manual. I was expecting some kind of iptables solutions, but this is better, obviously! – Soviero Oct 31 '11 at 4:51
  • 1
    I would be kind of wary of putting PermitRootLogin without-password into my sshd configuration! – user Oct 31 '11 at 10:10

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