I have a Debian 8 server but since a few days ago, my server provider is showing me that SSh is disabled, but it still pings, and HTTP / HTTPS are enabled. I have to add that I'm a newbie in this server world, I know the basics but not much else

The last thing I remember touching was the sshd_config file, but I put back everything as it was first (Double checked with another server of mine that I didn't touch)

So, when I put my server in rescue mode and I do

grep 'sshd' /var/log/auth.log

I get the following:

Aug 17 12:23:44 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7974]: pam_unix(sshd:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)
Aug 17 12:23:44 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7974]: Received disconnect from yy.yy.yy.yy: 11: disconnected by user
Aug 17 12:23:44 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7974]: pam_unix(sshd:session): session closed for user root
Aug 17 12:26:28 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7979]: error: Could not load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
Aug 17 12:26:28 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7979]: Connection closed by xx.xx.xx.xx [preauth]
Aug 17 12:26:52 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7981]: error: Could not load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
Aug 17 12:26:58 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7981]: Accepted password for root from xx.xx.xx.xx port 65429 ssh2
Aug 17 12:26:58 vpsxxxxxx sshd[7981]: pam_unix(sshd:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)

I've seen maybe more than 2 solutions that I tried: running ssh-keygen -A, purgin openssh-server and reinstalling it, but nothing works: the same error about the same key that fails loading keeps showing up, and my connection is still getting refused when I try to log.

What else can I try?


Here is the output of the ssh -v root@vpsxxxxxx:

OpenSSH_6.6.1, OpenSSL 1.0.1e-fips 11 Feb 2013
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 56: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to vps308451.ovh.net [] port 22.
debug1: connect to address port 22: Connection refused
ssh: connect to host vps308451.ovh.net port 22: Connection refused

Please don't tell me it's a syntax / human error...


Totally forgot about the other 2 questions, sorry about that

I do have the HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key line in my sshd_config file, and ls -la of the /etc/ssh/ directory outputs the following:

drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4096 Aug 17 13:44 .
drwxr-xr-x 88 root root   4096 Aug 17 13:28 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 242091 Jul 22  2016 moduli
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   1704 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_config
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   2528 Jun 20 08:29 sshd_config
-rw-------  1 root root    672 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_dsa_key
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    604 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_dsa_key.pub
-rw-------  1 root root    227 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_ecdsa_key
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    176 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_ecdsa_key.pub
-rw-------  1 root root    411 Aug 17 13:44 ssh_host_ed25519_key
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     97 Aug 17 13:44 ssh_host_ed25519_key.pub
-rw-------  1 root root    980 Aug 17 13:44 ssh_host_key
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    645 Aug 17 13:44 ssh_host_key.pub
-rw-------  1 root root   1675 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_rsa_key
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    396 Aug 17 13:27 ssh_host_rsa_key.pub

I have to report something however, when I went to the folder to do a 'ls -la', the ssh_host_ed25519_key file wasn't there (I recreated it with keygen-ssh -A but I already tried this just a few hours ago and it didn't work)

As for the permissions, I have no clue wether if the output is good or bad...


root@rescue-pro:/etc/ssh# ps -auwx | grep ssh
root       868  0.0  0.2  55184  5460 ?        Ss   13:27   0:00 /usr/sbin/sshd -D
root      7982  0.0  0.2  82680  5860 ?        Ss   13:33   0:00 sshd: root@pts/0    
root      8009  0.0  0.1  13208  2160 pts/0    S+   13:55   0:00 grep ssh

Edit 3

root@rescue-pro:/home# netstat -lntp | grep sshd
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      868/sshd        
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      868/sshd  

Edit 4 : sshd_config file

# Package generated configuration file
# See the sshd_config(5) manpage for details

# What ports, IPs and protocols we listen for
Port 22
# Use these options to restrict which interfaces/protocols sshd will bind to
#ListenAddress ::
Protocol 2
# HostKeys for protocol version 2
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
#Privilege Separation is turned on for security
UsePrivilegeSeparation yes

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
KeyRegenerationInterval 3600
ServerKeyBits 1024

# Logging
SyslogFacility AUTH
LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:
LoginGraceTime 120
PermitRootLogin yes
StrictModes yes

RSAAuthentication yes
PubkeyAuthentication yes
#AuthorizedKeysFile     %h/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
IgnoreRhosts yes
# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh_known_hosts
RhostsRSAAuthentication no
# similar for protocol version 2
HostbasedAuthentication no
# Uncomment if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for RhostsRSAAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts yes

# To enable empty passwords, change to yes (NOT RECOMMENDED)
PermitEmptyPasswords no

# Change to yes to enable challenge-response passwords (beware issues with
# some PAM modules and threads)
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

# Change to no to disable tunnelled clear text passwords
#PasswordAuthentication yes

# Kerberos options
#KerberosAuthentication no
#KerberosGetAFSToken no
#KerberosOrLocalPasswd yes
#KerberosTicketCleanup yes

# GSSAPI options
#GSSAPIAuthentication no
#GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes

X11Forwarding yes
X11DisplayOffset 10
PrintMotd no
PrintLastLog yes
TCPKeepAlive yes
#UseLogin no

#MaxStartups 10:30:60
#Banner /etc/issue.net

# Allow client to pass locale environment variables
AcceptEnv LANG LC_*

Subsystem sftp /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server

# Set this to 'yes' to enable PAM authentication, account processing,
# and session processing. If this is enabled, PAM authentication will
# be allowed through the ChallengeResponseAuthentication and
# PasswordAuthentication.  Depending on your PAM configuration,
# PAM authentication via ChallengeResponseAuthentication may bypass
# the setting of "PermitRootLogin without-password".
# If you just want the PAM account and session checks to run without
# PAM authentication, then enable this but set PasswordAuthentication
# and ChallengeResponseAuthentication to 'no'.
UsePAM yes

You guys are my last hope before formatting/reinstalling all

  • 4
    Is this host key file existent with the right permissions? Do you have HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key line in your sshd config? Can you post the output of ssh -v user@machine (this may provide more useful information)? – Khaled Aug 17 '17 at 13:12
  • Question updated, have a look – Jaeger Aug 17 '17 at 13:21
  • Have you tried this suggestion, i.e. changing the port # of SSH? Have you tried to recreate the SSH keys as per this? – RobbieTheK Aug 17 '17 at 13:26
  • Connection refused error means your sshd is not running or not accepting connections. You did not answer the remaining points related to host key file permission and sshd config. – Khaled Aug 17 '17 at 13:26
  • @Khaled sorry for the time it took, I edited my question – Jaeger Aug 17 '17 at 13:47

You might have to post the contents of your sshd_config file. Also did you copy the key to the user account directory as mentioned here?

  • See my edited question ; and to answer your question, it's "no need" since for now there isn't any RSA key, I directly connect (I or anybody.......) and voila. I know this isn't safe at all but I didn't have time to set this up: SSH snaped right before I put this in place – Jaeger Aug 17 '17 at 20:19

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