Like most Linux distributions, you can go “under-the-hood” via SSH (Secure Shell Protocol) if you choose. It’s a good idea to have set up, but generally, all server access is recommended via the UI. If you are auditing, doing dev work, hacking (with an understanding of the consequences), or are directed to by a Start9 support tech, then you may need SSH access.
For security reasons, password access is not available, so you will need to add an SSH key to your server via the method below.
Open a terminal and enter the following command:
ssh-keygen -t ed25519
You will be asked to
Enter a file in which to save the key- we recommend you press
Enterto use the default location
Create a strong passphrase and save it somewhere safe, or press
Enter for no passphrase
The next 3 steps only apply to Linux and macOS. If you are on Windows, please skip down to Registering an SSH Key.
It will inform you that your public key has been saved. Take note of this path:
Your public key has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_ed25519.pub
Next, start your system’s
eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
Now add your key to it:
Note that if you changed the file name/location in step 1, you will need to use that file/path in this step
In the StartOS dashboard, navigate to System > SSH.
Click “Add New Key”.
Back in the terminal of your workstation, display and copy your SSH public key (created above):
On Mac simply copy your key to clipboard by typing the following into a terminal:pbcopy < ~/.ssh/id_ed25519.pub
On Linux:cat ~/.ssh/id_ed25519.pub
On Windows:type .ssh\id_ed25519.pub
Copy the whole resulting line that looks similar to:ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI1NTE5AAAAINH3tqX71XsPlzYhhoo9CqAP2Yx7gsGTh43bQXr1zqoq firstname.lastname@example.org
Paste that line into the Add New Key text field
You are now ready to SSH into your server!
You can now access your Start9 server from the command line (Linux and Mac) using:
<SERVER-HOSTNAME> with your server’s LAN (
If you get a scary looking warning that says something like “WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED!” - fear not! This is most likely happening because you have recently reflashed or did an update from pre-v0.3.3, which would cause a change in the key for your device’s hostname (e.g. xxxxxxxx.local) or IP address (e.g. 192.168.1.x). The solution is to delete the existing entry from your known_hosts file, which is typically located at ~/.ssh/known_hosts. This will be specified in the warning, along with a helpful line number (in case your file is lengthy).
Following the commands above for Windows will get you in. However, if you prefer a GUI tool, BrewsBitcoin has created a guide for connecting via SSH using PuTTY on Windows.
The following guide requires that you have already added an SSH key to your server.
SSH over Tor is only supported on Linux and macOS, although it can also work on Windows with in PuTTY like this. Note that those instructions use port 9150 but we’ve configured Tor in Windows on the traditional port:
First, you’ll need one dependency,
torsocks, which will allow you to use SSH over Tor on the machine that you want access with. Select your Linux flavor to install:
sudo apt install torsockssudo pacman -S torsocks
The changes you make here are on the overlay and won’t persist after a restart of your server.ssh start9@<custom-address>.local
Elevate yourself to root in chroot edit mode (which will make your changes persist across reboots):
Using Vim or Nano, add the following 2 lines to
HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/ssh HiddenServicePort 22 127.0.0.1:22
You can also add these lines by running the following command:echo -e "\nHiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/ssh\nHiddenServicePort 22 127.0.0.1:22" >> /etc/tor/torrc
Restart your Start9 server by exiting chroot edit mode:
SSH in to your Start9 server again and gather the “.onion” address that was generated:
sudo cat /var/lib/tor/ssh/hostname
Your newly generated .onion address is unique for SSH access only and should not be confused with the main .onion address for the server.
You’ll need to add the following configuration to your SSH config file, which will allow you to use SSH over Tor on any Unix-based system:
echo -e "\nHost *.onion\n\tProxyCommand nc -xlocalhost:9050 %h %p" >> ~/.ssh/config
This command adds a wildcard setting for .onion domains to your SSH config file. Any .onion domains you connect to using SSH will use the specified proxy command.
Note: You only need to run this command only once to set up the SSH Over Tor configuration.
To log in, simply use the following command, using the “.onion” hostname you printed above: