How to Enable SSH on CentOS 8?

Secure Shell, also known as SSH, is a popular tool used for connecting with the server through the client. SSH ensures secure remote connectivity and communication between a server and its client and also provides the file transfer over the remote network connection.

In this post, we will go through a step-by-step guide on how to enable SSH on CentOS 8 and access its server from a CentOS 8 client machine while remotely using the SSH. Let’s start with the configuration of the CentOS 8 server for remote connection via SSH.

Configuration of CentOS 8 Server for Remote Connection

Configuring CentOS 8 server for a remote connection is our first priority.

Step 1: Update Your System’s Package Repository
Update the system’s package repository cache by typing the command below:

$ sudo dnf makecache

Upgrade the system’s packages.

$ sudo dnf upgrade

Step 2: Install OpenSSH Server on CentOS 8 Server
After updating the system’s repository cache and packages, install the OpenSSH server package by typing the command below:

$ sudo dnf install openssh-server

After successful installation, start the “sshd” service if it is not started.

Step 3: Start OpenSSH Service
For starting the OpenSSH service, type the command below:

$ sudo systemctl start sshd

Check the status of the service using the command below:

$ sudo systemctl status sshd

Also, enable OpenSSH service on reboot by typing the command given below:

$ sudo systemctl enable sshd

Alright, the OpenSSH service is active and ready for connection. Now, we need to get the traffic going, and for that, we are required to configure the firewall.

Step 4: Allow the Firewall to Pass any Traffic from SSH port 22
For allowing the firewall for traffic flow through the SSH, type the command below:

$ firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=ssh

It is a better practice to reload the firewall after configuring the firewall.

$ firewall-cmd --reload

The CentOS 8 server is ready for connection via SSH. Let’s know the IP address of the server and access it from the CentOS 8 Client machine.

Step 5: Get the IP Address of the CentOS 8 Server
To get the IP address of the CentOS server, type the command below:

$ ip a

The IP address of my server is Let’s connect to this machine from the client CentOS 8 machine.

Connect to the CentOS 8 Server from CentOS 8 Client

For connecting to the CentOS 8 server, follow the step given below:

Step 1: Install OpenSSH Clients on CentOS 8 Client Machine
First of all, you need to install the OpenSSH Clients on your client CentOS 8 machine.

$ sudo dnf install openssh-clients

After installing OpenSSH Clients, create and copy the SSH key pairs for connecting to the CentOS 8 server.

Step 2: Generate the SSH Key Pair
For generating the SSH key pair, type the command given below:

$ ssh-keygen

Hit “Enter” to save the key pair in the given default directory.

Or if you have already generated the key pair, hit “Enter” to overwrite the previously generated key pair.

Provide the passphrase or hit “Enter” for the empty passphrase.

Alright, the key pair is generated successfully, now let’s copy the key pair to the server.

Step 3: Copy the Key Pair to the CentOS 8 Server
For copying the key pair to the CentOS 8 server, type the command below:

$ ssh-copy-id [email protected]

Do not forget to change the “linuxuser” and “” with the username and IP address of the CentOS 8 server.

Type “yes” and hit “Enter”.

Provide the password of the username shown in the terminal and hit “Enter”.

The key pair will be copied to the CentOS 8 server, to which we are going to connect.

Step 4: Connect to the CentOS 8 Server via SSH
Now, simply connect SSH into the CentOS 8 server using the command below:

This is it! We are logged in to the CentOS 8 server successfully from a CentOS 8 Client machine using the SSH.


We have covered an enormous spectrum of enabling the SSH on CentOS 8 by installing OpenSSH server on CentOS 8 Server machine, enabling the “sshd” service, and opening the firewall of the system for incoming traffic from SSH on port 22. We have also learned to connect to the CentOS 8 server from a CentOS 8 client machine by installing OpenSSH clients, generating and copying the SSH key pair, copying the keypair to the Server machine, and connecting to the CentOS 8 Server via SSH.

About the author

Shehroz Azam

Shehroz Azam

A Javascript Developer & Linux enthusiast with 4 years of industrial experience and proven know-how to combine creative and usability viewpoints resulting in world-class web applications. I have experience working with Vue, React & Node.js & currently working on article writing and video creation.