How to allow SSH connection to server using /etc/hosts.allow file?

Secure Shell protocol is abbreviated as SSH. It is a secure and most commonly using protocol to access remote servers. This protocol uses encryption while transferring data between two hosts.

TCP Wrapper is a host-based networking ACL system, used to filter network access to Internet Protocol servers on (Unix-like) operating systems such as Linux or BSD.

It allows host or subnetwork IP addresses, names and/or ident query replies, to be used as tokens on which to filter for access control purposes.

30 plus SSH interview questions and answers – compiled

I am going to explain how TCP wrappers help to protect server by controlling external connections. We can control the SSH connection to a server by using the following files:

/etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny

How to allow an IP address for SSH connection?

Step 1 : SSH to server as root user.
Step 2 : Open /etc/hosts.allow file using your favorite text editor.

To allow one IP address to server:

sshd : IP-Address

To allow more than one IP addresses:

sshd : IP-Address1, IP-Address2, IP-Address3

To allow IP ranges:

sshd : 33.*.*.*
sshd : 66.66.*.*

To allow all IP addresses for SSH:

sshd : ALL



We can also control the same from /etc/hosts.deny file by adding the keyword “ALLOW.” See the example pasted below:


# vi /etc/hosts.deny

sshd : ALL : ALLOW

That’s it!

Also read:

How to manage SSH permission for custom users under your server
How to create a banner/welcome-note for SSH server
How to disable SSH login as root user – PermitRootLogin

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Arunlal A

Senior System Developer at Zeta. Linux lover. Traveller. Let's connect! Whether you're a seasoned DevOps pro or just starting your journey, I'm always eager to engage with like-minded individuals. Follow my blog for regular updates, connect on social media, and let's embark on this DevOps adventure together! Happy coding and deploying!

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