Reference Manual

Version 4.7

Table of Contents




Module Summary

Main API of the ssh application


This is the interface module for the SSH application. The Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol is a protocol for secure remote login and other secure network services over an insecure network. See ssh(6) for details of supported RFCs, versions, algorithms and unicode handling.

With the SSH application it is possible to start clients and to start daemons (servers).

Clients are started with connect/2, connect/3 or connect/4. They open an encrypted connection on top of TCP/IP. In that encrypted connection one or more channels could be opened with ssh_connection:session_channel/2,4.

Each channel is an isolated "pipe" between a client-side process and a server-side process. Thoose process pairs could handle for example file transfers (sftp) or remote command execution (shell, exec and/or cli). If a custom shell is implemented, the user of the client could execute the special commands remotely. Note that the user is not necessarily a human but probably a system interfacing the SSH app.

A server-side subssystem (channel) server is requested by the client with ssh_connection:subsystem/4.

A server (daemon) is started with daemon/1, daemon/2 or daemon/3. Possible channel handlers (subsystems) are declared with the subsystem option when the daemon is started.

To just run a shell on a remote machine, there are functions that bundles the needed three steps needed into one: shell/1,2,3. Similarily, to just open an sftp (file transfer) connection to a remote machine, the simplest way is to use ssh_sftp:start_channel/1,2,3.

To write your own client channel handler, use the behaviour ssh_client_channel. For server channel handlers use ssh_server_channel behaviour (replaces ssh_daemon_channel).

Both clients and daemons accepts options that controls the exact behaviour. Some options are common to both. The three sets are called Client Options, Daemon Options and Common Options.

The descriptions of the options uses the Erlang Type Language with explaining text.


The User's Guide has examples and a Getting Started section.

Keys and files

A number of objects must be present for the SSH application to work. Thoose objects are per default stored in files. The default names, paths and file formats are the same as for OpenSSH. Keys could be generated with the ssh-keygen program from OpenSSH. See the User's Guide.

The paths could easily be changed by options: user_dir and system_dir.

A completly different storage could be interfaced by writing call-back modules using the behaviours ssh_client_key_api and/or ssh_server_key_api. A callback module is installed with the option key_cb to the client and/or the daemon.


The keys are by default stored in files:

  • Mandatory: one or more Host key(s), both private and public. Default is to store them in the directory /etc/ssh in the files
    • ssh_host_dsa_key and
    • ssh_host_rsa_key and
    • ssh_host_ecdsa_key and

    The host keys directory could be changed with the option system_dir.

  • Optional: one or more User's public key in case of publickey authorization. Default is to store them concatenated in the file .ssh/authorized_keys in the user's home directory.

    The user keys directory could be changed with the option user_dir.


The keys and some other data are by default stored in files in the directory .ssh in the user's home directory.

The directory could be changed with the option user_dir.

  • Optional: a list of Host public key(s) for previously connected hosts. This list is handled by the SSH application without any need of user assistance. The default is to store them in the file known_hosts.

    The host_accepting_client_options() are associated with this list of keys.

  • Optional: one or more User's private key(s) in case of publickey authorization. The default files are
    • id_dsa and
    • id_rsa and
    • id_ecdsa and

Data Types

Client Options

pref_public_key_algs_client_option() =
    {pref_public_key_algs, [pubkey_alg()]}

List of user (client) public key algorithms to try to use.

The default value is the public_key entry in the list returned by ssh:default_algorithms/0.

If there is no public key of a specified type available, the corresponding entry is ignored. Note that the available set is dependent on the underlying cryptolib and current user's public keys.

See also the option user_dir for specifying the path to the user's keys.

pubkey_passphrase_client_options() =
    {dsa_pass_phrase, string()} |
    {rsa_pass_phrase, string()} |
    {ecdsa_pass_phrase, string()}

If the user's DSA, RSA or ECDSA key is protected by a passphrase, it can be supplied with thoose options.

host_accepting_client_options() =
    {silently_accept_hosts, accept_hosts()} |
    {user_interaction, boolean()} |
    {save_accepted_host, boolean()} |
    {quiet_mode, boolean()}

accept_hosts() =
    boolean() |
    accept_callback() |
    {HashAlgoSpec :: fp_digest_alg(), accept_callback()}

fp_digest_alg() = md5 | sha | sha224 | sha256 | sha384 | sha512
accept_callback() =
    fun((PeerName :: string(), fingerprint()) -> boolean())

fingerprint() = string() | [string()]


This option guides the connect function on how to act when the connected server presents a Host Key that the client has not seen before. The default is to ask the user with a question on stdio of whether to accept or reject the new Host Key. See the option user_dir for specifying the path to the file known_hosts where previously accepted Host Keys are recorded. See also the option key_cb for the general way to handle keys.

The option can be given in three different forms as seen above:

  • The value is a boolean(). The value true will make the client accept any unknown Host Key without any user interaction. The value false preserves the default behaviour of asking the user on stdio.
  • An accept_callback() will be called and the boolean return value true will make the client accept the Host Key. A return value of false will make the client to reject the Host Key and as a result the connection will be closed. The arguments to the fun are:
  • A tuple {HashAlgoSpec, accept_callback}. The HashAlgoSpec specifies which hash algorithm shall be used to calculate the fingerprint used in the call of the accept_callback(). The HashALgoSpec is either an atom or a list of atoms as the first argument in public_key:ssh_hostkey_fingerprint/2. If it is a list of hash algorithm names, the FingerPrint argument in the accept_callback() will be a list of fingerprints in the same order as the corresponding name in the HashAlgoSpec list.

If false, disables the client to connect to the server if any user interaction is needed, such as accepting the server to be added to the known_hosts file, or supplying a password.

Even if user interaction is allowed it can be suppressed by other options, such as silently_accept_hosts and password. However, those options are not always desirable to use from a security point of view.

Defaults to true.


If true, the client saves an accepted host key to avoid the accept question the next time the same host is connected. If the option key_cb is not present, the key is saved in the file "known_hosts". See option user_dir for the location of that file.

If false, the key is not saved and the key will still be unknown at the next access of the same host.

Defaults to true


If true, the client does not print anything on authorization.

Defaults to false

authentication_client_options() =
    {user, string()} | {password, string()}


Provides the username. If this option is not given, ssh reads from the environment (LOGNAME or USER on UNIX, USERNAME on Windows).


Provides a password for password authentication. If this option is not given, the user is asked for a password, if the password authentication method is attempted.

diffie_hellman_group_exchange_client_option() =
     {Min :: integer() >= 1,
      I :: integer() >= 1,
      Max :: integer() >= 1}}

Sets the three diffie-hellman-group-exchange parameters that guides the connected server in choosing a group. See RFC 4419 for the details. The default value is {1024, 6144, 8192}.

connect_timeout_client_option() = {connect_timeout, timeout()}

Sets a timeout on the transport layer connect time. For gen_tcp the time is in milli-seconds and the default value is infinity.

See the parameter Timeout in connect/4 for a timeout of the negotiation phase.

recv_ext_info_client_option() = {recv_ext_info, boolean()}

Make the client tell the server that the client accepts extension negotiation, that is, include ext-info-c in the kexinit message sent. See RFC 8308 for details and ssh(6) for a list of currently implemented extensions.

Default value is true which is compatible with other implementations not supporting ext-info.

Daemon Options (Server Options)

Defines a subsystem in the daemon.

The subsystem_name is the name that a client requests to start with for example ssh_connection:subsystem/4.

The channel_callback is the module that implements the ssh_server_channel (replaces ssh_daemon_channel) behaviour in the daemon. See the section Creating a Subsystem in the User's Guide for more information and an example.

If the subsystems option is not present, the value of ssh_sftpd:subsystem_spec([]) is used. This enables the sftp subsystem by default. The option can be set to the empty list if you do not want the daemon to run any subsystems.

shell_daemon_option() =
    {shell, mod_fun_args() | 'shell_fun/1'() | 'shell_fun/2'()}

'shell_fun/1'() = fun((User :: string()) -> pid())
'shell_fun/2'() =
    fun((User :: string(), PeerAddr :: inet:ip_address()) -> pid())

Defines the read-eval-print loop used in a daemon when a shell is requested by the client. The default is to use the Erlang shell: {shell, start, []}

See the option exec for a description of how the daemon execute exec-requests depending on the shell- and exec-options.

exec_daemon_option() =
    {exec, 'exec_fun/1'() | 'exec_fun/2'() | 'exec_fun/3'()}

'exec_fun/1'() = fun((Cmd :: string()) -> exec_result())
'exec_fun/2'() =
    fun((Cmd :: string(), User :: string()) -> exec_result())

'exec_fun/3'() =
    fun((Cmd :: string(),
         User :: string(),
         ClientAddr :: ip_port()) ->

exec_result() =
    {ok, Result :: term()} | {error, Reason :: term()}

This option changes how the daemon execute exec-requests from clients. The term in the return value is formatted to a string if it is a non-string type. No trailing newline is added in the ok-case but in the error case.

Error texts are returned on channel-type 1 which usually is piped to stderr on e.g Linux systems. Texts from a successful execution will in similar manner be piped to stdout. The exit-status code is set to 0 for success and -1 for errors. The exact results presented on the client side depends on the client and the client's operating system.

The option cooperates with the daemon-option shell in the following way:

1. If the exec-option is present (the shell-option may or may not be present):

The exec-option fun is called with the same number of parameters as the arity of the fun, and the result is returned to the client.

2. If the exec-option is absent, but a shell-option is present with the default Erlang shell:

The default Erlang evaluator is used and the result is returned to the client.

3. If the exec-option is absent, but a shell-option is present that is not the default Erlang shell:

The exec-request is not evaluated and an error message is returned to the client.

4. If neither the exec-option nor the shell-option is present:

The default Erlang evaluator is used and the result is returned to the client.

If a custom CLI is installed (see the option ssh_cli) the rules above are replaced by thoose implied by the custom CLI.


The exec-option has existed for a long time but has not previously been documented. The old definition and behaviour are retained but obey the rules 1-4 above if conflicting. The old and undocumented style should not be used in new programs.

ssh_cli_daemon_option() = {ssh_cli, mod_args() | no_cli}

Provides your own CLI implementation in a daemon.

It is a channel callback module that implements a shell and command execution. The shell's read-eval-print loop can be customized, using the option shell. This means less work than implementing an own CLI channel. If ssh_cli is set to no_cli, the CLI channels like shell and exec are disabled and only subsystem channels are allowed.

authentication_daemon_options() =
    {system_dir, string()} |
    {auth_method_kb_interactive_data, prompt_texts()} |
    {user_passwords, [{UserName :: string(), Pwd :: string()}]} |
    {password, string()} |
    {pwdfun, pwdfun_2() | pwdfun_4()}

prompt_texts() = kb_int_tuple() | kb_int_fun_3()
kb_int_tuple() =
    {Name :: string(),
     Instruction :: string(),
     Prompt :: string(),
     Echo :: boolean()}

kb_int_fun_3() =
    fun((Peer :: ip_port(), User :: string(), Service :: string()) ->

pwdfun_2() =
    fun((User :: string(), Password :: string()) -> boolean())

pwdfun_4() =
    fun((User :: string(),
         Password :: string(),
         PeerAddress :: ip_port(),
         State :: any()) ->
            boolean() |
            disconnect |
            {boolean(), NewState :: any()})


Sets the system directory, containing the host key files that identify the host keys for ssh. Defaults to /etc/ssh.

For security reasons, this directory is normally accessible only to the root user.

See also the option key_cb for the general way to handle keys.


Sets the text strings that the daemon sends to the client for presentation to the user when using keyboard-interactive authentication.

If the fun/3 is used, it is called when the actual authentication occurs and may therefore return dynamic data like time, remote ip etc.

The parameter Echo guides the client about need to hide the password.

The default value is: {auth_method_kb_interactive_data, {"SSH server", "Enter password for \""++User++"\"", "password: ", false}>


Provides passwords for password authentication. The passwords are used when someone tries to connect to the server and public key user-authentication fails. The option provides a list of valid usernames and the corresponding passwords.


Provides a global password that authenticates any user.


Intended to facilitate testing.

From a security perspective this option makes the server very vulnerable.

pwdfun with pwdfun_4()

Provides a function for password validation. This could used for calling an external system or handeling passwords stored as hash values.

This fun can also be used to make delays in authentication tries for example by calling timer:sleep/1.

To facilitate for instance counting of failed tries, the State variable could be used. This state is per connection only. The first time the pwdfun is called for a connection, the State variable has the value undefined.

The fun should return:

  • true if the user and password is valid
  • false if the user or password is invalid
  • disconnect if a SSH_MSG_DISCONNECT message should be sent immediately. It will be followed by a close of the underlying tcp connection.
  • {true, NewState:any()} if the user and password is valid
  • {false, NewState:any()} if the user or password is invalid

A third usage is to block login attempts from a missbehaving peer. The State described above can be used for this. The return value disconnect is useful for this.

pwdfun with pwdfun_2()

Provides a function for password validation. This function is called with user and password as strings, and returns:

  • true if the user and password is valid
  • false if the user or password is invalid

This variant is kept for compatibility.

diffie_hellman_group_exchange_daemon_option() =
     [explicit_group()] |
     explicit_group_file() |
     ssh_moduli_file()} |
    {dh_gex_limits, {Min :: integer() >= 1, Max :: integer() >= 1}}

explicit_group() =
    {Size :: integer() >= 1,
     G :: integer() >= 1,
     P :: integer() >= 1}

explicit_group_file() = {file, string()}
ssh_moduli_file() = {ssh_moduli_file, string()}


Defines the groups the server may choose among when diffie-hellman-group-exchange is negotiated. See RFC 4419 for details. The three variants of this option are:

The groups are given explicitly in this list. There may be several elements with the same Size. In such a case, the server will choose one randomly in the negotiated Size.
The file must have one or more three-tuples {Size=integer(),G=integer(),P=integer()} terminated by a dot. The file is read when the daemon starts.
The file must be in ssh-keygen moduli file format. The file is read when the daemon starts.

The default list is fetched from the public_key application.


Limits what a client can ask for in diffie-hellman-group-exchange. The limits will be {MaxUsed = min(MaxClient,Max), MinUsed = max(MinClient,Min)} where MaxClient and MinClient are the values proposed by a connecting client.

The default value is {0,infinity}.

If MaxUsed < MinUsed in a key exchange, it will fail with a disconnect.

See RFC 4419 for the function of the Max and Min values.

negotiation_timeout_daemon_option() =
    {negotiation_timeout, timeout()}

Maximum time in milliseconds for the authentication negotiation. Defaults to 120000 ms (2 minutes). If the client fails to log in within this time, the connection is closed.

hardening_daemon_options() =
    {max_sessions, integer() >= 1} |
    {max_channels, integer() >= 1} |
    {parallel_login, boolean()} |
    {minimal_remote_max_packet_size, integer() >= 1}


The maximum number of simultaneous sessions that are accepted at any time for this daemon. This includes sessions that are being authorized. Thus, if set to N, and N clients have connected but not started the login process, connection attempt N+1 is aborted. If N connections are authenticated and still logged in, no more logins are accepted until one of the existing ones log out.

The counter is per listening port. Thus, if two daemons are started, one with {max_sessions,N} and the other with {max_sessions,M}, in total N+M connections are accepted for the whole ssh application.

Notice that if parallel_login is false, only one client at a time can be in the authentication phase.

By default, this option is not set. This means that the number is not limited.


The maximum number of channels with active remote subsystem that are accepted for each connection to this daemon

By default, this option is not set. This means that the number is not limited.


If set to false (the default value), only one login is handled at a time. If set to true, an unlimited number of login attempts are allowed simultaneously.

If the max_sessions option is set to N and parallel_login is set to true, the maximum number of simultaneous login attempts at any time is limited to N-K, where K is the number of authenticated connections present at this daemon.


Do not enable parallel_logins without protecting the server by other means, for example, by the max_sessions option or a firewall configuration. If set to true, there is no protection against DOS attacks.


The least maximum packet size that the daemon will accept in channel open requests from the client. The default value is 0.

callbacks_daemon_options() =
     fun((User :: string(),
          PeerAddress :: inet:ip_address(),
          Reason :: term()) ->
             term())} |
     fun((User :: string(),
          PeerAddress :: inet:ip_address(),
          Method :: string()) ->


Provides a fun to implement your own logging when a user authenticates to the server.


Provides a fun to implement your own logging when a user fails to authenticate.

send_ext_info_daemon_option() = {send_ext_info, boolean()}

Make the server (daemon) tell the client that the server accepts extension negotiation, that is, include ext-info-s in the kexinit message sent. See RFC 8308 for details and ssh(6) for a list of currently implemented extensions.

Default value is true which is compatible with other implementations not supporting ext-info.

Options common to clients and daemons

user_dir_common_option() = {user_dir, false | string()}

Sets the user directory. That is, the directory containing ssh configuration files for the user, such as known_hosts, id_rsa, id_dsa>, id_ecdsa and authorized_key. Defaults to the directory normally referred to as ~/.ssh.

See also the option key_cb for the general way to handle keys.

profile_common_option() = {profile, atom()}

Used together with ip-address and port to uniquely identify a ssh daemon. This can be useful in a virtualized environment, where there can be more that one server that has the same ip-address and port. If this property is not explicitly set, it is assumed that the the ip-address and port uniquely identifies the SSH daemon.

max_idle_time_common_option() = {idle_time, timeout()}

Sets a time-out on a connection when no channels are active. Defaults to infinity.

rekey_limit_common_option() =
     Bytes ::
         limit_bytes() |
         {Minutes :: limit_time(), Bytes :: limit_bytes()}}

limit_bytes() = integer() >= 0 | infinity
limit_time() = integer() >= 1 | infinity

Sets the limit when rekeying is to be initiated. Both the max time and max amount of data could be configured:

  • {Minutes, Bytes} initiate rekeying when any of the limits are reached.
  • Bytes initiate rekeying when Bytes number of bytes are transferred, or at latest after one hour.

When a rekeying is done, both the timer and the byte counter are restarted. Defaults to one hour and one GByte.

If Minutes is set to infinity, no rekeying will ever occur due to that max time has passed. Setting Bytes to infinity will inhibit rekeying after a certain amount of data has been transferred. If the option value is set to {infinity, infinity}, no rekeying will be initiated. Note that rekeying initiated by the peer will still be performed.

key_cb_common_option() =
     Module :: atom() | {Module :: atom(), Opts :: [term()]}}

Module implementing the behaviour ssh_client_key_api and/or ssh_server_key_api. Can be used to customize the handling of public keys. If callback options are provided along with the module name, they are made available to the callback module via the options passed to it under the key 'key_cb_private'.

The Opts defaults to [] when only the Module is specified.

The default value of this option is {ssh_file, []}.

A call to the call-back function F will be

	  Module:F(..., [{key_cb_private,Opts}|UserOptions])

where ... are arguments to F as in ssh_client_key_api and/or ssh_server_key_api. The UserOptions are the options given to ssh:connect, ssh:shell or ssh:daemon.

disconnectfun_common_option() =
    {disconnectfun, fun((Reason :: term()) -> void | any())}

Provides a fun to implement your own logging when the peer disconnects.

unexpectedfun_common_option() =
     fun((Message :: term(), {Host :: term(), Port :: term()}) ->
             report | skip)}

Provides a fun to implement your own logging or other action when an unexpected message arrives. If the fun returns report the usual info report is issued but if skip is returned no report is generated.

ssh_msg_debug_fun_common_option() =
          AlwaysDisplay :: boolean(),
          Msg :: binary(),
          LanguageTag :: binary()) ->

Provide a fun to implement your own logging of the SSH message SSH_MSG_DEBUG. The last three parameters are from the message, see RFC 4253, section 11.3. The connection_ref() is the reference to the connection on which the message arrived. The return value from the fun is not checked.

The default behaviour is ignore the message. To get a printout for each message with AlwaysDisplay = true, use for example {ssh_msg_debug_fun, fun(_,true,M,_)-> io:format("DEBUG: ~p~n", [M]) end}

id_string_common_option() =
     string() |
     random |
     {random, Nmin :: integer() >= 1, Nmax :: integer() >= 1}}

The string the daemon will present to a connecting peer initially. The default value is "Erlang/VSN" where VSN is the ssh application version number.

The value random will cause a random string to be created at each connection attempt. This is to make it a bit more difficult for a malicious peer to find the ssh software brand and version.

The value {random, Nmin, Nmax} will make a random string with at least Nmin characters and at most Nmax characters.

preferred_algorithms_common_option() =
    {preferred_algorithms, algs_list()}

algs_list() = [alg_entry()]
alg_entry() =
    {kex, [kex_alg()]} |
    {public_key, [pubkey_alg()]} |
    {cipher, double_algs(cipher_alg())} |
    {mac, double_algs(mac_alg())} |
    {compression, double_algs(compression_alg())}

kex_alg() =
    'diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1' |
    'diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256' |
    'diffie-hellman-group1-sha1' |
    'diffie-hellman-group14-sha1' |
    'diffie-hellman-group14-sha256' |
    'diffie-hellman-group16-sha512' |
    'diffie-hellman-group18-sha512' |
    'ecdh-sha2-nistp256' |
    'ecdh-sha2-nistp384' |

pubkey_alg() =
    'ecdsa-sha2-nistp256' |
    'ecdsa-sha2-nistp384' |
    'ecdsa-sha2-nistp521' |
    'rsa-sha2-256' |
    'rsa-sha2-512' |
    'ssh-dss' |

cipher_alg() =
    '3des-cbc' |
    'AEAD_AES_128_GCM' |
    'AEAD_AES_256_GCM' |
    'aes128-cbc' |
    'aes128-ctr' |
    '' |
    'aes192-ctr' |
    'aes256-ctr' |

mac_alg() =
    'AEAD_AES_128_GCM' |
    'AEAD_AES_256_GCM' |
    'hmac-sha1' |
    'hmac-sha2-256' |

compression_alg() = none | zlib | ''
double_algs(AlgType) =
    [{client2server, [AlgType]} | {server2client, [AlgType]}] |

List of algorithms to use in the algorithm negotiation. The default algs_list() can be obtained from default_algorithms/0.

If an alg_entry() is missing in the algs_list(), the default value is used for that entry.

Here is an example of this option:


The example specifies different algorithms in the two directions (client2server and server2client), for cipher but specifies the same algorithms for mac and compression in both directions. The kex (key exchange) is implicit but public_key is set explicitly.

For background and more examples see the User's Guide.

If an algorithm name occurs more than once in a list, the behaviour is undefined. The tags in the property lists are also assumed to occur at most one time.


Changing the values can make a connection less secure. Do not change unless you know exactly what you are doing. If you do not understand the values then you are not supposed to change them.

modify_algorithms_common_option() =
    {modify_algorithms, modify_algs_list()}

modify_algs_list() =
    [{append, algs_list()} |
     {prepend, algs_list()} |
     {rm, algs_list()}]

Modifies the list of algorithms to use in the algorithm negotiation. The modifications are applied after the option preferred_algorithms (if existing) is applied.

The algoritm for modifications works like this:

  • Input is the modify_algs_list() and a set of algorithms A obtained from the preferred_algorithms option if existing, or else from the ssh:default_algorithms/0.

  • The head of the modify_algs_list() modifies A giving the result A'.

    The possible modifications are:

    • Append or prepend supported but not enabled algorithm(s) to the list of algorithms. If the wanted algorithms already are in A they will first be removed and then appended or prepended,

    • Remove (rm) one or more algorithms from A.

  • Repeat the modification step with the tail of modify_algs_list() and the resulting A'.

If an unsupported algorithm is in the modify_algs_list(), it will be silently ignored

If there are more than one modify_algorithms options, the result is undefined.

Here is an example of this option:

	  [{prepend, [{kex, ['diffie-hellman-group1-sha1']}],
	  {rm,      [{compression, [none]}]}

The example specifies that:

  • the old key exchange algorithm 'diffie-hellman-group1-sha1' should be the main alternative. It will be the main alternative since it is prepened to the list

  • The compression algorithm none (= no compression) is removed so compression is enforced

For background and more examples see the User's Guide.

inet_common_option() = {inet, inet | inet6}

IP version to use when the host address is specified as any.

auth_methods_common_option() = {auth_methods, string()}

Comma-separated string that determines which authentication methods that the client shall support and in which order they are tried. Defaults to "publickey,keyboard-interactive,password"

Note that the client is free to use any order and to exclude methods.

Allows an existing file-descriptor to be used (passed on to the transport protocol).

Other data types

host() = string() | inet:ip_address() | loopback

mod_args() = {Module :: atom(), Args :: list()}

mod_fun_args() =
    {Module :: atom(), Function :: atom(), Args :: list()}

The socket is supposed to be result of a gen_tcp:connect or a gen_tcp:accept. The socket must be in passive mode (that is, opened with the option {active,false}).

Opaque data type representing a daemon.

Returned by the functions daemon/1,2,3.

Opaque data type representing a connection between a client and a server (daemon).

Returned by the functions connect/2,3,4 and ssh_sftp:start_channel/2,3.

Opaque data type representing a channel inside a connection.

Returned by the functions ssh_connection:session_channel/2,4.

Opaque types that define experimental options that are not to be used in products.


close(ConnectionRef) -> ok | {error, term()}


ConnectionRef = connection_ref()

Closes an SSH connection.


Host = host()
Options = client_options()
TcpSocket = open_socket()
NegotiationTimeout = timeout()
Result = {ok, connection_ref()} | {error, term()}

Connects to an SSH server at the Host on Port.

As an alternative, an already open TCP socket could be passed to the function in TcpSocket. The SSH initiation and negotiation will be initiated on that one with the SSH that should be at the other end.

No channel is started. This is done by calling ssh_connection:session_channel/[2, 4].

The NegotiationTimeout is in milli-seconds. The default value is infinity. For connection timeout, use the option connect_timeout.

connection_info(ConnectionRef, Keys) -> ConnectionInfo


ConnectionRef = connection_ref()
Keys =
    [client_version | server_version | user | peer | sockname]
ConnectionInfo =
    [{client_version, Version} |
     {server_version, Version} |
     {user, string()} |
     {peer, {inet:hostname(), ip_port()}} |
     {sockname, ip_port()}]
Version = {ProtocolVersion, VersionString :: string()}
ProtocolVersion =
    {Major :: integer() >= 1, Minor :: integer() >= 0}

Retrieves information about a connection. The list Keys defines which information that is returned.


Port = integer()
TcpSocket = open_socket()
Options = daemon_options()
HostAddress = host() | any
Result = {ok, daemon_ref()} | {error, atom()}

Starts a server listening for SSH connections on the given port. If the Port is 0, a random free port is selected. See daemon_info/1 about how to find the selected port number.

As an alternative, an already open TCP socket could be passed to the function in TcpSocket. The SSH initiation and negotiation will be initiated on that one when an SSH starts at the other end of the TCP socket.

For a description of the options, see Daemon Options.

Please note that by historical reasons both the HostAddress argument and the gen_tcp connect_option(){ip,Address} set the listening address. This is a source of possible inconsistent settings.

The rules for handling the two address passing options are:

  • if HostAddress is an IP-address, that IP-address is the listening address. An 'ip'-option will be discarded if present.
  • if HostAddress is the atom loopback, the listening address is loopback and an loopback address will be choosen by the underlying layers. An 'ip'-option will be discarded if present.
  • if HostAddress is the atom any and no 'ip'-option is present, the listening address is any and the socket will listen to all addresses
  • if HostAddress is any and an 'ip'-option is present, the listening address is set to the value of the 'ip'-option

daemon_info(Daemon) -> {ok, DaemonInfo} | {error, term()}


Daemon = daemon_ref()
DaemonInfo =
    [{ip, inet:ip_address()} |
     {port, inet:port_number()} |
     {profile, term()}]

Returns a key-value list with information about the daemon.

default_algorithms() -> algs_list()

Returns a key-value list, where the keys are the different types of algorithms and the values are the algorithms themselves.

See the User's Guide for an example.


Host = host()
TcpSocket = open_socket()
Options = client_options()
Result = ok | {error, Reason::term()}

Connects to an SSH server at Host and Port (defaults to 22) and starts an interactive shell on that remote host.

As an alternative, an already open TCP socket could be passed to the function in TcpSocket. The SSH initiation and negotiation will be initiated on that one and finaly a shell will be started on the host at the other end of the TCP socket.

For a description of the options, see Client Options.

The function waits for user input, and does not return until the remote shell is ended (that is, exit from the shell).

start() -> ok | {error, term()}
start(Type) -> ok | {error, term()}


Type = permanent | transient | temporary

Utility function that starts the applications crypto, public_key, and ssh. Default type is temporary. For more information, see the application(3) manual page in Kernel.

stop() -> ok | {error, term()}

Stops the ssh application. For more information, see the application(3) manual page in Kernel.

stop_daemon(DaemonRef :: daemon_ref()) -> ok
stop_daemon(Address :: inet:ip_address(),
            Port :: inet:port_number()) ->
stop_daemon(Address :: any | inet:ip_address(),
            Port :: inet:port_number(),
            Profile :: atom()) ->

Stops the listener and all connections started by the listener.

stop_listener(SysSup :: daemon_ref()) -> ok
stop_listener(Address :: inet:ip_address(),
              Port :: inet:port_number()) ->
stop_listener(Address :: any | inet:ip_address(),
              Port :: inet:port_number(),
              Profile :: term()) ->

Stops the listener, but leaves existing connections started by the listener operational.