CentOS Linux: Start / Stop / Restart SSHD Command

I am a new CentOS Linux server user. How can I start, stop, or restart the OpenSSH (SSHD) server on a CentOS Linux? How can I start/stop/restart SSHD on boot time on a CentOS Linux 7.x or 8.x? Can you tell me how to start SSHD on boot time on a CentOS Linux?

Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss)
Root privileges Yes
Requirements None
Time 2m
You need to use the following commands as per your version of CentOS Linux system to start, stop, or restart the sshd server (OpenSSH service).

CentOS Linux command to start / stop / restart SSHD service

  1. service command – Stop, start, restart or find the status of system services for CentOS v4.x/5.x/6.x only.
  2. chkconfig command – Turn on or off services on boot time CentOS v4.x/5.x/6.x only.
  3. systemctl command – Manage and start/stop/restart sshd on CentOS v7.x/8.x or above only (see CentOS 7.x/8.x commands here).

sshd service name on a CentOS Linux

The name of the service is also sshd and usually controlled by /etc/init.d/sshd script or service command or systemctl

CentOS turn on OpenSSH SSHD server on boot time command

The syntax is as follows to turn on SSHD on boot time for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older:

## you must login as root user. In other words, try 'sudo -i' or 'su -' ##
# chkconfig sshd on

For example, to turn off the SSHD service on boot time, enter:

# chkconfig sshd off

To see the current status of service in each run-level type:

# chkconfig --list sshd

Sample outputs:

sshd           	0:off	1:off	2:on	3:on	4:on	5:on	6:off

CentOS start sshd service command

The syntax is as follows for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older:

# service sshd start

OR

# /etc/init.d/sshd start

CentOS stop sshd service command

The syntax is for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older:

Alert: Do not run the following command over ssh based session and you will end up getting ‘network connectivity lost’ error.

# service sshd stop

OR

# /etc/init.d/sshd stop

CentOS restart sshd service command

The syntax is for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older:

# service sshd restart

OR

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

CentOS find status of the sshd service command

The syntax is for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x or older:

# service sshd status

OR

# /etc/init.d/sshd status

Sample session outputs from the above commands

Fig. 01: service and chkconfig command in action for CentOS version 4.x/5.x/6.x and older only

A note about CentOS version 7.x/8.x or above

CentOS Linux version 7.x and 8.x come with systemd as init. In other words, the above command may not work. You need to use the systemctl command to manage services on a CentOS Linux box. Hence, I recommend avoiding using the service command on the latest version of CentOS Linux. Let us see all commands and examples to restart sshd on CentOS 7.x or 8.x

Enable service at boot time

To enable SSHD service at boot time on CentOS version 7.x/8.x or above, run:
# systemctl enable sshd
Sample outputs:

Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/sshd.service to /usr/lib/systemd/system/sshd.service.

Start SSHD on CentOS version 7.x/8.x+ or above

# systemctl start sshd.service

Restart SSHD on CentOS version 7.x/8.x+ or above

# systemctl restart sshd.service

Stop SSHD on CentOS version 7.x/8.x+ or above

# systemctl stop sshd.service

Reload SSHD on CentOS version 7.x/8.x+ or above after config changes

# systemctl reload sshd.service

Want to get status SSHD on CentOS version 7.x/8.x+ or above?

Try the following systemctl command:
# systemctl status sshd.service
Sample outputs:

* sshd.service - OpenSSH server daemon
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/sshd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2017-08-08 21:01:45 IST; 1min 5s ago
     Docs: man:sshd(8)
           man:sshd_config(5)
 Main PID: 25701 (sshd)
   CGroup: /system.slice/sshd.service
           ??25701 /usr/sbin/sshd -D
 
Aug 08 21:01:45 centos7-box systemd[1]: Starting OpenSSH server daemon...
Aug 08 21:01:45 centos7-box sshd[25701]: Server listening on 0.0.0.0 port 22.
Aug 08 21:01:45 centos7-box sshd[25701]: Server listening on :: port 22.
Aug 08 21:01:45 centos7-box systemd[1]: Started OpenSSH server daemon.

Conclusion

You successfully learned how to start, stop, and restart the sshd server on a CentOS Linux version 4.x/5.x/6.x/7.x and 8.x. In short, use systemctl command for CentOS 7.x/8.x and service command for an older version. See the CentOS project page here and how to secure OpenSSH (SSHD) server for more info.

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1 comment… add one
  • aref ghobadi Aug 17, 2015 @ 10:08

    Hi

    systemctl start httpd
    systemctl stop httpd
    systemctl restart httpd ===> service down and up
    systemctl reload httpd ===> service not down only reading the configuration file service reload vs restart

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