HowTo: Execute A Script On Remote UNIX / Linux Server

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How do I execute a script on remote server called from my PC? How to run a shell/python/perl script on remote Unix-like systems?

You can use the ssh client which is a part of most *BSD/Linux/OS X/Linux distros/Unix-like oses. If you are on MS-Windows operating systems you need to download and use Putty client.[donotprint][/donotprint]

ssh command line syntax

The basic syntax is as follows:

ssh user@server-name-here /path/to/script
ssh user@server-name-here /path/to/script arg1 arg2 arg3


ssh user@server-name-here /path/to/command
ssh user@server-name-here /path/to/command arg1 arg2


Open the Terminal. To run a script called /root/scripts/ on remote UNIX or Linux server called, enter:

ssh /root/scripts/

You can pass command line arguments too:

ssh /scripts/job.init --job=sync --type=aws --force=true

You can execute the date command as follows on remote server:

ssh date

You may need to specify full script path. In this example, run /root/ script as follows:

ssh /root/

To avoid password prompt set password less ssh keys or use tool such as keychain – a manager for ssh-agent, typically run from ~/.bash_profile.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

13 comment

  1. will this work if the script on the remote is interative ? If not can anyone give more suggestions.
    Thank you

  2. How to run these below at the same time. (Parallelly). Is it possible?
    by anyway is fine like (Perl/Python/shell)

    ssh user@server1 /root/scripts/
    ssh user@server2 /root/scripts/

    1. Put & at the end of the command as below. Ampersand will put the command in the background.
      ssh user@server1 /root/scripts/ &
      ssh user@server2 /root/scripts/ &

    2. Hi All,

      I have used following syntax to run a script in my remote system
      “ssh user@server1 /root/scripts/ ”
      There is a perl script inside my shell script, its failing to run while use the above syntax.
      i’m getting “No such file or directory” error at the line of perl script.

      Suggest the way forward..

      Thanks in advance

      1. Add the file path in your perl script or add a cd to change to the directory first. It may be trying to run the perl script from /root directory while the file is in /root/scripts directory.

  3. ssh requires remote login privileges accorded to a registered user on the server, as I understand it. Is this approach going to ask for login credentials, and how are those presented? My concern is
    having ssh login privileges along side ftp user login privileges, such as one would find on a remote
    web hosting service server for the web site administrator. Would I use this approach AFTER having logged into my account via ssh?

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