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HowTo: Execute A Script On Remote UNIX / Linux Server

How do I execute a script on remote server called server2.example.com 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.

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/backup.sh on remote UNIX or Linux server called server1.cyberciti.biz, enter:

ssh root@server1.cyberciti.biz /root/scripts/backup.sh

You can pass command line arguments too:

ssh root@server1.cyberciti.biz /scripts/job.init --job=sync --type=aws --force=true

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

ssh user@server2.example.com date

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

ssh user@server2.example.com /root/backup.sh

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.

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Yong Cao June 21, 2010, 4:17 pm

    This is very good and helpful stuff.
    Thanks a lot
    Yong Cao

  • jay P March 2, 2012, 4:49 am

    How can I add Password to this “ssh user@server2.example.com date”

    • webskein March 11, 2012, 4:43 pm

      jay – you could try “passwordless ssh”. There’s stuff on Google about that.

  • Murryy December 11, 2012, 7:19 pm

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

  • kavin June 10, 2013, 6:51 am

    Thanks working fine

  • M.C. Swart November 22, 2013, 1:08 pm

    How to start this by a cronjob

  • Pranesh November 5, 2014, 3:03 pm

    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/backup.sh
    ssh user@server2 /root/scripts/backup.sh

    • Mahendra February 6, 2015, 5:15 am

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

    • Vinoth October 11, 2015, 8:24 pm

      Hi All,

      I have used following syntax to run a script in my remote system
      “ssh user@server1 /root/scripts/backup.sh ”
      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

      • Anup November 17, 2015, 4:02 pm

        Did you find a solution for this problem ?

      • Rasika October 4, 2016, 12:54 pm

        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.

  • Abhishek I February 23, 2015, 1:44 pm

    Thank you.
    This helped me.

  • Jeff September 26, 2015, 4:04 am

    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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