Unix / Linux Remove (Delete) OpenSSH Server

I‘m a new Linux sysadmin and my boss told me to remove ssh server as we don’t need to provide the remote login and file transfer capabilities of SSH. How do I disable and remove OpenSSH server under RHEL/Fedora/CentOS Linux or FreeBSD Unix system?

You can disable and remove the OpenSSH server and its configuration using the following commands.

Remove OpenSSH server and ssh client from Linux

Make sure you type commands as per your Linux distro.

Linux: RHEL / CentOS / Fedora / Red Hat / Scientific Linux Delete SSH Server

Type the following commands as the root user (you must login using either server console or remote login using KVM over IP/IPMI):
# chkconfig sshd off
# service sshd stop
# yum erase openssh-server

You need to edit and update firewall rules that allows inbound connections to SSHs tcp port # 22. Edit /etc/sysconfig/iptables and /etc/sysconfig/ip6tables. In each file find and delete the line that access connection to port # 22. A sample entry:

 -A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

Save and close the file. Restart the Linux firewall:
# service iptables restart
# service ip6tables restart

RHEL / CentOS Linux 7 and 8 remove ssh server

Run the following command
sudo yum remove openssh-server
Unix and CentOS Linux Remove OpenSSH server command
Again update your CentOS 7/8 firewall rules:
sudo firewall-cmd --remove-service=ssh --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

See How to set up a firewall using FirewallD on RHEL 8 for more info.

Debian / Ubuntu Linux Remove SSHD Server

Type the following commands:
# apt-get --purge remove openssh-server
Again, you need to edit and update firewall rules or firewall shell scripts that allows inbound connections to SSHs tcp port # 22.

FreeBSD Unix Disable OpenSSHD Server

Freebsd and may other Unix like operting system install OpenSSH server as part of base system. In other words you simply can not delete binary package. First, stop sshd service, enter:
# /etc/rc.d/sshd stop
To disable openssh, edit /etc/rc.conf file and located the following line:


To disable sshd, enter:


You can rebuild your FreeBSD base system without OpenSSH. You need to edit /etc/src.conf and set WITHOUT_OPENSSH to yes:


See Freebsd handbook and src.conf man page for more information.

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