How to Exit SSH: A Comprehensive Guide


Greetings dear readers! If you are an avid user of SSH (Secure Shell), you may have encountered the perplexing situation of wanting to exit the SSH session. Fear not, for we are here to guide you through the process seamlessly. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, this article will provide you with detailed instructions, advantages, disadvantages, and FAQs related to exiting SSH. So, let’s dive in and master the art of gracefully saying goodbye to your SSH session!

Understanding SSH

Before we delve into the process of exiting SSH, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what SSH is. Secure Shell, commonly referred to as SSH, is a cryptographic network protocol that enables secure communication between two connected devices. It provides a secure channel over an unsecured network and allows users to access and manage remote systems securely.

Key Points:

  1. SSH ensures encrypted communication.
  2. It provides authentication and secure remote access.

How to Exit SSH: Step-by-Step Guide

Now, let’s move on to the main topic of this article – exiting SSH. Follow these step-by-step instructions to gracefully terminate your SSH session:

  1. Step 1: Locate the command line or terminal window where your SSH session is active.
  2. Step 2: Type the exit command followed by pressing the Enter key.

    Example: exit

  3. Step 3: Congratulations! You have successfully exited your SSH session. The terminal or command line window will close, and you will return to your local system environment.

Pro Tips:

  • Ensure you have completed all necessary tasks before exiting SSH.
  • Save any unsaved work to avoid data loss.

Advantages of Exiting SSH

Exiting SSH can bring several benefits to users. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:

  1. Enhanced Security: By terminating your SSH session, you minimize the chance of unauthorized access to your remote system.
  2. Resource Optimization: Exiting an idle SSH session frees up system resources, making them available for other tasks.
  3. Improved Performance: By closing unnecessary SSH connections, you can enhance the performance of your local and remote systems.
  4. Clear Audit Trails: Exiting SSH helps maintain accurate audit records, ensuring accountability and compliance with security policies.

Disadvantages of Exiting SSH

While exiting SSH offers numerous advantages, it’s crucial to be aware of potential disadvantages:

  1. Loss of Access: Exiting SSH abruptly without completing necessary tasks may result in losing access to your remote system.
  2. Interrupted Processes: Terminating an SSH session without caution can lead to the disruption of ongoing processes, causing inconvenience or potential data loss.
  3. Inconvenience: Exiting SSH frequently can be time-consuming, especially when frequent reconnection is required.
  4. Impact on Workflows: Closing SSH connections abruptly might affect workflows and ongoing tasks, potentially causing delays or errors.

SSH Exit Command Table

Command Description
exit Terminates the current SSH session and returns to the local system.
logout Similar to the exit command, it ends the SSH session and returns to the local system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can I terminate an SSH session without closing the terminal?

To terminate an SSH session without closing the terminal or command line window, you can use the following command: ~. This sends an escape character to SSH, indicating termination while keeping the terminal open.

2. Will exiting SSH terminate any running processes on the remote system?

No, exiting SSH will not terminate any running processes on the remote system by default. However, if you initiated specific processes within the SSH session, they may run independently after exiting SSH.

3. Is it possible to resume an SSH session after exiting?

Yes, it is possible to resume an SSH session after exiting using the screen command (Linux) or tmux command (Linux and macOS). These utilities allow you to create persistent sessions that can be resumed even after disconnecting from SSH.

4. Can I forcefully terminate an SSH session?

Yes, if you encounter an unresponsive or stuck SSH session, you can forcefully terminate it. Use the kill command followed by the process ID (PID) of the SSH session to forcefully end it.

5. Are there alternatives to the exit command for terminating an SSH session?

Yes, apart from the exit command, you can also use the logout command to terminate an SSH session and return to the local system.

6. Does closing the terminal window automatically exit SSH?

Closing the terminal window without explicitly exiting SSH using the appropriate command or key combination will not terminate the SSH session. It will continue running in the background, consuming system resources.

7. How can I gracefully exit an SSH session on Windows?

To gracefully exit an SSH session on Windows, you can use the exit command within the command prompt or PowerShell window.

8. Can I exit SSH while preserving the session history?

No, exiting SSH terminates the session, including the history of executed commands. However, some terminal emulators may offer options to save or export the session history for future reference.

9. Is it possible to set an automatic SSH session timeout?

Yes, you can configure an automatic SSH session timeout by modifying the SSH server’s configuration file. Adjust the appropriate settings to define the duration of inactivity allowed before the server terminates the session.

10. How can I ensure a secure exit from SSH?

To ensure a secure exit from SSH, follow these best practices:

  1. Close the SSH session only after completing all necessary tasks.
  2. Regularly update SSH software to benefit from the latest security patches and enhancements.
  3. Use strong and unique SSH keys or passwords for authentication.
  4. Monitor and log SSH activity to detect any suspicious sessions.

11. What happens if my SSH connection gets interrupted while exiting?

If your SSH connection gets interrupted while exiting, the termination may not proceed as expected. In such cases, wait for the connection to reestablish or force-terminate the SSH session using appropriate commands.

12. Is it necessary to exit SSH after each session?

It is not necessary to exit SSH after each session, especially if you frequently connect to the same remote system. However, it is advisable to terminate idle or unnecessary SSH connections to conserve resources.

13. How can I handle unexpected errors or issues when attempting to exit SSH?

If you encounter unexpected errors or issues while trying to exit SSH, you can try the following steps:

  1. Double-check if you have completed all necessary tasks within the SSH session.
  2. Ensure that you are using the correct exit command.
  3. If the session hangs or becomes unresponsive, try waiting for a reasonable duration to see if it resolves itself.
  4. If all else fails, consider force-terminating the SSH session using appropriate commands.


In conclusion, knowing how to exit SSH gracefully is a fundamental skill for any SSH user. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can confidently terminate your SSH sessions, ensuring security, resource optimization, and improved performance. Remember to consider the advantages and disadvantages of exiting SSH and always adhere to best practices to maintain a safe and efficient SSH experience.

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge to exit SSH effectively, take action and apply these techniques in your SSH sessions. Practice makes perfect, and mastering the art of exiting SSH seamlessly will undoubtedly enhance your overall SSH experience!

Closing and Disclaimer

This article aimed to provide a comprehensive guide on how to exit SSH. While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented, the usage of SSH commands and techniques mentioned in this article is at the readers’ discretion. We hold no responsibility for any damages, losses, or security breaches that may occur while using SSH or applying the methods described in this article. Always exercise caution and follow security best practices when working with SSH or any other technology.