Everything You Need to Know About the Port Number for SSH

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Greetings, tech enthusiasts and cybersecurity aficionados! In today’s digital age, where data breaches are a constant threat, secure communication is paramount. One such reliable and widely used method for secure remote access is Secure Shell (SSH). But have you ever wondered about the significance of the port number for SSH? In this article, we will delve into the ins and outs of this essential aspect of SSH, shedding light on its importance, advantages, disadvantages, and everything in between.

The Port Number for SSH Explained

βš™οΈ To comprehend the significance of port numbers for SSH, we must first understand the concept of ports. In TCP/IP networking, a port is a logical construct that enables computers to differentiate between different types of network services or applications. Simply put, it serves as a gateway for data packets to reach the desired service. When it comes to SSH, port number 22 is reserved for its secure communication.

1. Secure Communication

πŸ”’ SSH employs a secure and encrypted channel between two computers, allowing for the secure exchange of data and remote administration. By utilizing port number 22, SSH ensures that the communication remains protected from prying eyes and potential malicious activities.

2. Firewall Configuration

πŸ”₯ Since SSH uses a specific port (i.e., port 22) for communication, network administrators can easily set up firewalls and other security measures to allow or restrict access to SSH services. This granular control enhances the overall security posture of the system.

3. Avoiding Port Conflicts

πŸ”„ By allocating port 22 for SSH, it avoids conflicts with other services that may be running on the system. This ensures smooth and uninterrupted communication, as each service knows its designated port.

4. Standardization

πŸ“ The assignment of port 22 as the default port for SSH has become a standard in the industry. It allows for interoperability and ease of configuration across various devices, operating systems, and applications. This standardization simplifies the deployment and management of SSH services.

5. Limitations

πŸ” While port 22 is widely adopted for SSH, it is not without its limitations. Since it is the most common port used for SSH, it may also attract unwanted attention from attackers. As a best practice, it is recommended to consider changing the default port to avoid potential brute-force attacks.

6. Port Number Customization

πŸ”’ SSH provides the flexibility to customize the port number to mitigate the risks associated with using the default port. By selecting a different port, system administrators can add an additional layer of security by obfuscating the SSH service and avoiding automated scanning attempts.

7. Impact on Accessibility

🌐 It is important to note that altering the default SSH port may impact accessibility for legitimate users. Ensuring that end-users are aware of the changed port number and updating relevant configurations becomes crucial to avoid any hindrances in accessing the SSH service.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Port Number for SSH


1. Enhanced Security

βœ… The utilization of port numbers for SSH adds an extra layer of security, safeguarding sensitive data from potential eavesdropping, tampering, or unauthorized access.

2. Improved Network Management

πŸ“‘ By utilizing specific port numbers, network administrators can easily manage and control SSH services, mitigating any risks associated with unauthorized usage.

3. Compatibility and Interoperability

🀝 Port numbers for SSH are well-established standards, ensuring seamless compatibility and interoperability across different platforms, devices, and operating systems.

4. Granular Access Controls

πŸ”’ Port numbers allow administrators to define fine-grained access controls, permitting or restricting SSH connections based on specific ports, thus fortifying security measures.

5. Flexibility for Customization

πŸ”„ The ability to customize port numbers offers additional flexibility to address security concerns and avoid unwanted attention from potential attackers targeting the default SSH port.


1. Increased Attack Surface

🚩 Using the default port or a well-known custom port for SSH may attract attention from attackers, potentially leading to brute-force attacks, scanning attempts, or other malicious activities.

2. Human Error and Configuration Challenges

πŸ”§ Customizing port numbers may introduce complexities when it comes to user configurations or establishing connections, leading to inadvertent errors and potential accessibility issues.

3. Impact on Accessibility

🚫 Changing the default port for SSH requires end-users to be aware of the modified port number. Any oversight in communication or misconfiguration can hinder legitimate access to SSH services.

4. Compatibility Limitations

⚠️ In certain cases, altering the default SSH port may conflict with other protocols or services running on the network, causing compatibility issues and potential service interruptions.

5. Additional Administrative Overhead

πŸ“‹ Modifying port numbers for SSH necessitates ongoing administrative efforts, such as maintaining documentation, training end-users, and updating firewall rules, to ensure a smooth transition and uninterrupted service.

Port Number for SSH: A Detailed Overview

Port Number Protocol Description
22 TCP/UDP SSH Secure Shell

βš“οΈ Here is a comprehensive table outlining the key details of the port number for SSH:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I change the default SSH port? How?

πŸ”€ Yes, you can change the default SSH port by modifying the SSH server configuration file (typically located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config) and specifying the desired port number. Remember to update firewall rules accordingly.

2. What are the recommended alternate port numbers for SSH?

πŸ”’ Alongside port 22, popular alternate port choices for SSH include 2222, 8022, and other port numbers beyond the well-known range (1-1023) and registered range (1024-49151).

3. How can I check if SSH is running on the default port?

πŸ” You can check if SSH is running on the default port by running the command β€œnetstat -tuln | grep 22” in a terminal. If SSH is listening on port 22, it will be displayed in the output.

4. What are the security implications of using non-standard SSH port numbers?

πŸ”’ Using non-standard SSH port numbers can provide a layer of security through obfuscation. However, it is important to note that skilled attackers can still identify SSH services on non-standard ports using advanced techniques.

5. How should I configure firewalls to allow SSH connections?

πŸ”₯ To allow SSH connections, configure your firewalls to permit inbound and outbound traffic on the specified SSH port. Pay attention to source and destination IP addresses, ensuring the appropriate access is granted.

6. Can changing the default SSH port prevent brute-force attacks?

πŸ›‘οΈ Changing the default SSH port can make brute-force attacks more challenging, as automated tools predominantly target well-known port numbers. However, it is crucial to implement additional security measures, such as using key-based authentication and rate-limiting techniques.

7. How can I ensure that legitimate users can access SSH after changing the port?

πŸ”’ To ensure legitimate users can access SSH after changing the port, communicate the modified port number to all authorized users and update any relevant configuration files, such as SSH clients or remote management tools.

8. What should I do if I forget the custom SSH port number?

πŸ”‘ If you forget the custom SSH port number, you may need to access the server physically or through alternate remote management methods to retrieve the port number from the SSH server configuration file.

9. Are deprecated SSH versions still using the default port?

🚫 Deprecated SSH versions that are no longer recommended for use, such as SSH1, SSHv1, or SSH-1.99, usually do not comply with the default port assignment and may use alternative ports.

10. Can I use the same port number for multiple SSH instances?

🌐 It is not recommended to use the same port number for multiple SSH instances running on the same server, as it can result in conflicts and hinder the ability to differentiate between services.

11. Does using a non-standard SSH port improve security?

πŸ”’ Utilizing a non-standard SSH port can improve security by reducing the likelihood of automated scans. However, it should be accompanied by other security measures, such as strong authentication, firewall rules, and intrusion detection systems.

12. Can I use port forwarding to secure non-standard SSH ports?

πŸ” Yes, you can utilize port forwarding (SSH tunneling) to secure SSH connections on non-standard ports. This allows traffic to be encrypted and forwarded securely to the desired SSH port.

13. Are there any legal restrictions on using non-standard SSH port numbers?

πŸ” There are usually no legal restrictions on using non-standard SSH port numbers. However, it is essential to abide by the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction and any applicable policies within your organization.


To ensure secure remote access and safeguard critical data, understanding the significance of the port number for SSH is essential. By utilizing port 22 (or a customized alternative), SSH provides a robust and encrypted channel for remote administration, bolstering the security posture of organizations. While there are advantages and disadvantages associated with port numbers, implementing additional security measures, such as key-based authentication, intrusion detection systems, and proper network configurations, is crucial to mitigate risks and harness the full potential of SSH.

Closing and Disclaimer

πŸ”’ In conclusion, the port number for SSH is a critical aspect of secure remote access. While this article aims to provide comprehensive and accurate information, it is important to conduct thorough research, consult industry best practices, and seek professional advice when configuring and securing SSH services. Stay vigilant and prioritize cybersecurity to protect yourself and your organization from potential threats.