This post concat some tips I learned along the way about the SSH which makes me more productive.

Put generic Host config at the end

The config file is read sequentially, and the first rule that matched will be taken into account. If you put your Host * 1 at the top of your ~/.ssh/config then further rules won’t be applied.

Host foo
    Username bar
    Hostname foo.baz

# this rule will apply to all connection. and appened to the "toto" host definition.
Host *
    AddKeysToAgent yes
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/ed25519

Split your config files

By default, ssh client, will read his config from /etc/ssh/ssh_config and ~/.ssh/config. The the later one, I like to add this line of config:

Include ~/.ssh/config.d/*

This “quite obvious” line will read all ssh config files in ~/.ssh/config.d folder. This helps me keeping the size of each config file quite limited and understandable by a human.

Use ProxyJump

To use bastion with ssh, there use to be an awkward command to type in the config or in the command line to get there: ProxyCommand ssh -A ${USER}@bastion.mycorp.com nc the.host.behind.bastion.com 22. This command is hard to remember. With OpenSSH we now have a ProxyJump which simplify everything.

Host bastion
    Hostname bastion.mycorp.com
    Username me
    Port 12345

Host foo
    Hostname bar.internal
    Username lol
    ProxyJump bastion

Note here I am using another host definition to make things a bit “smoother”.

Decrease the keep alive to make it work on unstable network


Host *
    ServerAliveInterval 30
    ServerAliveCountMax 2

This way I don’t experience any problem with long running script (10/15Minutes), nor with unstable network like cellular connections.

Share ssh connection for the same host

Host *
    ControlMaster auto
    ControlPath /tmp/ssh-%r@%h:%p
    ControlPersist yes

This config will speed up multiple connection on the same host. I know some of you use tmux in the server. This will change nothing 😅.

Be aware that this config can beat you hard if something goes wrong and the file in /tmp still exists.

Sum up everything

# ~/.ssh/config
Include ~/.ssh/config.d/*

Host my-corp-gateway
    Hostname gw.mycorp.com
    Port 12345
    User me

Host *
    AddKeysToAgent yes
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_ed25519
    # some person still lives in 2004
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa
    IdentitiesOnly yes
    # short keep alive
    ServerAliveInterval 30
    ServerAliveCountMax 2
    # share socket for multiple connection
    ControlMaster auto
    ControlPath /tmp/ssh-%r@%h:%p
    ControlPersist yes
# ~/.ssh/config.d/client1
Host client1-front
    Username apprunner
    Hostname front.client1.com
    ProxyJump my-corp-gateway


  1. This Host * rule will match all hosts. ↩︎