How to reconnect to a disconnected ssh session

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A server stack is the collection of software that forms the operational infrastructure on a given machine. In a computing context, a stack is an ordered pile. A server stack is one type of solution stack — an ordered selection of software that makes it possible to complete a particular task. Like in this post about How to reconnect to a disconnected ssh session was one problem in server stack that need for a solution. Below are some tips in manage your linux server when you find problem about linux, ssh, gnu-screen, , .

Is there a way to connect to an ssh session that was disconnected? We are having problems with our network connection to a remote site that we are working on separately; however, in the mean time we experience a large number of disconnects due to lost packets while connected to servers at the remote location. Many times the session stays active for a while, and sometimes it happens to be in the middle of some action (file editing, running some process, etc…) that I need to get back to rather than restart if possible.

UPDATE: For an actual answer see zero_r’s answer below

This isn’t an answer, but a workaround. Use screen.

When you first log in, run screen. You get another shell, run commands in that. If you’re disconnected, the screen process keeps the terminal alive so that your shell and the processes it is running don’t fall over. When you reconnect, run ‘screen -r’ to resume.

There’s a bunch more to configuring and using screen, but the above should workaround your problem.

Try to set ClientAliveInterval (e.g. 60) and TCPKeepAlive (yes or no) to appropriate values on the serverside sshd.conf .

This should keep your session alive even if the connection gets lost for minutes.

As mentioned above, GNU Screen is the way to go. It allows you to have a ‘screen session’ on the remote box that you can run multiple commands in, via multiple ‘screen windows’. This will simply detach if your parent SSH connection dies, keeping all the subprocesses running within it alive and well.

man screen is your friend as usual, and the OS package should be called screen if it is not installed by default.

Basics are:

  • Start a screen session (on your remote host):

      $ screen
  • Disconnect from your screen session: CTRL-A, d

  • Reconnect to your screen session after logging back in again:

      $ screen -d -r
  • Open another screen ‘window’: CTRL-A, c

  • Cycle through your open screen windows: CTRL-A, space

There is lots of cool stuff you can do with screen. I’ve been using it for over 10 years, and I’m still finding out new features. It’s my favourite Unix utility.

I can’t believe no one has mentioned MOSH;

Mosh is a seperate protocol that can hook into the SSH login process, it keeps your session alive after days of disconnection, changing IP, high latency and so on. It is explained on the home page better than I can explain it so I have copied the description below. My experiences and advice are that I use it on my Android mobile, it’s a life saver when travelling and SSH’ing. The same is true on my laptop when tethered with mobile on the train for example. I recommend compiling from source to get the latest version, the repo version for me inside Ubuntu has a few annoyances in it which are fixed in the newest version (at the time of writing).

Mosh (mobile shell)

Remote terminal application that allows roaming, supports intermittent
connectivity, and provides intelligent local echo and line editing of
user keystrokes.

Mosh is a replacement for SSH. It’s more robust and responsive,
especially over Wi-Fi, cellular, and long-distance links.

Mosh is free software, available for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac
OS X, and Android.

Features from the website:

  • Change IP. Stay connected:
    Mosh automatically roams as you move
    between Internet connections. Use Wi-Fi on the train, Ethernet in a
    hotel, and LTE on a beach: you’ll stay logged in. Most network
    programs lose their connections after roaming, including SSH and Web
    apps like Gmail. Mosh is different.

  • Makes for sweet dreams:
    With Mosh, you can put your laptop to sleep and wake it up later, keeping your
    connection intact. If your Internet connection drops, Mosh will warn you — but the
    connection resumes when network service comes back.

  • Get rid of network lag:
    SSH waits for the server’s reply before showing you your own typing. That can make for a
    lousy user interface. Mosh is different: it gives an instant response to typing,
    deleting, and line editing. It does this adaptively and works even in full-screen
    programs like emacs and vim. On a bad connection, outstanding predictions are underlined
    so you won’t be misled.

  • No privileged code. No daemon:
    You don’t need to be the superuser to install or run Mosh. The client and server are
    executables run by an ordinary user and last only for the life of the connection.

  • Same login method:
    Mosh doesn’t listen on network ports or authenticate users. The mosh client logs in to
    the server via SSH, and users present the same credentials (e.g., password, public key)
    as before. Then Mosh runs the mosh-server remotely and connects to it over UDP.

  • Runs inside your terminal, but better:
    Mosh is a command-line program, like ssh. You can use it inside xterm, gnome-terminal,
    urxvt,, iTerm, emacs, screen, or tmux. But mosh was designed from scratch
    and supports just one character set: UTF-8. It fixes Unicode bugs in other terminals and
    in SSH.

  • Control-C works great:
    Unlike SSH, mosh’s UDP-based protocol handles packet loss gracefully, and sets the frame
    rate based on network conditions. Mosh doesn’t fill up network buffers, so Control-C
    always works to halt a runaway process.

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