First on Debian

You bought a Debian server, now what?

Change root password

$ passwd root

Add another user

This will be the user you’ll be using to manage the server. So to not fuck it up as root.

$ adduser <USER>
$ usermod -a -G sudo <USER>

And then to change to the <USER> user

$ su owner

Add ssh login with the new user

From your personal computer terminal:

$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ root@HOSTNAME

Or another alternative, from the server itself, copy & paste the public key into /home/<USER>/authorized_keys.

After this you can try to logout of the server and login with the new user.

Login with the new user

From your computer

$ ssh <USER>@<HOST>

Improve your ssh login

From your computer.

If you don’t want to type your passphrase every time, try doing

$ ssh-add

That will add your private key into the shh agent so you don’t have to type it again.

Then, if you don’t even want to type the user and host, you can modify your .ssh/config with this info (replacing with your data).

  Hostname <HOST>
  User <USER>
  PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes +ssh-rsa
  PreferredAuthentications publickey
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

And after that you can login with just typing


And voilà 🎩

Make ssh login more secure

Once you’ve added the new user and tried that the login worked, open the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config with an editor and change these options.

  • PermitRootLogin -> no.
  • UsePAM -> no.
  • PasswordAuthentication -> no
  • PermitEmptyPasswords -> no
  • Port -> some other port. Remember the port you choosed.

And now restart the ssh server:

$ service ssh restart

If service doesn’t exist, then try

$ sudo systemctl restart ssh.service

If you had added a Host into .ssh/config you can add a field PORT with the respective port as a value.

Config packages to download

Get config

Go to and fill the options as you prefer.

Add the config

Paste the config you’ve got onto /etc/apt/sources.list.

Update and upgrade your packages

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Install fail2ban

This package will look if a client fails to login several times, if that happens, it will ban the client for some time.

$ apt-get install fail2ban

You can change its settings in /etc/fail2ban/fail2ban.conf.

Config firewall rules

This post covers very well how to setup ufw (Uncomplicated Firewall).

Install rsync

To update a group of files is faster to use rsync instead of using scp.

This post covers this subject very well.