I decided one day over break that I really wanted a remote server. I had a spare laptop, a router at home, and far too much free time. The obvious solution was to combine the three.

It ended up being much simpler than I expected to set up. On my old laptop, I installed an SSH server:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

I made a few changes to the default config:

sed -i '
s/Port: 22/Port: 666/
s/PermitRootLogin without-password/PermitRootLogin no/
s/#PasswordAuthentication yes/PasswordAuthentication no/
s/PrintMotd no/PrintMotd yes/
' /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Created and added an SSH key:

eval $(ssh-agent)
sudo service ssh restart

And copied it to my new computer:

[email protected]:~$ cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa* /media/joshua/usb
[email protected]:~$ sudo umount $_
[email protected]:~$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
cp /mnt/id_rsa* ~/.ssh

SSH now worked perfectly when I typed in the IP address. I was moving back to USC in a few weeks though, my server would be behind a firewall. Not to worry though, with a mutter of approval from my dad, I forwarded port 666 on the router to 666 on debian-acer.

Worked like a charm.


  • If, like me, you have an outdated laptop which refuses to start networking at boot, try this:
sudo sh -c 'echo "# Ethernet
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp
" >> /etc/network/interfaces'
  • More elegant way to specify ssh ports:
sudo sh -c 'echo "   home >> /etc/hosts"'
echo 'Host home
Port 666' >> ~/.ssh/config