Run Command on SSH Login

Do you need to run a command on SSH login? There are a lot of solutions on the web for this, but most of them are very complex. I stumbled across this easy method of using the authorized_keys file, simply add command="ls -l" (replacing ls -l with something a bit more useful like tmux or screen) in front of the key fingerprint. This also means you can have different commands for different keys if you choose.

Example authorized_keys file:

command="tmux a -t <mysessionname>" ssh-rsa AAAAB3...

A lot of the other solutions you’ll find on the web recommend editing profile, bashrc, ssh_config or some other important shell files - something you should avoid unless absolutely necessary. One more word of advice, make sure the command will always execute sucessfully. If the command fails for any reason (like a Tmux session not existing) your SSH connection will close, since this is the command that will keep it open. That’s fine if you have access to the computer and have a screen attached to fix it, but if you are remote then you will be out of luck.

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out my post on using patterns in SSH config file.