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Changing the port used by SSH on an ESXi 5.0 host (2011818)

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Some environments have requirements for the ports utilized by a particular service. This article provides steps to allow ESXi 5.0 use a different port for SSH.


When making modifications, they are not normally persistent across reboots. You need a place holder to copy the files to at boot time. For example, a VMFS volume can be used.

To modify the port used for SSH:

  1. Open the required firewall ports. For more information, see User defined xml firewall configurations are not persistent across ESXi host reboots (2007381).

    This example shows a rule set .xml file to open TCP, port 2222:

    <id>SSH 2222</id>
    <rule id = '0000'>

  2. Copy /etc/services to permanent storage (it can be on the same location as the firewall rules are stored, such as /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/hostname_etc/).
  3. Edit the copy of services on permanent storage and change the port for SSH.

    ssh 2222/tcp # SSH Remote Login Protocol
    ssh 2222/udp # SSH Remote Login Protocol

  4. Edit /etc/rc.local so the created files are copied back to host at boot time. Add lines to the end of the file, for example:

    #Copy the new firewall rule from vmfs place holder to file system
    cp /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/etc/ssh_2222.xml /etc/vmware/firewall/
    #refresh firewall rules
    esxcli network firewall refresh
    #Copy the modified services file from vmfs place holder to file system
    cp /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/etc/services /etc/services
    #Restart inetd to get the changes
    kill -HUP `cat /var/run/`

  5. Reboot the host, and attempt to connect to the host on the chosen port to verify that the changes were successful.

See Also

Update History

06/05/2013 - Updated the copy command for modified services file.

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