You can access the command line of a Raspberry Pi remotely from another computer or device on the same network using SSH.

The Raspberry Pi will act as a remote device: you can connect to it using a client on another machine.

You only have access to the command line, not the full desktop environment. For a full remote desktop, see VNC.

1. Set up your local network and wireless connectivity

Make sure your Raspberry Pi is properly set up and connected. If you are using wireless networking, this can be enabled via the desktop’s user interface, or using the command line.

If you are not using wireless connectivity, plug your Raspberry Pi directly into the router.

You will need to note down the IP address of your Pi in order to connect to it later. Using the ifconfig command will display information about the current network status, including the IP address, or you can use hostname -I to display the IP addresses associated with the device.

2. Enable SSH

As of the November 2016 release, Raspbian has the SSH server disabled by default. It can be enabled manually from the desktop:

  1. Launch Raspberry Pi Configuration from the Preferences menu
  2. Navigate to the Interfaces tab
  3. Select Enabled next to SSH
  4. Click OK

Alternatively, raspi-config can be used in the terminal:

  1. Enter sudo raspi-config in a terminal window
  2. Select Interfacing Options
  3. Navigate to and select SSH
  4. Choose Yes
  5. Select Ok
  6. Choose Finish

Alternatively, use systemctl to start the service

sudo systemctl enable ssh
sudo systemctl start ssh

When enabling SSH on a Pi that may be connected to the internet, you should change its default password to ensure that it remains secure. See the Security page for more details.

3. Enable SSH on a headless Raspberry Pi (add file to SD card on another machine)

For headless setup, SSH can be enabled by placing a file named ssh, without any extension, onto the boot partition of the SD card from another computer. When the Pi boots, it looks for the ssh file. If it is found, SSH is enabled and the file is deleted. The content of the file does not matter; it could contain text, or nothing at all.

If you have loaded Raspbian onto a blank SD card, you will have two partitions. The first one, which is the smaller one, is the boot partition. Place the file into this one.

4. Set up your client

SSH is built into Linux distributions and Mac OS, and is an optional feature in Windows 10. For older Windows versions and mobile devices, third-party SSH clients are available. See the following guides for using SSH with the OS on your computer or device: