How to enable SSH on a VMWare ESXi server

SSH is disabled on ESXi servers by default.  I’d like to have access to the command-line tools available using SSH so have enabled it on my server.  Here’s how I did it:

1. On the ESXi server administration window (where you see <F2> Configure and <F12> Shutdown/Restart options), press ALT+F1 to enter into CLI mode

2. Type "unsupported" then press Enter

3. Enter the password for the root user and then press Enter

4. At the CLI prompt go to directory /etc by entering this command:

cd /etc

5. Use VI to edit the inetd.conf file by running this command:

vi inetd.conf

Scroll down to and go to the line where it shows #SSH, remove the # then save this file and exit by entering this command:


6. Determine the inetd process ID by running the following command

ps -a | grep inetd

7. Kill that process by running the following command (where 1234 is the pid determined in the previous step)

kill 1234

8. Restart inetd by entering the following command:


SSH access is now enabled.

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