VMWare ESXi: How to enable SSH?

If you have recently installed the VMWare ESXi software, you noticed that you can not ssh into the host. This is because VMWare has disabled this feature on the ESXi server. To be able to SSH, you will need to enable this feature on the “INETD.CONF” file.

Below are instructions on how to do this:

To enable SSH access in ESXi:

1. In the ESXi host, press ALT+F1 to login to the console prompt

2.Type in “unsupported” and then the root password to the machine

3.Change the directory to the “etc” folder.

E.g. cd /etc

4. Type in the following command to edit the inetd.conf file.

vi inetd.conf

5. Look for the line that has the “#SSH” in it and remove the “#” from it.

e.g. move your cursor on the ‘#’ symbol and press the “x” key to delete it.

6. Save the file by typing the following command


7. Type in the following command to get the running PID of the INETD

cat /var/run/inetd.pid

8. Once you got the PID number, type in the following to kill that process

kill -HUP <pid>

9. Test the SSH connection. You can download the free putty software to ssh into it.