I am trying to start my server remotely with this:

ssh root@xxx.xx.xx.xx /sbin/reboot

And keep getting this back

ssh: connect to host xxx.xx.xx.xx port 22: Operation timed out

Why can't I start my server?

  • 4
    You cannot ssh to powered down machine. First you need to physically hit power button.
    – jimmij
    Aug 8, 2015 at 18:10

3 Answers 3


Reboot is for restarting your machine, not for starting if it is currently powered down. If you want that, you need a 'wake on lan' tool.

  • Thanks, whats a wake on lan tool? And can I power on with that?
    – spenf10
    Aug 8, 2015 at 17:26
  • Try this cyberciti.biz/tips/…
    – steve
    Aug 8, 2015 at 17:28
  • 1
    Or physical access to the server to power it on.
    – Drav Sloan
    Aug 9, 2015 at 12:09

In order to connect to a host using SSH, you need the SSH service to be running in the target machine. That's the reason for the timeout.

What you need is to setup the server for Wake-on-LAN. That means that when the LAN adapter gets a certain signal, it will start the physical machine. For this, you usually have to follow certain steps:

  1. Make sure you have compatible hardware (i.e. A WoL capable NIC)
  2. Enable the option through the computer BIOS
  3. Configure the WoL in the OS (Usually install some packages or software)
  4. Enable WoL for a particular adapter (NIC) on the OS
    1. Also known as configuring the MagicPacket

Depending on the OS you're trying to connect to, you can Google a tutorial for setting up Wake on Lan (WoL) on your flavor of OS.


You can power it on by logging on the server's IMM, iLO, or something similar and look for the Power option. If you don't have access to that, then someone at the site needs to press the power button.

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