To get to my machine in my office, at the moment I am doing this:

me@home:~$ ssh unix.university.com
me@unix:~$ ssh unix.department.univeristy.com
[email protected]:~$ ssh office-machine.department.university.com
me@office-machine:~$ echo "This is very annoying"

Is there an easy way of automating this process, perhaps a single command that I can use at my end?


4 Answers 4


Yes, there is a great way to do that using ssh ProxyCommand and netcat

Put something like this in your .ssh/config

Host *.department.university.com
User me
ForwardAgent yes
ProxyCommand ssh unix.university.com nc %h %p

This will log directly into any .department.university.com server using the jump/bastion host unix.university.com. You may also need a stanza for unix.university.com directly.

Here is a link explaining how it works: http://backdrift.org/transparent-proxy-with-ssh

With this technique, you can now just write

ssh unix.department.university.com

and it will all appear direct. Tools like rsync, scp, etc (anything in the ssh stack) will work transparently, as well.

  • 2
    +1 I use something similar to this to push data from a test network to a prod network through a staging server.
    – Arcege
    Nov 21, 2011 at 23:20
  • 2
    Yup, this works great!
    – gabe.
    Nov 24, 2011 at 19:05
  • 19
    Just for the record newer versions of ssh support the -W option, you can do something like ProxyCommand ssh -W %h:%p gateway instead of depending on nc Jun 24, 2012 at 23:38
  • Good to know! Thx Jun 24, 2012 at 23:39
  • 3
    works great if the name of the user is the same across machines; if it is different you have to do something like ProxyCommand ssh -W %h:%p user@gateway Jun 12, 2013 at 14:35

You can use the ssh client to execute ssh on the remote machine upon login.

ssh -t unix.university.com \
    ssh -t unix.department.univeristy.com \
    ssh -t office-machine.department.university.com

(The reason I include -t in the invocations is because ssh was giving me errors re: stdin not being a terminal when I tried it on my own machine; your machine may be different.)

When you exit from the last shell, the process will chain-exit, saving you typing Ctrl-D over and over again.

  • 3
    Please note : only add "-t" if you just do a login on the remote machine. To start a command on the remote machine, do NOT put them as they can/will corrupt some things (for exemple: tar cf - something | ssh somewhere "cd /path/remote ; tar xf - " : could become corrupted if you add -t ! See for exemple the wonderful StephaneChazelas's answer unix.stackexchange.com/questions/151916/… ) Jan 20, 2017 at 10:07
  • 4
    Using -J is more secure than this answer, because you then have the possibility to store all ssh keys on your local computer. The -J option was introduced in openssh version 7.3 as mentioned in the answer from @Miikka Jan 16, 2018 at 18:15
  • 1
    @ErikSjölund Openssh doesn't allow more than one -J option. I think you could do it with multiple ProxyCommand options in your config. Jan 30, 2018 at 16:36
  • 1
    @amphetamachine With -J you can specify a comma-separated list of hops to go through. But using ProxyCommand with -W is still a much better approach than this answer if you happen to be using a version too old to support -J.
    – kasperd
    Feb 11, 2018 at 0:22

In OpenSSH 7.3, ssh added the -J command line flag and the corresponding ProxyJump configuration option to solve exactly this problem.

Give the hosts you wish to ssh through as a comma-separated list to -J. For example:

ssh -J unix.university.com,unix.department.university.com  \

To ssh into server B from server A with the same username

Host target
  HostName <serverB_hostname>
  ForwardX11Trusted yes
  LogLevel verbose
  User <username>
  ProxyCommand ssh <username>@<serverA_hostname> -W %h:%p

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .