I run a remote script through ssh and get permission errors on touch, while everything works fine if I connect through ssh using the same key. The script is executed, echoes are run for example.

Here is the code I run:

ssh -Tv user@149.202.xxx.xxx 'bash var/deploy.sh'

Here is the content of the script:

echo "blabla"
touch bidule
ln -sfn www-26 www

Here is the result of the command:

debug1: Reading configuration data /Users/local_user/.ssh/config
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 21: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to 149.202.xxx.xxx [149.202.xxx.xxx] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /Users/local_user/.ssh/id_rsa type -1
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.9
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_7.5p1 Ubuntu-10ubuntu0.1
debug1: match: OpenSSH_7.5p1 Ubuntu-10ubuntu0.1 pat OpenSSH* compat 0x04000000
debug1: Authenticating to 149.202.xxx.xxx:22 as 'user'
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: server->client chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com <implicit> none
debug1: kex: client->server chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com <implicit> none
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256     SHA256:sSTBN/oPCEhmpaK2UKIU1DC1uhlGB3F0II2TDfHi5eA
debug1: Host '149.202.xxx.xxx' is known and matches the ECDSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /Users/local_user/.ssh/known_hosts:1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering RSA public key: /Users/local_user/.ssh/local_user_mac
debug1: Server accepts key: pkalg ssh-rsa blen 535
debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).
Authenticated to 149.202.xxx.xxx ([149.202.xxx.xxx]:22).
debug1: channel 0: new [client-session]
debug1: Requesting no-more-sessions@openssh.com
debug1: Entering interactive session.
debug1: client_input_global_request: rtype hostkeys-00@openssh.com want_reply 0
debug1: Sending environment.
debug1: Sending env LC_CTYPE = UTF-8
debug1: Sending command: bash var/deploy.sh
touch: cannot touch 'bidule': Permission denied
ln: failed to create symbolic link 'www': Permission denied
debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype exit-status reply 0
debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype eow@openssh.com reply 0
debug1: channel 0: free: client-session, nchannels 1
Transferred: sent 4144, received 2844 bytes, in 0.4 seconds
Bytes per second: sent 10803.0, received 7414.0
debug1: Exit status 1

I also tried various options with ssh (-ttv, -Tv, -v) and always get the same answer.

Note that if I use the same key and simply go with a ssh user@149.202.xxx.xxx and then run bash var/deploy.sh from the command line, it works fine.

Also note that all the content of this directory is uploaded via sftp using the same key.


Server os:

Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 17.10
Release:    17.10
Codename:   artful

Client (where the ssh command is used): bitbucket pipeline instance or mac OSX for local tests.

For information here is the permissions on the var directory:

[10:39:32] iam.test.edu-sante.com@Dagobert:~/var$ ls -rtla
total 48
drwxr-xr-x  4 root                   root           4096 Mar 26 14:37 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 user                   group            58 Mar 26 17:46 deploy.sh
drwxr-xr-x  3 user                   group          4096 Mar 26 17:46 www-26
lrwxrwxrwx  1 user                   group             6 Mar 27 10:13 www -> www-24
drwxr-xr-x 11 user                   group          4096 Mar 27 10:13 .

Note that the var directory here isn't the /var directory it's a $HOME/var directory specific to the user.

And just in case here is my sshd config file:

#   $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.101 2017/03/14 07:19:07 djm Exp $
Port 22
Protocol 2
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
UsePrivilegeSeparation yes
SyslogFacility AUTH
LogLevel INFO
LoginGraceTime 2m
PermitRootLogin no
StrictModes yes
MaxAuthTries 6
RSAAuthentication yes
PubkeyAuthentication yes
AuthorizedKeysFile      %h/.ssh/authorized_keys
IgnoreRhosts yes
RhostsRSAAuthentication no
HostbasedAuthentication no
PasswordAuthentication no
PermitEmptyPasswords no
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no
UsePAM yes
X11Forwarding yes
PrintMotd no
AcceptEnv LANG LC_*
Subsystem   sftp    /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server
Match group sftp
  ChrootDirectory %h
  ForceCommand internal-sftp
  AllowTcpForwarding no

User isn't part of the sftp group.

1 Answer 1


It seems you want to run the script in the ~/var directory, but currently it is run in the home directory.

The command bash var/deploy.sh does not switch to the var directory, and touch bidule tries to create a file in the current directory, which is likely the user's home directory.

  • One solution would be to cd to the correct directory before calling the script, another one would be to let the script do the cd (which I personally would have done).
    – Kusalananda
    Mar 27, 2019 at 11:45
  • Hi sorry for the stupid question and thanks for the answer. I wasn't able to upvote you as I don't have the needed reputation, but I would have otherwise Mar 28, 2019 at 12:21

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