How to SSH to a private instance without a public IP address


If you have private networking enabled, you may use it to expose some instances to the Internet while limiting access to others on the private network. For example, you may want your instance exposed on port 80 or 443 while keeping your database access restricted to only the private network. One complication of this configuration is how to access your private instances without a floating IP address. The answer to that is to use a jump host.

How it works

A jump (or bastion) host acts as a middleman for all traffic to your non-public instances. It is easy to set up using SSH and its configuration options.

The first thing you want to do is to make sure you have an instance running with a floating IP address. This could be any DreamCompute instance with a floating IP, but you’d typically use a dedicated jump host or your instance. Ensure you can SSH into that machine with your SSH key. View the following article for instructions on how to upload a public key to your DreamCompute dashboard:

Configuring a jump host in DreamCompute

The following configuration shows an SSH config file (~/.ssh/config) on a local machine so that it can connect first to a jump host called jump. Change username to the default user for your image.

  1. Enter the following. Replace X.X.X.X with the floating IP address for your instance in the HostName option. Also, make sure you’re using the correct public key.
    Host jump
    HostName X.X.X.X #Replace with your Floating IP Address
    User username
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/
  2. Ensure you can log into your jump host with SSH:
    [user@localhost]$ ssh jump
  3. Once you verify that it works, update the SSH config to send all traffic from your machine to the private DreamCompute network through a proxy on the jump host by entering the following:
    Host 10.10.10.*
    ProxyCommand ssh jump -W %h:%p
    User username
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/dreamcompute.pem

    This example uses a separate key for private instances rather than the jump host, which allows you to keep both keys on your machine - the jump host doesn’t need the private key for the other instances. This provides an extra level of security.

    The -W option forwards all stdin and stdout to the specified host and port.

  4. To connect to your private instances from a local machine, SSH to the private IP:

    [user@localhost]$ ssh

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Article last updated PST.

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