5. Connecting to the Pi via SSH

Now that we’ve got our Raspberry Pi connected to the Wi-Fi we can connect to it over the network by using SSH.

SSH (Secure Shell) lets you log into a remote machine (such as your Raspberry Pi) and execute commands, but it also supports a whole lot more such as tunnelling, port forwarding and the secure transfer of files (SFTP) and copying files (SCP).

Working out your Raspberry Pi’s IP address

Since we’ve got a console cable, it’s easy for us to find out our Raspberry Pi’s ip address by using the ifconfig (interface config) command. This command lists all our Pi’s network ports (both wired and wireless).

  • en0 is our ethernet port
  • wlan0 is our Wi-Fi module

Run the command ifconfig now and see your output.

To only get our wlan’s IP address we use:

ifconfig wlan0 | grep -i inet

What’s that weird | character you’re seeing and what is that grep command?

The | symbol is known as the pipe character (and it’s found above your return key). On Linux we use the pipe symbol to pipe the output of one command into the input of another. E.g program1 | program2 | program3. So in our example we’re taking the output of the ifconfig command and sending it to grep. The question then beckons, what’s this grep command?

Grep is a command-line utility for searching plain-text data sets for lines matching a regular expression. In layman’s terms it looks for a snippet of text (we call them strings) and outputs any match to the screen. The -i flag or argument to grep tells it to ignore case (The grep -i is part of Marcus’ muscle memory and he never uses it without it. Why am I talking in the 3rd person?). Lastly, the inet section is the snippet of text we want to match, if you look at the output of ifconfig you’ll notice that the ip addresses are on the line with the snippet inet.

SSH on Mac or Linux

SSH-ing on Mac or Linux is easy. To SSH onto your Raspberry Pi use the command:

ssh pi@the-ip-address-of-you-pi

E.g. ssh pi@

Whoa! What’s this? ‘Connection refused’? That’s correct, SSH access is disabled by default, and that’s a good thing, too. If that wasn’t the case, then, as soon as a new RPi appeared on a network, it could be accessed easily with the default login and password. (Speaking of which, let’s change that later on.)

Enabling SSH access


sudo raspi-config

and you’ll see Setup Options. Select ‘8. Advanced Options’. Then select ‘A4 SSH Enable/Disable’ remote command line access to your Pi using SSH’. Finally, select ‘Enable’.

Press ‘ESC’ a few times until you’re back out in the command line. Now try to SSH again:

ssh pi@the-ip-address-of-you-pi

You may receive a message along the lines of:

The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established. RSA key fingerprint is 64:4a:97:2d:4c:ff:3a:f3:8d:02:c0:e0:38:66:a1:0d. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

Go ahead and answer yes by pressing the ‘Y’ key.

You’ll get prompted for a password, just use the same password raspberry as you did when logging in via the console cable.

SSH on Windows

SSH isn’t built into Windows, so you’ll need to use putty to connect.

  1. Select SSH, Enter your IP address and leave the port number at 22.

  2. If you get a security alert, click “Yes”.

  3. Enter pi as the username, and raspberry as the password.

Time for a sanity check! Let’s sanity check that you’re on the right Raspberry Pi by playing some audio out of the headset port!