Installation on Debian 8, 9 or 10

The followings shows you how to install and run PaSSHport on Debian 8 (Jessie), 9 (Stretch) or 10 (Buster). We start from a minimal installation of Debian (available here), with openssh-server and curl packages installed.

The easy, automated way

You can review the installation script here.

You can run it directly from command line ( please ensure that curl is installed : apt install curl ):

root@debian:~# bash <(curl -s

Once finished, you can go to the Getting Started chapter.

The long, manual way

To understand what you do on your system when you install PaSSHport, follow the instructions below, that are more or less the step by step commands from the automated installation script.

First of all, we’ll need to update your repositories :

root@debian:~# apt update

We will install python3-pip, and other packages that we’ll need later for this tutorial (it will get ~+100MB from the archives, so be patient) :

root@debian:~# apt install python3-pip git openssl virtualenv libpython3-dev

Next we will need to add a system user called « passhport », and switch to it :

root@debian:~# useradd --home-dir /home/passhport --shell /bin/bash --create-home passhport
root@debian:~# su - passhport

Let’s get passhport sources from github :

passhport@debian:~$ git clone
Clonage dans 'passhport'...
remote: Counting objects: 2713, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (50/50), done.
remote: Total 2713 (delta 19), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 2661
Réception d'objets: 100% (2713/2713), 482.76 KiB | 396.00 KiB/s, fait.
Résolution des deltas: 100% (1633/1633), fait.

We now need to create a virtual-env for passhport user :

passhport@debian:~$ virtualenv -p python3 passhport-run-env

Now that we have our virtual-env, we install the python’s modules we’ll need for PaSSHport :

passhport@debian:~$ /home/passhport/passhport-run-env/bin/pip install -r /home/passhport/passhport/requirements.txt

Now, let’s start the real thing…

PaSSHport will need to write some logs, so, as root, we’ll create a directory in « /var/log », and give the ownership to the « passhport » user:

root@debian:~# mkdir -p /var/log/passhport/
root@debian:~# chown passhport:passhport /var/log/passhport/

We’ll also create the config directory, and copy the differents config file :

root@debian:~# mkdir /etc/passhport
root@debian:~# cp /home/passhport/passhport/passhport/passhport.ini /etc/passhport/.
root@debian:~# cp /home/passhport/passhport/passhport-admin/passhport-admin.ini /etc/passhport/.
root@debian:~# cp /home/passhport/passhport/passhportd/passhportd.ini /etc/passhport/.

We’ll also need to make some modifications in those config file, if you run passhportd on a distant server. Here we’ll change the default listening address (localhost) to the real IP of our server.

First, passhportd :

root@debian:~# vim /etc/passhport/passhportd.ini

Change the « LISTENING_IP » parameter, to the IP address of your server :

# Passhportd configuration file. You should copy it to
# /etc/passhport/passhportd.ini if you want to do modifications
SSL = True
SSL_CERTIFICAT = /home/passhport/certs/cert.pem
SSL_KEY = /home/passhport/certs/key.pem

PORT = 5000

SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_DIR = /var/lib/passhport/
SQLALCHEMY_MIGRATE_REPO = /var/lib/passhport/db_repository
# For SQLite
SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI = sqlite:////var/lib/passhport/app.db

# SSH Keyfile path
SSH_KEY_FILE = /home/passhport/.ssh/authorized_keys
# Python and passhport paths
PASSHPORT_PATH = /home/passhport/passhport/passhport/passhport
PYTHON_PATH = /home/passhport/passhport-run-env/bin/python3

Change the following parameter in /etc/passhport/passhport.ini and /etc/passhport/passhport-admin.ini :


We’ll need ssh publickey, so we generate a 4096 bits RSA key (keys lengh can be longer):

root@debian:~# su - passhport
passhport@debian:~$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -N "" -f "/home/passhport/.ssh/id_rsa"
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Your identification has been saved in /home/passhport/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/passhport/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:0o6jkepqr2Phz0AKmLGRZh6PeVexP2gf5CGNPd+ksQ passhport@debian
The key's randomart image is:
+---[RSA 4096]----+
| .    ....       |
|oo . o .+ +      |
|* + o ...= *     |
|.O   o oo + E    |
|=.    LibrIT .   |
|+.   .Rocks = .  |
|o.. o o .  . o   |
| =o. o .         |
|++B+.            |

This will be the key that’ll be use by PaSSHport to connect to your hosts. You can also generate a ECDSA key if you wish :

passhport@debian:~$ ssh-keygen -t ecdsa -b 521 -N "" -f "/home/passhport/.ssh/id_ecdsa"

Again as root, let’s make the directory that’ll contains the database (because we use SQLite for this tutorial) :

root@debian:~# mkdir -p /var/lib/passhport
root@debian:~# chown -R passhport:passhport /var/lib/passhport/

… then we’ll have to change 3 paramaters in the passhportd config file (as root, edit «/etc/passhport/passhportd.ini») :

SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_DIR        = /var/lib/passhport/
SQLALCHEMY_MIGRATE_REPO        = /var/lib/passhport/db_repository
SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI        = sqlite:////var/lib/passhport/app.db

Now we can create the database and check that it has correcly been created:

root@debian:~# su - passhport
passhport@debian:~$ /home/passhport/passhport-run-env/bin/python /home/passhport/passhport/passhportd/
passhport@debian:~$ ls -la /var/lib/passhport/
total 172
drwxr-xr-x  3 passhport passhport   4096 févr. 28 16:10 .
drwxr-xr-x 25 root      root        4096 févr. 28 15:37 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 passhport passhport 159744 févr. 28 16:10 app.db
drwxr-xr-x  4 passhport passhport   4096 févr. 28 16:10 db_repository

We’ll now need to create the certificate to secure the API. First, create the directory in which will be key and the cert, and make the directory rwx for passport only :

passhport@debian:~$ mkdir /home/passhport/certs
passhport@debian:~$ chmod 700 /home/passhport/certs

Create the RSA key :

[passhport@centos-7 ~]$ openssl genrsa -out "/home/passhport/certs/key.pem" 4096

There is a conf file provided for OpenSSL, to generate a minimal correct SSL cert. The file is :


Edit it, and add DNS name you’ll use to reach the API. For the tutorial, we’ll use two hostnames :

distinguished_name      = req_distinguished_name
req_extensions          = v3_req
subjectKeyIdentifier    = hash
authorityKeyIdentifier  = keyid:always,issuer

subjectAltName          = @alternate_names
basicConstraints        = CA:TRUE
subjectKeyIdentifier    = hash
authorityKeyIdentifier  = keyid:always,issuer


[ alternate_names ]
DNS.1 =
DNS.2 = localhost
DNS.3 =
DNS.4 =

Now, generate the certificate using this command (put on multiple lines, so you can copy/paste easily), but please adapt the subject line (-subj) :

openssl req -new -key "/home/passhport/certs/key.pem" \
-config "/home/passhport/passhport/tools/openssl-for-passhportd.cnf" \
-out "/home/passhport/certs/cert.pem" \
-subj "/C=FR/ST=Ile De France/L=Ivry sur Seine/O=LibrIT/OU=DSI/" \
-x509 -days 365 -sha256 \
-extensions v3_req

Once executed, you’ll have a cert file next to the key file :

passhport@debian:~$ ls -la /home/passhport/certs/
total 16
drwx------ 2 passhport passhport 4096 févr. 28 18:00 .
drwxr-xr-x 8 passhport passhport 4096 févr. 28 17:46 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 passhport passhport 2171 févr. 28 18:00 cert.pem
-rw------- 1 passhport passhport 3243 févr. 28 16:11 key.pem

As root, create some symlink to the two main binaries, passhportd and passhport-admin, so you can access it without typing full path :

root@debian:~# ln -s /home/passhport/passhport/tools/ /usr/bin/passhportd
root@debian:~# ln -s /home/passhport/passhport/tools/ /usr/bin/passhport-admin

We now create the systemd service, and enables passhportd on startup :

root@debian:~# cp /home/passhport/passhport/tools/passhportd.service /etc/systemd/system/passhportd.service
root@debian:~# systemctl daemon-reload
root@debian:~# systemctl enable passhportd

And now, we’re ready to go, just launch passhportd daemon :

root@debian:~# systemctl start passhportd

You can check that passhportd is running, by curling the IP you previously configured in /etc/passhport/passhportd.ini, on port 5000 :

root@debian:~# curl -s --insecure
passhportd is running, gratz!

Bravo ! You successfully installed PaSSHport. You may now go to the Getting Started chapter.