I use SSH a lot, and I mean, A LOT! Because I manage 3 other servers, and they are located in different parts of the world, I rely completely on SSH to keep them up and running optimally.
Naturally, I keep myself informed on the subject quite a bit but in nearly every article I read online, with all their ssh example commands, very few mention this really significant client option: the
-C or enable compression option i.e. the option that requests compression of all data being transferred over an SSH connection.
ssh Command-line Examples
Access Your Server Remotely Over SSH
Same example, but with the compression option enabled:
ssh -C email@example.com
If you want to see just how much data was sent and received and how much of all this data was compressed, all you have to do is add the
-v (verbose) option to the command and a full report will be displayed to you at the end of your ssh session:
ssh -C -v firstname.lastname@example.org
Example report at the end of a scp command with compression (
-C) and verbose (
-v) options enabled:
[me@beefong ~]$ scp -Cv email@example.com:/usr/share/gid/GeoIPCity.dat ./ ... GeoIPCity.dat 100% 17MB 169.0KB/s 01:42 debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype exit-status reply 0 debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype firstname.lastname@example.org reply 0 debug1: channel 0: free: client-session, nchannels 1 debug1: fd 0 clearing O_NONBLOCK debug1: fd 1 clearing O_NONBLOCK Transferred: sent 4768, received 11452904 bytes, in 102.6 seconds Bytes per second: sent 46.5, received 111675.0 debug1: Exit status 0 debug1: compress outgoing: raw data 1477, compressed 796, factor 0.54 debug1: compress incoming: raw data 17653332, compressed 11441447, factor 0.65
Copy a File with scp & ssh
If I were to copy a file from my remote server to a local PC, a typical example may look like this:
scp email@example.com:/usr/share/gid/GeoIPCity.dat ./
The same task, but this time requesting the transfer to be compressed:
scp -C firstname.lastname@example.org:/usr/share/gid/GeoIPCity.dat ./
Set Compression On by Default for SSH and SCP
Now that you know you can use the (compression) option any time you like, you might want to avoid typing it altogether! I mean, why would you NOT use SSH with the compression option enabled all the time? So, instead of remembering to type it every time, you can do what I did and enable the option in your ssh configuration file at
~/.ssh/config. All I did was add was this one line to the top of the file:
[me@beefong ~]$ man 5 ssh_config
Specifies whether to use compression. The argument must be “yes” or “no”. The default is “no”.
Today, the top section of my ssh configuration file looks like this:
[me@beefong ~]$ cat .ssh/config Compression yes PreferredAuthentications publickey,password Protocol 2 ...
Type man 5 ssh_config in a terminal to see all ssh options.