sshd fails to start on Debian 11 after reboot

I am working on a Debian 11 image. I run some ansible scripts against this host, including stopping and starting sshd. sshd fails to restart on Debian 11 only (everything works in CentOS and Debian 10). From the console, there are no journalctl files available. When I start the sshd daemon in debug mode

/usr/sbin/sshd -p 12345 -D -d -e

It runs with no errors. When I start sshd with systemctl start sshd, it says:

Job for ssh.service cancelled

And ends.

Running /usr/sbin/sshd -T spits out the sshd_config file with no errors.

ss -antp shows nothing listening.

I am running sshd on a high port.

What else can I check? Any ideas about what could be wrong?

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Site Moderator
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February 18, 2023

Hey @gabefish,

Try to disable SELINUX or set it to a permissive mode and see if that will still be the case.

Additionally, you can try and add the port to SELINUX with the following:

  1. semanage port -a -t ssh_port_t -p tcp XXX

Where XXX will be your port.

Additionally, see if you have your /etc/passwd file still where it should be.

Site Moderator
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February 18, 2023

Hello @gabefish

This will usually happen when there is a config error, but if you’re running SELinux this can due to SELinux denying the port bind.

If SELinux is enabled you can add new rule for the port bind and give it another try.


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