How to Connect to Droplets with SSH

DigitalOcean Droplets are Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) that run on top of virtualized hardware. Each Droplet you create is a new server you can use, either standalone or as part of a larger, cloud-based infrastructure.

DigitalOcean Droplets are managed using a terminal and SSH. You'll need to have an SSH client and, optionally, an SSH key pair. Clients generally authenticate either using passwords (which are less secure and not recommended) or SSH keys (which are very secure and strongly recommended).

To log in to your Droplet with SSH, you need three pieces of information:

  • The Droplet's IP address
  • The default username on the server
  • The default password for that username, if you aren't using SSH keys

To get your Droplet's IP address, visit the DigitalOcean Control Panel. The IP address is displayed in the IP Address column after your Droplet has been created. You can mouse over it to copy it into your clipboard.

Screenshot of the IP address with the copy link highlighted

The default username is root on most operating systems, like Ubuntu and CentOS. Exceptions to this include CoreOS, where you'll log in as core, Rancher, where you'll log in as rancher, and FreeBSD, where you'll log in as freebsd.

By default, the password for that user is randomly generated and emailed to you at your account's email address. A password is not generated and emailed if you have uploaded SSH keys to your account and chosen Add SSH Keys. Your key is used automatically and you'll be prompted for the key's passphrase if you've set one.

Once you have your Droplet’s IP address, username, and password (if necessary), follow the instructions for your SSH client. OpenSSH is included on Linux, macOS, and Windows Subsystem for Linux. Windows users with Bash also have access to OpenSSH. Windows users without Bash can use PuTTY.

Use a terminal on a Linux, macOS, or Windows computer to connect to Droplets with SSH.
Use PuTTY on a Windows computer to connect to Droplets with SSH.