Setting an SSH Motd on Ubuntu 14.04

Published on: Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 4:16 am EST
Ubuntu

An SSH MOTD is a message that users will see when they log into SSH. On Ubuntu 14.04, the default message appears similar to the following text:

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-57-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

  System information as of Fri Aug 21 04:02:11 EDT 2015

  System load:  0.02               Processes:           92
  Usage of /:   22.3% of 19.56GB   Users logged in:     0
  Memory usage: 28%                IP address for eth0: 0.0.0.0
  Swap usage:   0%

  Graph this data and manage this system at:
    https://landscape.canonical.com/

The "System load", "Processes", and other statistics are all dynamic and indicate the actual status of the server.

Step 1: Creating your own MOTD

You can add your own MOTD message. Simply create the file /etc/motd:

touch /etc/motd

Then place your message in it:

vi /etc/motd

If you would like to use ASCII art, you can use a generator, such as this one.

 _    ____  ____  __________ 
| |  / / / / / / /_  __/ __ \
| | / / / / / /   / / / /_/ /
| |/ / /_/ / /___/ / / _, _/ 
|___/\____/_____/_/ /_/ |_|  

Step 2: Removing the default messages

If you would prefer to hide the default information, you need to remove landscape-common:

apt-get remove --purge landscape-common

This will trim the message down to the following text:

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-57-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

Step 3: Putting back the default messages

To restore the original MOTD, run the following commands:

apt-get install landscape-common
dpkg-reconfigure landscape-common

Select the last option (Run sysinfo on every login) and press Tab to navigate to the "OK" button so that you can press Enter.

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