James Morris - JMOZ

Webmaster in '97.

Mac Terminal Ssh Disconnecting

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I switched to a mac at the start of the year; prior to that I always used Linux and regularly ssh’d into remote boxes with hardly any problems and rarely any disconnects.

Since I’ve started using the mac for development and ssh’ing into remote boxes using iTerm, Terminal or TotalTerminal etc, I’ve noticed I keep having problems with ssh disconnecting, sometimes with the error message Write failed: Broken pipe.

To fix it just edit your ~/.ssh/config file and add the following options which will affect all hosts:

Host *
ServerAliveInterval 240
ServerAliveCountMax 3

The ServerAliveInterval tells ssh to send a keep alive packet every 240 seconds or 4 minutes. The ServerAliveCountMax tells ssh to do this a maximum of 3 times without getting a response, then to close the connection from the client side. This will prevent the annoying lockup where the terminal freezes for a minute or two then disconnects. Since I’ve made these changes my terminal has started to behave more like my good old Linux laptop.